In the latest news about the NFL's handling of the New Orleans Saints bounty gate scandal, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said on Friday that Anthony Hargrove, the former Saints defensive end, who signed with the Green Bay Packers as a free agent this offseason, was suspended by the NFL for eight games season, not for contributing to the program or because of any hits he made, but because he lied about it according to NFL.com.
It was believed by some that Hargrove was punished by the league because of an audio clip that came from a video clip of the 2009 NFC Championship against the Minnesota Vikings. The clip, which is an NFL Films audio clip reveals what appears to be Hargrove saying "Bobby give me my money," in reference to former Saints defensive end Bobby McCray.
On Tuesday, Hargrove denied
that it was his voice in the clip and that he did make that statement.
Pash, who was being interview by Pro Football Talks Mike Florio,
had this to say in response:
I suppose you could watch anything enough times and come up with different conclusions, but we didn’t discipline Anthony Hargrove for taking any money in the context of this program. What that video tape rather clearly demonstrates is two things: one, there was a program and it corroborates rather clearly that there was a program where a player could be rewarded for making a play that resulted in an injury to an opponent – you were basically making that point during the break; second, it demonstrates Mr. Hargrove’s awareness of the program and his understanding that it existed, and it demonstrates that his statements to our investigators in early 2010 denying the program and saying there was nothing like that in existence were false. That is the basis on which the commissioner imposed discipline on Mr. Hargrove.
Hargrove and his agent have recently begun questioning the NFL's evidence against Hargrove in an effort to get his 8-game suspension reduced by the league. After all, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vlima had his suspension reduced from 16 games down to eight but after those comments from Pash, the NFL does not appear willing to reduce Hargrove's.
If there is one thing about the NFL that we all know, it does not like being lied too.