It’s not pretty when a person becomes so desperate and is caught up in denial that he turns delusional. That appears to be the case with New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
Earlier today, I sent out a link to ex-Saint Anthony Hargrove’s declaration to the NFL that he was told to lie by assistant coach Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt in 2010 about the existence of the team’s “bounty” program.
That three page declaration, obtained by Yahoo, is listed below. It clearly illustrates the dishonesty and coverup in the Saints’ organization about the program, and as we’ve learned lies and coverups can lead to greater penalties that the crimes themselves might have resulted in.
Anyway, the one thing I didn’t expect to happen was that Vilma and I would get into a back-and-forth on Twitter. Vilma has been suspended for the entire 2012 season. He and NFLPA consider this NFL investigation a bunch of hooey. I’ve weighed on that here.
Meanwhile, back to the Twitter debate . . .
• Response from @JonVilma51: he denied the existence of a bounty program…wats ur point. Nowhere does it say there was a bounty program. Ur reaching.
• Me again (imagine flabbergasted look): It says he was told to lie by coaches. Why would he be told to lie about program that didn’t exist? Can’t wait for your answer.
My role here is not to try to make sense of Vilma’s response, but merely to mock.
Hargrove, who now plays for Green Bay, was suspended for eight games. He admits to lying to the NFL back in 2010 when asked about the program the first time and recently came clean.
Here are two excerpts from Hargrove’s declaration that I find particularly interesting:
• Coach Vitt also told me that I should deny the existence of any bounty or bounty program, and he told me to remember that he was the person who “brought [me] into the League and brought [me] to the Saints.”
• The meeting lasted approximately 30 minutes, and during that time both Coach Williams and Coach Vitt told me that I should deny the existence of any bounty or bounty program to the NFL. Williams and Vitt repeatedly stated that they “care about me and … if we all stay on the same page about this, it will blow over.” They told me that when the NFL asked me about any bounty or bounty program, I should “just play dumb.”
The meeting was held on or before Feb. 24, 2010. Hargrove’s declaration was signed and dated April 13, 2012.
I’ll let you know if there are any updates on this Twitter debate.
But I can’t promise anything. Unlike Vilma, I actually have a job next season.
By Jeff Schultz