Phil Williams, the agent for former New Orleans defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (now with Green Bay) just gave us what is likely to be Hargrove’s case when his appeal of an eight-game suspension is heard by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday. Williams sent out a lengthy letter to multiple media outlets, in which he basically says the NFL has no evidence of a bounty program and payments made to players.
“Can you honestly say that the Saints employed a three-year “bounty program” if no one was ever paid for a "bounty"?’’ Williams wrote. “Would that not constitute one of the worst followed programs ever witnessed? Should there not have been dozens of rewards paid out, if in fact, “bounties for injuries” (which is what this was all about in the beginning, I think) paid out money? And why would your "independent" counsel be so highly paid for their counsel (by you) and also be so secretive? Again, if the facts are so obvious, why not allow someone truly impartial to make the final decision and therefore validate your judgments?’’
It’s Williams’ job to defend his client and he makes his points emphatically. Williams also said the league twisted what Hargrove said in a declaration.
Williams and Hargrove will get their chance to argue those points and more Monday. But this may be their last chance. Two arbitrators already have ruled against NFL Players Association grievances filed on behalf of the players. Goodell is the man who suspended Hargrove and the other players. He’ll also be the one to hear their appeals.
Unless there’s some stunning new development, I doubt Goodell suddenly is going to change his mind.