It was an interesting piece of television.
Former New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove read a prepared statement in front of NFL headquarters in New York on Tuesday. It lasted for 13 minutes.
As he read, several onlookers gawked as they went by the odd scene.
Many had a look saying, what is all the fuss about?
Hargrove is asking the same thing.
In the statement, he explained the "bounty" program that the NFL alleges went on for several years in the Saints locker room was a case of the league's "making a mountain out of a molehill."
"I've never offered nor received money to intentionally hurt a player," stated Hargrove.
Suspended for eight games this upcoming season, he also denied that it was his voice saying "give me the money" in a video used by the NFL as evidence.
A league spokesman said the NFL stands by its story.
What's the next step?
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will likely deny the appeals made Monday by Hargrove, former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita and the pair of current Saints, Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma.
The league will stay with its version of events; the accused players will stay firm in their denials.
The accused players may have moved the needle of public opinion in their favor the past couple of days, but any relief in the matter of the bounty program could be several years away via the legal process. The courts take time.
In February of 2008, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens denied steroid use as he appeared before a Congressional committee. Only this week was Clemens found not guilty on all six counts of lying and obstructing Congress.
Vilma's lawsuit claiming defamation by Goodell could be years away from trial, if it ever goes that far.
It would seem the only way the players will ever gain relief is if witnesses, under oath, rebut the NFL's claims of a pay-to-injure bounty scandal.
A most juicy piece of testimony could come from former Saints assistant Mike Cerullo, an alleged whistleblower who may have provided "credible" information to the NFL that caused the league to re-open its investigation, originally started in 2010, again late last season.
In the meantime, the league feels it has revealed enough information in the roughly 200 pages released Monday to make its case.
If there was no bounty, why is Dog the Bounty Hunter featured prominently in Saints material?
How can the accused explain an exhibit that says 'Minny' quarterback out, with Vilma allegedly down for $10,000?
How can the accused explain $1,000 to Saints safety Roman Harper for a 'cart off'?
How can the accused explain material that says "collect $1,300 and pay out $2,600?"
Hargrove said it is all "semantics" and that the NFL is very good "at politics".
Lost in the endless debate over the "bounty" is this fact: Whatever the Saints were doing, the league told them to put a stop to it after the club won the Super Bowl. Yet, the 'whatever label you want to give it' continued.
Ignoring a league directive and then ordering an alleged cover-up is a huge part of this story. But it is buried underneath the cries of foul from the accused and their legal council.
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