We’ve heard from a number of unidentified members of the New Orleans Saints defense.
Later, we got the standard denials expected from of the largest figures embroiled in the scandal, Jonathan Vilma.
Today, linebacker Scott Shanle added his voice to those who are crying foul over how the league has handled it’s investigation in the Saints Bounty scandal.
What Shanle described fits with the narrative we’ve pieced together through various sources, both on and off the record. The Saints did have a pay-for-performance program, which included payouts in the range of $500 and $1,000 for a variety of big plays, including big hits. And those hits were sometimes referred to as “cart-offs” or “knockouts” when players were injured. But Shanle said that didn’t mean the intent or purpose of the pay-for-performance system was to target players for injuries.
Shanle said those terms were used “in Gregg’s language,” referring to the fiery defensive coordinator, whose over-the-top motivational tactics have been well-documented. But Shanle insisted that players didn’t take Williams literally, and he believes Williams was the best motivator he’s had in 10 years in the NFL. “Gregg said crazy stuff,” Shanle said. “If you take him literally, you’re gonna be locked up. But he was the best motivator I’ve ever been around.”
“There’s been this picture painted that [Jonathan] Vilma was standing in front of the defense before every game picking out players to go after and offering money,” Shanle said. “It was blown up to be something more than it is.”
The fact that players have admitted to the existence of a “pay-for-performance” program solidifies their guilt. The league’s salary cap rules specifically state that payments made outside of a player’s normal salary are forbidden. Whether or not Saints defenders actively took the field seeking to injure their opponents almost becomes a moot point with those admissions being made.
The New Orleans Saints need to stop portraying themselves as victims of an overzealous Commissioner and start owning up to the mistakes they have made.