Fleur-de-Links: December 12, 2012

Ezra Shaw

Your daily collection of New Orleans Saints news and opinion. TODAY'S HEADLINE: Most sports pontificators are ripping Goodell after Tagliabue ruling, but some are still obediently shilling for their NFL master.

TWEETS:

I respect stephen a smith for publicly apologizing. Takes a real man to do what he did. Apology accepted. Thank you Stephen

Boo F'n hoo to anyone wanting to "move on" from BountyGate talk. Some of you f***s were scammed by NFL.

Will Smith being interviewed in the locker room after practice

": Drew Brees says Roger Goodell has 'little to no credibility' with NFL players | "

Reunited, Retooled, REVENGE ": If anyone thinks Saints players are gonna let bygones be bygones now, they don't know that team."

Come join my teammates & I at a gala to benefit tgis Friday, Dec 14

Carl Johnson, NFL’s VP of Officiating, is leaving his head-referee job after February Super Bowl, per sources at owners meetings in Dallas.

If anyone thinks Saints players are gonna let bygones be bygones now, they don't know that team.

Brees said NFL put all their eggs in 2 baskets (Cerullo, Williams). Said he wondered about their mental states.

Brees says his frustration was really the process. The more he talked to people the more he realized it was about the outcome.

Brees. Our coaches were lied to by the league on where they got their information from.... Calls Williams, Cerullo disgruntled employees.

Brees: You realize in some cases the way it's handled isn't fair. Life isn't fair.

Brees: glad that justice has been served in this way for the players. They can't go back & do anything for the coaches. What's done is done.

Brees on season being stolen by bounty scandal: "Many people would probably say that. I'm not one to make excuses. "

Brees: Says Tags' report still paints organization in a bad light. Says players have pride in the organization, take it personally.

Brees: "it seems like the last month or so, esp since Tags stepped in, it seems very staged. how do we get out of this mess?"

safety Malcolm Jenkins among six players out of Wednesday's practice |

Brees says it would be nice for someone in the league office to come out and apologize for how it was handled.

Brees on yesterday’s news "I am so happy for our players….I think it was some serious vindication"

Drew Brees is suing Integrated Sports Marketing, claiming they pocketed extra cash from charity golf tournament.

Vitt says he told the team there are 2 types of Super Bowl winners - those that win and those that win only 1. They don't want to be latter.

Vitt on taking the blame: "It’s my responsibility. I haven’t done a good enough job of educating."

Vitt on Joe Morgan: "I think he has really done a good job. There are some hidden things in games that people don’t see."

Vitt: "I am very proud to work in this building. I am proud to work for Mr. Benson and his family"

Vitt said he would fully comment on the Tagliabue decision at a later date. Said now isn't the time.

Vitt on yesterday’s news "We are happy our players were vindicated"

INJ Rep: DNP-> C Ivory (hamstring), J Collins (ankle), Z Strief (ankle), C Brown (knee), C White (knee), M Jenkins (undisclosed)

So apparently and and I will have a podcast tonight. Gird your ear loins, folks. This WILL get rowdy.

Impact of PT's decision on defamation claim? Vilma will move to strike decision if RG tries to use it in defense of defamation suit. .

If Berrigan grants Vilma's request to lift the stay, the discovery process begins, and we'll all get a chance to see everything the NFL has.

Here's one thing that the NFL and NFLPA seem to agree on ... The congressional hearings today on hGH aren't worth much.

The hearing poses question "Is the science ready?" for testing. Problem: NFL/PA are past that. Agreed on population study. Looking for doc.

The intrigue on hGH comes if/when the union holds up finalizing hGH testing over commissioner discipline. That's when it gets real.

. currently leads all NFL punters in fan Pro Bowl votes with 88,037

Drew Brees is currently 9th in overall fan Pro Bowl voting with 500,193 votes

NFLPA's DeMaurice Smith says PA will file suit against the NFL today for making players sign medical waivers:

De Smith also said to CBS News on Williams/Payton/Loomis/Vitt sanctions: "The difference is the players have a union."

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BOUNTYFARCE: THOSE WHO RIGHTLY RIP GOODELL PLUS LATEST UPDATES:

Paul Tagliabue bounty ruling no victory for Saints | Audibles - SI.com
Audibles – SI.com - Chris Burke on the NFL

Roger Goodell the big loser in overturned bounty penalties - NFL - Michael Rosenberg - SI.com
Roger Goodell is pointing to the scoreboard and claiming he won. The scoreboard says otherwise. Me, I'm going with the scoreboard.

New Orleans Saints Should Be Upset Season Ruined
The question becomes would the Saints have had a chance for Super Bowl?

Roger Goodell and why the bounty scandal backfired - SBNation.com
Instead of quietly hammering the Saints as an organization and Gregg Williams as a the bounty ringleader, Goodell went into scorched-earth grandstanding mode, emphasizing how disgusted and dismayed he was by the whole affair, then handing down historic punishments across the board. Goodell took this scandal and made it ten times bigger. What should've been Spygate Part Two became something closer to the Black Sox scandal, mostly because Goodell treated it that way.

Drew Brees says Roger Goodell has 'little to no credibility' with NFL players | NOLA.com
Brees said he wants the league to be held accountable and that Goodell has "little to no credibility" with NFL players right now.

Handwerger: Unsatisfactory ending to bounty case | wwltv.com New Orleans
The current commissioner is under tremendous pressure to keep the game of football financially viable. With lawsuits being filed by former players related to the head trauma issue, he felt like he had to swing for the fences. While he initially hit the home run, upon review, the ball was just out of fair play.

" You’re Probably Expecting a Long Bountygate Post The Angry Who Dat
The national media may crush Goodell for a few moments; they may state that he was, in fact, excessive in his penalization of crimes which did or did not exist. But they’ve been on board from the start; whatever harms Goodell naturally harms his shills, and for this reason, the bountygate story will quickly disappear from the national consciousness.

SaintsWin: Opinion & Analysis: Chasing the Ghosts of BountyGate
It's a crystal-clear admission that whatever transpired in the locker room for motivational purposes never morphed into malice on the field. This is at the heart of the NFL's misguided quest to use the Saints as a public exhibit--a symbolic pelt--in their transparent, hollow campaign to champion player safety and insulate themselves from future litigation.

Tagliabue’s ruling is the latest black mark on Goodell’s declining — and dangerous — legacy | Shutdown Corner - Yahoo! Sports
To be fair to Tagliabue, and as Ginsberg himself said, the former Commissioner was put in an untenable position in the first place. Goodell had to recuse himself in part due to the increasing sense that he was not only biased, but reckless, in his investigation. Tagliabue had to strike a balance between his realization that Goodell had made a mockery of the CBA, and his instinctive desire to protect the best interests of the NFL.

Paul Tagliabue's decision to vacate bounty players' suspensions saves Roger Goodell, NFL - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN
Paul Tagliabues decision to vacate the player suspensions in the Bountygate scandal wasnt a rebuke of commissioner Roger Goodells ruling but an effort to protect the NFL brand. Paul Tagliabues decision to vacate bounty players suspensions saves Roger Goodell, NFL

Tagliabue, The NFL's Peacemaker, Is At It Again - Forbes
Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue issued a ruling in the New Orleans Saints bounty program yesterday that is likely to satisfy the league and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, as well as the players who were suspended for allegedly partaking in the scandal. The ruling [...]

PFT Live: Where do Saints players go from here? | ProFootballTalk
Mike Triplett of the Times-Picayune joins Mike Florio to discuss the latest news coming out of New Orleans. What exactly does Paul Tagliabue’s ruling mean for the players? What does it mean for the coaches? How difficult was Tagliabue's decision? Did he undermine Roger Goodell's power as commissio...

Vilma accepts ruling to end his suspension | wwltv.com New Orleans
Jonathan Vilma has notified U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan that he accepts Paul Tagliabue's decision to vacate his year-long bountygate suspension.

Attorney: Vilma still planning lawsuit against Goodell | wwltv.com New Orleans
The tossing out of the disciplinary action against current and former Saints players will not stop a defamation lawsuit by linebacker Jonathan Vilma against current NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, according to his attorney.

All four previously suspended players won't challenge Paul Tagliabue's decision in New Orleans Saints bounty case | NOLA.com
Jonathan Vilma asks U.S. District Court to lift the stay and begin discovery in defamation lawsuit against Roger Goodell

NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith says he knows New Orleans Saints never placed bounties on players | NOLA.com
"I'm disappointed in the National Football League and certainly in the way they conducted an investigation because I now know having read and seen all of the testimony that there was certainly no evidence that the bounties existed and frankly, I was a prosecutor in [Washington, D.C.] for 10 years," Smith said in the interview. "I understand how to do investigations. And the investigation that the league did was sloppy, the investigation that they did was more outcome-focused than frankly process-focused."

NFL, Tagliabue want to prevent release of bounty hearing transcript | ProFootballTalk
Last week, it was widely believed that the transcript of the Paul Tagliabue-led bounty hearings would be released not long after his decision was issued.

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BOUNTYFARCE: OBEDIANT FOOLS STILL CARRYING GOODELL'S WATER:

NFL, players wasted months fighting bounty case instead of taking united stand against violence - Yahoo! Sports
From Jason Cole: The two sides had a great chance to repudiate the game's dirty side, but got entangled in a series of legal maneuvers

Paul Tagliabue condemns Saints coaches in overturning player bounty suspensions - NFL - Peter King - SI.com
In vacating the 31 games' worth of player suspensions and fines handed to four players over the Saints' bounty sanctions, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue today, in effect, slammed the Saints' coaching staff and organization for the existence of a bounty and pay-for-performance system in place during the 2009 through 2011 seasons.

Do not blame Roger Goodell for New Orleans Saints bounty scandal - ESPN
Everything that's gone wrong for Saints is fault of man in charge during scandal, Sean Payton, writes Jeffri Chadiha.

Paul Tagliabue blames New Orleans Saints coaches for NFL bounty scandal, offers unique ideas on theory and practice of player discipline - ESPN
Munson: Report hits Saints, Goodell

Len Berman's Top 5 in Sports: Bad NFL Decision - Saints' suspensions tossed in 'Bountygate' | newjerseynewsroom.com

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BUCS @ SAINTS:

New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins among six players out of Wednesday's practice | NOLA.com
The other two starters who did not practice were right tackle Zach Strief (ankle) and fullback Jed Collins (toe). Strief injured his right ankle in the first half and was not able to return. It remains unclear when Collins was hurt.

Bucs pass rush hopes to disrupt Saints QB Brees | TBO.com
Coming off a dynamic six-sack effort, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is gearing up for one of the NFL's ultimate challenges.

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LAGNIAPPE:

NFLPA files grievance over Toradol waivers | ProFootballTalk
As expected, the NFLPA has launched an effort to block teams from requiring players to sign legal waivers before receiving the medical benefits of Toradol.

The Big Bang Theory Doubled Up Thursday Night Football: Last Week's TV Ratings, In Context
A weekly feature wherein we contextualize TV ratings for national sports broadcasts. Data via Nielsen, Sports Business Journal's John Ourand and @TVSportsRTGS. Viewership numbers represent approximate number of persons tuned to a given program; ratings share refers to the percentage of all households using a television who are turned into that program.

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