Tuesday afternoon former Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers, stood outside NFL headquarters and delivered a powerful speech declaring his innocence from the so-called "bounty program." He isn't denying that there was such program, but only saying he was not involved in one. If you haven't seen this speech, I would highly recommend you go watch it. I have it linked for you here. If you would rather read it than watch the video, a transcript is available down below the video.
Most of his time is spent claiming that Roger Goodell, along with the NFL office, is lying and twisting the story around to prove Hargrove is the bad guy. Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma is making a case quite similar to this. Hargrove provides a quote from the NFL, claiming they said, "the circumstances strongly suggest that you told at least one player on another club about the program, and confirmed that Brett Favre was a target of a bounty."
Hargrove then goes on to say, "I did no such thing. Do I think someone told them I did? Probably. And I believe it was probably the same mystery witness. But it...did...not...happen! There is no way they have absolute proof, because it does not exist. I would stake my career on it."
He repeats many times throughout the presser that he was no way involved in such a scheme.
Obviously any person being charged with a wrongdoing will make a strong case why they're innocent, but Hargrove might actually be telling the truth. It may seem too easy to ask this question, but would Anthony really be that stupid to tell someone on another team about the "bounty program?" I don't think so. And why hasn't the NFL come out with the evidence that he told said player? Sounds bogus to me.
To finish off his speech, Hargrove explains the incident where he supposedly told Bobby McCray to "give him his money." Media members have been directly relating this to the "bounties." He explains that the NFL has their evidence all wrong and that the person saying "give me my money" is not him. I think he is telling the truth.
Below the video of Hargrove's speech is an interview with NFL reporter Steve Wyche. About four and a half minutes into that video, the infamous clip of the "give me my money" phrase is provided. Subtitles were included at the bottom indicating who said what. Don't pay attention to them because they will play with your mind.
In the clip, Joe Vitt is discussing with the team the implications if a backup quarterback for the Vikings comes in. Will Smith, Remi Ayodele, and Anthony Hargrove are visible (I'm assuming that Bobby McCray is just outside of the camera view). You can clearly see that Anthony is saying "Bobby." Immediately after, you can hear "give me my money." One would think that Hargrove is the player finishing that sentence. But watch the video many times over and look and listen carefully.
Remi Ayodele inadvertently shifts his head, blocking Hargrove's. Then, in sequence of "give me my money," you can see Will Smith turn his head and his eyes look directly at Remi Ayodele. Ayodele then commences to turn his head as if he were talking back to Smith. Could Ayodele be the player that says "give me my money?"
If you also listen extremely carefully, you can determine that Hargrove's voice saying "Bobby" and the voice saying "give me my money" are different.
All of this so called "evidence" that the NFL has been so firmly attached to seems flawed to me.
Now, my conspiracy could be just as flawed as the NFL's. But who is to say that either is right or wrong? I'm not laying all this out in order to label myself as a genius. This is just what I believe actually happened and that Goodell and the rest of his army is wrong.
I know our fellow friend Angry Who Dat wrote a wonderful article explaining that maybe we should hang up this mess and deal with it. At first I was willing to accept that notion. But after examining this "evidence" a little more, I'm gonna keep fighting the good fight.
I think that when they initially came out with "bountygate," they thought the players would lay down and take their punishments without fighting back. They didn't think the players would find flaws in the "evidence." Well, they thought wrong and sooner than later the hole the NFL dug will be too deep to get out.
As for me, I can't contribute to the good fight directly, but I'm going to stand by my views. And my views are that Roger Goodell is a sham.