NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says that a recording of a player saying "give me my money" is irrelevant to the suspension handed down to former Saints player Anthony Hargrove. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is doing his best to set the record straight about the suspensions involving the New Orleans Saints players, team executives and coaches and their roles in the bounty program.
Goodell wrote a memo to the players of the NFL explaining why he did not overturn the suspension of defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove.
Hargrove's appeal, as well as the appeals of Saints defenders Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, and Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, were denied on Tuesday. NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said Hargrove lied about the program, not for taking or contributing money to the bounty program.
Hargrove was reportedly caught on tape saying "give me my money" after former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was knocked around in the 2009 NFC Championship Game. Hargrove denied he said those words.
“For purposes of addressing Mr. Hargrove’s appeal, I need not resolve the issue of who made the statement," Goodell wrote. "Instead, I am prepared to assume -— as he apparently stated publicly -— that he did not make it. But that statement is relevant because, regardless of which player said it, it corroborates other evidence that there was an incentive in place for knocking Mr. Favre out of the game and that the members of the Saints defense, including Mr. Hargrove, were well aware of that fact."
Hargrove received an eight-game suspension from Goodell for his role in the Saints' bounty program. Hargrove now plays for the Green Bay Packers.
"The identity of the player who made the statement was immaterial to my decision on your appears and did not affect the level of discipline imposed on Mr. Hargrove," Goodell added.