Jonathan Vilma and three other players suspended in the New Orleans Saints bounty case have filed appeals with the NFL. Vilma has appealed his suspension while the three others filed a "Reservation of Rights" essentially saving their right to appeal if it is shown that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is the one who has the authority to suspend the players.
One of the players involved, Anthony Hargrove, who was previously with the Saints and now a member of the Green Bay Packers, submitted last month a signed declaration indicating that his coaches, Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt, told him to lie and "play dumb" if NFL Security asks him about the bounty program. Hargrove's declaration indicates that he was told to lie if asked about the bounty program, but he never explicitly says that there was a bounty program (if that makes sense).
Williams said he was going to deny the existence of any bounty on any player in the NFL, and I should deny it, too. Coach Vitt also said he was going to deny the existence of any bounties. Coach Williams said: "Those motherf-ckers [the NFL] have been trying to get me for years," and if we all "stay on the same page, this will blow over."
They told me that when the NFL asked me about any bounty or bounty program, I should "just play dumb."
This definitely did not "blow over", as we've seen in the last two months. Williams' role in the scandal has landed him an indefinite suspension, which he did not appeal.
That a coach was telling him to "play dumb" isn't a good look for the NFL. That said, the signed declaration from Hargrove results in Hargrove admitting to the existence of a bounty program in the Saints organization, which could make the appeals of the other players more difficult to win.
Is Hargrove's signed declaration worse for him or for Williams who, according to Hargrove, coerced him to lie to NFL investigators?