Vitt also revealed that the only major disagreement he ever had with Payton came when Payton decided to fire former defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs after the 2008 season. Vitt told Payton that if he blamed Gibbs, he should blame Vitt too and fire him as well.
Ginsberg: "Cerullo also said that you stood over him as he was destroying documents. Is that true?"
Vitt: "Everybody stands over Cerullo, but no. The answer is no."
Vitt also shared a text he received from Williams that read, "For your information, I've had 20-plus teams reach out to me saying that I must stand firm to take the heat because all teams do this. (Expletive) me."
- Tagliabue asked Vitt about his ability to possibly stop the program, but in the midst of answering, Vitt fired off an accusation toward Williams.
"Gregg Williams had a program, a bounty program in to try to hurt opposing coaches on the sideline," Vitt said. "In other words, when you miss a play on the sideline of a tackle, you would get a bonus for knocking the coach down and knocking out his knee. Don't roll your eyes. Don't roll your eyes."
quote:Even more proof that the Saints were Goodell's scapegoat in trying to show his alleged concern for injured former players.
quote: Vitt also shared a text he received from Williams that read, "For your information, I've had 20-plus teams reach out to me saying that I must stand firm to take the heat because all teams do this. (Expletive) me."
quote:Here's the text so as not to promote this fricktard's page hits.
I was surprised to learn that my name surfaced in transcripts from testimony in the New Orleans Saints bounty appeals hearings Dec. 3. I was utterly shocked to learn the circumstances in which it surfaced, that former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was fired in part because he allegedly leaked draft information to me in 2011. The scenario Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt described to former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White regarding Williams never occurred. There's not a sliver of truth to it, at least as far as my involvement is concerned. Williams indeed might have been texting Saints draft pick information to someone. But it wasn't to me. I explained this to Sean Payton on the night of April 29, after he initially accused me of the alleged transgression in a private meeting following the completion of the third round.
While on deadline that night, Saints vice president of communications Greg Bensel summoned me to an impromptu meeting with Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis in the hallway leading to the Saints' draft war room. There, Payton accused me of breaking the news of Saints draft selections before the staff had even made the calls in the war room. He launched into a convoluted explanation of how the club had assigned a staff member to monitor my tweets and how they had undermined Williams' plot by using a different process in the war room to select cornerback Johnny Patrick in the third round.
The whole thing was crazy and I said so at the time. I wished it were true. I wish I had a mole, Williams or otherwise, who agreed to leak me the picks beforehand. Alas, as everyone who's covered the Saints for any extended period of time knows, Payton keeps a vise-like lid on proprietary information like draft selections. No one - local or national - breaks Saints draft picks and it will stay that way, at least until Fox scores the broadcast rights to the NFL draft.
Fact is, that night I was only paying cursory attention to the draft's second and third rounds. Frankly, I was too busy trying to write a column on Reggie Bush's controversial tweet - "It's been fun New Orleans" - and tenuous future with the team than worry about the Saints' selections. I'm fairly certain competitors beat me to the tweets on the Saints' picks that night: Martez Wilson and Johnny Patrick.
Regardless, the Saints apparently weren't convinced. Payton threatened to revoke my credentials for violating the club's media policy. The club wisely never took such action.
After that night, the incident was never mentioned again. I went back to doing my job, assumed the Saints had come to their senses and realized the error of their ways. I never heard another word about it until last December when a source with access to the bounty hearing transcripts informed me that my name surfaced in testimony.
The entire scenario speaks volumes about the level of distrust the staff had for Williams at the time and the paranoia that developed at the end of his ill-fated tenure.
In his 25-page report on the bounty appeals hearing, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue determined Vitt's testimony "could not be given particular weight" because of his "conflicting testimonies" and admission that he "fabricated the truth."
In regard to the aforementioned Williams' draft leak, I don't believe Vitt was intentionally lying. I think he fully believed what he testified to be true.
But I can say with absolute certainty nothing could be further from it.
Payton threatened to revoke my credentials for violating the club's media policy. The club wisely never took such action. After that night, the incident was never mentioned again. I went back to doing my job, assumed the Saints had come to their senses and realized the error of their ways.