The Gregg Williams Affidavit
Following today’s meeting with New Orleans Saints MLB Jonathan Vilma, the NFL leaked to ESPN reporter Adam Schefter that they had shown Vilma a signed affidavit from former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. While the affidavit has not yet been released publicly, the circumstances surrounding it and the reports of its contents present plenty of reasonable doubt.
Here’s the first problem with today’s development. Roger Goodell has been saying for months to anyone that would listen that he had an indisputable case against the players and coaches allegedly involved. However when it comes to the league’s investigation, indisputable tends to be a lot more disputable than one would think. So if Goodell’s case was so indisputable, why call in Williams to sign off on an affidavit this past Friday, months after the initial suspensions were put in place?
The next problem with this is the timing. Had this affidavit been written and signed months ago during the initial talks with the coaches it would have carried far more weight. However, this statement came well after the league suspended Williams and told him he could reapply for reinstatement (with no guarantees) in a year. Williams would be able to improve his chances of reinstatement at the end of the first year by giving the league whatever they wanted during the course of his suspension. So basically the league obtained an affidavit signed this past Friday by a coach whose professional future is being held hostage by the very people wanting him to sign off on the affidavit. Williams has already stated unequivocally that he would coach again. As a result, he would likely sign an affidavit saying he robbed a bank with a transsexual dressed like Hitler while using a unicycle as his getaway car if he thought it would get him back to coaching next season.
Third of all, this makes one affidavit from an easy-to-coerce witness in favor or the NFL’s story. Vilma has affidavits and/or testimony in court under penalty of perjury from Joe Vitt, Drew Brees, Scott Shanle, Jonathan Casillas, Roman Harper, Sedrick Ellis, Troy Evans, Randall Gay, and Pierson Prioleau. That’s an awful lot of men willing to risk jail time in Vilma’s defense. Also, Vilma has no power to coerce anything out of these nine men unlike the power Goodell currently has over Williams.
Finally, the reported content of the affidavit raises a very interesting similarity to previous statements in this case. Shortly after the bounty story first became public and several weeks prior to being suspended indefinitely, Williams made a public statement admitting to a pay-for-performance pool, that he knew it was wrong at the time, and apologizing for his actions. According to one account of the contents of today’s affidavit, Williams’ reportedly admitted to running a pay-for-performance pool, knowing it was against league rules, and misleading investigators about it. Williams’ affidavit was basically the same as his first statement, except now there is this $10,000 accusation added in. So what has changed between Williams’ first statement and today’s events? Goodell now holds Williams’ professional future in his hand, and if Williams ever wants to coach again he better not make any trouble.
The Mike Cerullo Affidavit
The league also presented an affidavit today from former Saints defensive assistant Mike Cerullo. While it has become public that the affidavit was a part of today’s proceedings, the league is declining to comment on it. This could possibly be due to the reports that the contents of Cerullo’s and Williams’ statements contradict each other. The other possible reason not wanting to discuss Cerullo’s affidavit is because of his credibility issues.
Cerullo is quite the disgruntled employee. According to reports, Cerullo twice disappeared during the 2009 (one time during the week before Super Bowl XLIV) and was discovered to have lied about the reason, resulting in his firing from the organization. There have also been reports that he received a Super Bowl ring containing cubic zirconium rather than real diamonds. Also Cerullo reportedly holds a grudge against Sean Payton, Gregg Williams & Joe Vitt believing they are the reason he could not find another job in the NFL and has “pledged revenge” against them personally as well as the Saints organization.
If this man is the cornerstone of the league’s entire bounty investigation, it’s perfectly understandable why they would want to keep that fact hidden as long as possible. It’s usually not a wise idea to publicize building an investigation around the accusations of the bitter and vindictive.
In case you missed it, here’s PART 1.
To read the alternate theory of Bountygate, click here.