On Wednesday, leaked testimony from the ‘bounty’ investigation showed that the former Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams claimed that Joe Vitt would not allow him to shut down the team’s pay-for-performance program.
Today, Vitt had strong words on the matter.
Speaking to reporters at a regularly-scheduled press conference, Vitt said he declined comment yesterday on the topic because the team knew that closed-door information that supported the NFL’s position would find its way into the hands of the media.
“Because we knew that the Scuds were going to come, we knew that there was going to be a leakage of information, and it was like clockwork…it was like 60 Minutes, the thing ticking, where we knew that this thing was going to come out…it’s a shame.”
Vitt said he was willing to take a polygraph test when Williams’ accusation was presented to him.
“Let me say this: Number one, in my testimony, I was never asked that question, whether or not that I wanted to keep a bounty program going. I was never asked that question,” Vitt forcefully said. “ I was told that accusation was made, and I volunteered at the time in front of Commissioner Tagliabue to take a lie-detector test that afternoon, to deny that allegation.”
Vitt also took the opportunity at the press conference to, again, strongly make his case that his players and the team did not have a “pay-for-pain” program.
“So if anybody’s keeping a score card here, let’s take a look at this. I said back in March in my first interview with the press and the media that at no point in time did our players ever cross the white line with the intent of injuring, maiming, or ending the career of another player. That never took place. I testified before a federal judge with my hand on the Bible. Now what’s going to happen now, is all participants and all these accusations are going to go to federal court, and they’re going to go to a judge. And from top to bottom, she’s going to hear testimony. And the penalty for perjury with her is going to be jail time. So let’s stop…that’s the score card right now. Our players have already been cleared by the bodies of law: Judge Berrigan, a three-judge panel, and Commissioner Tagliabue. Myself, Sean, and Mickey didn’t have that right. Now, until the day die…I’m going to defend the intent of our football players. I’m going to defend the integrity of this organization, and the high moral standards to which our owner holds us all to. And that’s just the truth.”