Saints Interim Coach Joe Vitt Denies Existence Of Bounty Program
Saints interim coach Joe Vitt today denied there was a team bounty program in an affidavit filed in federal court. He is the first of the three coaches suspended to outright deny the team deployed a bounty system between '09-11, as alleged by the NFL. Previously he had denied the allegations against him personally, but his statement here is far broader. The four suspended players have filed lawsuits, denying the allegations. Vitt filed the affidavit on behalf of Saints LB Jonathan Vilma, who was hit with a one-year suspension. Vilma is seeking an injunction to lift the suspension, and contends his recovery from injury will be severely affected by not being able to train with the team. Vitt backed him on that contention, but it is the opening of the affidavit where the coach makes his strong statement.
“While I anxiously await being able to provide substantive and truthful testimony and information about the allegations made by Mr. Goodell regarding the so-called but non-existent Bounty program, and to refute that the Saints ever had a bounty program or that any member of our defense, including Mr. Vilma, ever placed a bounty on an opposing player and set out to injure anyone or to encourage any other Saints player to injure anyone,” Vitt wrote before then saying he would restrict his further comments to Vilma’s motion. The NFL could not immediately be reached for comment.
Earlier today the league said in a motion opposing Vilma’s injunction request, that his being barred from team facilities would not be an issue because team doctors could monitor his recovery from afar. That contention was refuted by another affidavit supplied today by Saints trainer Scottie Patton, who said he needed Vilma on the club grounds to monitor him.