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Volume 25 No. 196
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NFL: We Haven’t And Won’t Pay For Video Footage

NFL officials believe purchasing videos like the one involving Hunt might open up a Pandora's box

The NFL in wake of the Kareem Hunt assault video "doubled down on its policy of refusing to pay for footage or other evidence when investigating off-field conduct," according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. Speaking at the owners meeting in Irving, NFL Special Counsel for Conduct Todd Jones said that the league "did not want to buy surveillance videos from public places or residences because it could prompt people to try to take compromising videos of players or officials with the intent of selling it to the NFL, or to try to sell doctored videos." Jones: "To become mercenary and pay for video opens up a Pandora’s box of all kinds of opportunities and things that may come to us." Belson notes TMZ initially published the Hunt video late last month, which "again put the NFL on the defensive over its handling of cases involving players accused of assault and domestic abuse, and it provided another reminder of the limits of the league’s investigatory powers and its failures in policing its players’ off-field conduct." While it is "unclear how TMZ obtained the video of Hunt’s attack, the league cited its policy of not paying for such evidence as the reason it was unable do the same" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/13). Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, the Chair of the Conduct Committee, added, “We are not a law enforcement organization, so we do not have subpoena power. We do not have arrest power, anything along those lines. (We) can only take so many steps and when a private organization that may have video, that may have the evidence does not want to cooperate with us it makes it very difficult" (Daniel Kaplan, THE DAILY). 

STANDING THEIR GROUND: USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell wrote the NFL yesterday expressed a "solid principle," as paying for video would be "encouraging people in some, if not many cases, to break the law by stealing from employers." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said of trying to obtain information on player behavior, "We’re not going to do it by corrupting people, by trying to bribe people. That’s not what we do." Bell notes when it comes to the NFL and investigations into personal conduct, there is "not much choice in eschewing a pay-per-view pattern." Bell: "It’s just that the risk includes the embarrassments such as Hunt's case" (USA TODAY, 12/13). Jones yesterday added that the investigation into Hunt’s actions "remains open, and the league likely will interview him in the coming weeks, although Jones suggested that the approval of the players’ union will be required for such an interview to take place" (NEWSDAY, 12/13).