Former Saints defensive linemen Anthony Hargrove was all over the news this week when a signed declaration to the NFL regarding the team's bounty program was leaked. Hargrove isn't happy about it, and it's hard to blame him.
"I'm disappointed that 'the Declaration' was leaked," Hargrove said in a statement to ESPN. "The intent of 'the Declaration' was to let the NFL know exactly what happened in March of 2010. Call me naive, but I did not expect them to publicize the fact that I had sent them 'the Declaration.' But since they did, and because they grossly mischaracterized my words, it obviously became a hot item and subsequently was leaked by someone.
"I do not know who leaked it, but I would have preferred for it to remain private between the NFL and me."
The statement was posted publicly by Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports and my old boss Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com. Hargrove submitted the statement originally to the NFL Players Association, which subsequently submitted it to the league. There are a number of ways the statement could have found its way to those reporters, and there are even more competing agendas at play in the bounty case.
Saints interim head coach Joe Vittdenied Hargrove's allegations that the team's coaching staff told him to 'play dumb' to NFL investigators.
"He can say whatever he wants to say. It just didn't happen," Vitt told The Times-Picayune.
The league sees Hargrove's declaration one way. The NFLPA sees it another. The Saints -- especially their coaches -- probably view it in another light. All of this politicking is starting to remind us of the bad old days of the 2011 lockout.