Chief executives and presidents from the 32 teams received on Wednesday morning an NFL memo that reiterated the major points of the league's press release announcing discipline for players involved in the New Orleans Saints' "bounty" program. But the league memo also provided additional details into the investigation and the problems with the NFL Players Association on this matter.
'Bounty' player punishments
"While the NFLPA has publicly stated that it conducted its own investigation into this matter, the union has shared no information with us from that investigation," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in the memo. "As one example, we learned that the union may have had the tape recording of a speech given before the divisional playoff game between the Saints and the San Francisco 49ers this past January. Although a version of this tape recording has been widely publicized, the union has never shared it with us."
Goodell also said the evidence and facts he had in deciding on player discipline are "largely the same" as the ones he used in issuing discipline against the team, executives and coaches in March.
A union source said the NFLPA was aware of the audio, in which Williams implored the Saints to injure 49ers players, but was not in possession of it. The source also said the union advised players not be interviewed by the NFL, so as not to allow the league to simply match testimony with evidence that hadn't been shared with the union.
The NFLPA source emphasized that the union investigation has turned up no evidence of players directing any bounty or pay-to-injure program.
The commissioner revealed another figure involved in the investigation and employed by the league.
"We also took the step of engaging Mary Jo White, the former United States Attorney for New York, at an early stage of the investigation in order to ensure both the fairness of the process and the reliability of the information on which our decisions were made in the Saints matter," Goodell wrote. "Following a process that she has frequently undertaken on a wide range of matters in recent years, Mrs. White provided an independent view of the investigation from the perspective of an experienced and highly respected law enforcement officer.
"After her review, she expressed a high degree of confidence in the fairness of the investigation, the reliability of the findings, and the quality of evidence that supported those findings."