Monday, March 4, 2013
Anthony Hargrove names Remi Ayodele
By Kevin Seifert
If you caught Sunday's "Outside the Lines" episode, you saw a 30-minute discussion about the performance of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in anticipation of Don Van Natta Jr.'s profile in this week's ESPN The Magazine.
For our purposes, it's worth noting that former New Orleans Saints (and Green Bay Packers) defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove advanced a story we spent plenty of time discussing last offseason as part of the investigation into the Saints' alleged bounty program.
For the first time to my knowledge, Hargrove said the voice in a much-discussed NFL Films video used as evidence against him is that of Saints teammate Remi Ayodele. As you might recall, the NFL initially said Hargrove spoke the words, "Bobby, give me my money," and used the accusation to suggest Hargrove was seeking a bounty payment for a hit on Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC Championship Game.
As we pointed out at the time, Hargrove wasn't involved in the play that injured Favre's ankle; Ayodele and defensive end Bobby McCray were. Hargrove said last summer that a voice recognition analysis confirmed it was not his voice, and Goodell eventually acknowledged he was "prepared to assume" it was not Hargrove. In the small-world department, Ayodele signed with the Vikings as a free agent the following year and was teammates with Favre in 2010. Last year, his agent told NFL.com that Ayodele doesn't recall hearing the statement. Via his verified Twitter account, Ayodele lashed out at Hargrove for naming him and added: "I said NOTHING nobody on the team did I'm still trying to figure out this bounty what's he talking bout?"
The incident was one of many questionable accusations against Hargrove and the other players involved in the investigation. On appeal, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue -- acting as a third-party arbitrator -- vacated their suspensions.
In the video, Hargrove implies he won't play again in the NFL but makes clear that the fight to clear his name has just begun.
Note: The Ayodele discussion is not in this clip, presumably because of online rights issues involved with the NFL Films video.