For those of you that are still fired up (I’m not, but I do understand) about the New Orleans Saints “Bountygate” scandal” I think you will find a recent article by John Holler at Viking Update quite interesting.
Remi Ayodele was a member of the Saints when they beat the Vikings in the 2009 NFC Championship game, and then went on to win the Super Bowl. In fact, Ayodele was in on one of the dirty hits on Brett Favre that has been called into question.
Since then, Ayodele has joined the Vikings and has been quoted numerous times saying that he enjoys showing of his Super Bowl ring and jabbing at other players from time to time for the outcome of that championship game.
Holler thought the hits in that game were so “pervasive” that he jumped at the opportunity to ask Ayodele about them once he had joined the team. He even asked him specifically about the existence of an incentive program that rewarded injuries being dealt to the opposing team. Here is Holler’s account:
Ayodele seemed momentarily surprised by the question with his facial reaction, but what he did next was more interesting. As with most reporters, I carry a recording device with me to make sure I get quotes right. Ayodele smiled and shrugged and, as he started to give his answer, he leaned into my recorder and said, “I don’t know anything about that.” I took from his reaction and response that he believed a real answer wasn’t really any of my business. When players don’t want to answer questions, each one reacts differently. When they look directly into a camera or, in this case lean into the microphone, they’re making a point. His smile and “I don’t know” shrug spoke more than his words and reminded me of a Mafia-style code of silence and vendetta. I got the distinct impression that he wasn’t going to lie, but he gave a classic “non-denial denial.” He didn’t say, “No. That never happened.” He said he knew nothing – the Sergeant Schultz defense.
Ayodele may have instantly become one of the least respected players on the Vikings roster, at least amongst fans, and after a very unproductive season with the team many of us wouldn’t mind seeing him (and his $2.2 million salary) be shown the door.
According to PFT, the Saints will be punished for their actions prior to March 25th. Free agency begins on March 13th.