Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt Wednesday denied he contributed $5,000 toward a $35,000 bounty on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. As part of the NFL's investigation into the Saints' alleged bounty program, the league indicated Vitt had contributed in such a scheme.
"I did not pledge any money for any type of incentive program [for] the 2010 NFC Championship Game," Vitt said in a statement released by the team. "Furthermore, I have never at any time pledged any money for any type of incentive program, or so-called 'bounty' program."
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said after meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell that he would withhold a hearing into bounty programs in the NFL and other sports after expressing satisfaction that Goodell was trying aggressively to eliminate bounties.
Goodell told Durbin he would write a letter to league and team employees, add a "bounties section" to the players handbook and create an anonymous hotline to encourage players to report bounty-related issues. Goodell also will e-mail all registered NFL fans to discuss bounties, player safety and the integrity of the game.
Goodell suspended Vitt for six games for his role in the scandal, and the league said he confirmed the program's existence. NFL investigators said they recovered a hand-written note from a meeting before the Saints-Vikings game indicating Vitt had pledged $5,000 to anyone who knocked Favre out of the game. However, the league could not corroborate the note and did not use it as evidence against Vitt.
Vitt said he "had a great conversation'' with Goodell Wednesday and "stated I would sign a sworn affidavit, or take a lie detector, to immediately rectify this matter. Also, none of our players, particularly those facing suspensions, ever crossed the white line with the intent to injure.''
The NFL had no comment. "The commissioner considered it a private conversation," spokesman Greg Aiello said.