Green Bay Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove has gone to great lengths to try to clear himself of any involvement and wrongdoing in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.
He went several steps further today, when he denied that it was his voice in the NFL Films tape that could be heard saying “Give me the money.”
The NFL used that in its attempt to prove that Hargrove was trying to claim the bounty placed on Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC championship game between the Saints and Minnesota Vikings.
“I have felt like the target of a sophisticated mugging,” Hargrove said in a statement read outside NFL headquarters in New York..
CBSSports.com obtained the full statement that Hargrove prepared for his appeal hearing today at NFL headquarters, where is fighting his eight-game suspension.
♦ From CBS Sports: Read Anthony Hargrove’s statement
In the statement, Hargrove said the following:
♦ That the voice that can be heard uttering the infamous “give me the money” line is not his.
“The NFL has a sideline shot of our defense gathered around Joe Vitt discussing what we might should expect if the backup quarterback comes into the game,” Hargrove said in his statement. “It shows me off to the side with some of our other defensive linemen on the bench with their backs to the camera. The final snippet has an arrow pointed at me with the caption indicating that I had said, “give me my money.”
“Here’s the problem with that. It wasn’t me. That’s right. The NFL got their evidence all wrong. In their rush to convict me, they made a very serious error. Is it intentional? I don’t know. But one thing I do know with absolute certainty…it…was…not…me! Like I said, lean in closer, look closer, listen closer. It is not my voice. Anyone who knows me well knows that it is not me. But the NFL does not know me well. They simply make assumptions. With … my … life.”
♦ That his signed declaration that the NFL used to prove that Hargrove knew of and participated in the bounty program and then was told to lie to investigators about it was essentially being taken out of context.
“First of all, I watched in shock as they took my declaration a couple of months ago and made it into something it was not,” Hargrove said in his statement. “It left from me as a private explanation of certain specific events and, voila, came out as a confession of crimes. Even I had to blink my eyes real hard to see how they did that one. Do you know they never even asked me what I meant? Just assumed I wanted to confess, I guess.”
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said: “We stand by our investigation.”