Jonathan Vilma’s lawyer argued in court papers filed this week that the NFL has allowed so-called “bounty-programs” in the past, citing a 1996 report where multiple players spoke about a “Smash-For-Cash” program. The program, which is eerily similar to what the Saints are accused of doing (though Vilma and other players accused of taking part in it deny that there was even such a thing) was deemed kosher by the NFL.
In the ESPN report, Reggie White says the only person upset by the Smash For Cash program was his wife, whom he had to ask to write a multi-thousand dollar check to cover his share of it.
Teams, in fact, according to the report used to pay “big money” for hits, but that was deemed illegal under salary cap rules.
However, many things (like helmet-to-helmet hits) that were legal in 1996 are illegal in the NFL today.
In other Bountygate news, former Saints’ DT Jimmy Kennedy denied ever telling anyone that there had been a price on knocking out Brett Favre. “I had no knowledge about any alleged bounty to reveal to anyone, and I never informed anyone that I did. Contrary to the false information disseminated by the NFL, Coach Childress approached me and asked me if I knew anything about such an allegation, and I told him the truth: I did not. I had no knowledge of any such alleged bounty,” he wrote in a statement distributed by the NFLPA.