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NFL Suspends Anthony Hargrove for Lying About Saints Bounty Program

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 16:  Anthony Hargrove #69 of the New Orleans Saintsreacts to a play against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The National Football League has suspended former New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove for lying to the league, according to NFL general counsel Jeff Pash.

After the accusations were leveled, most fans thought the suspension was because of Hargrove’s direct involvement with the bounty system. But that isn’t the case.

Now a Green Bay Packer, the defensive tackle went on the offensive last week, calling out the NFL for saying that it was his voice on the tape presented as evidence. Hargrove has remained steadfast since the beginning of the investigation that he had no knowledge of what was going on with the bounty program.

The league is treading on thin ice when it comes to why it is suspending people, but the explanation the NFL has given to fully explain Hargrove’s suspension is fair.

Pash told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk about the video, in which Hargrove is accused of asking for his money after a big hit:

…second, it [the video] demonstrates Mr. Hargrove's awareness of the program and his understanding that it existed, and it demonstrates that his statements to our investigators in early 2010 denying the program and saying there was nothing like that in existence were false. That is the basis on which the commissioner imposed discipline on Mr. Hargrove.

While there is definitely room for interpretation in this matter, the fact is that all of the evidence points to Hargrove’s guilt. While fans and experts can question the penalties, the offenses are well documented.

As for Hargrove, the NFL isn't suspending him for getting paid to hurt people. The league is coming down hard on him because he was dishonest.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 20:  U.S. Senate Majority Whip Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) (R) and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) participate in a news briefing after their meeting June 20, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Goodell was on the Hill to discu
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The NFL is trying to set a precedent, and Hargrove just happens to be the player of which an example must be made.

As a league, everyone has to stand up against something as serious as a bounty scandal to make sure it isn’t acceptable at the highest level and that this sentiment trickles down through all ranks of organized football.

As much as Hargrove wants to play innocent, his mere acknowledgment of the system was enough for the league to realize he was lying.

If anything, the NFL veteran should consider himself lucky the penalty wasn’t more severe.

Check back for more on the National Football League as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NFL page to get your fill of all things football.

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