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Harper says he never got paid for “whacks”

Lions Saints Football

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford dives for a touchdown past New Orleans Saints’ Roman Harper during the second half of an NFL wild card playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


Saints safety Roman Harper is swatting at the notion that he has been paid for “whacks.”

In response to evidence that Harper and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar received money for the football version of the thing that mobsters sometimes do to each other, Harper says it didn’t happen.

He addressed the issue while appearing Friday night on ESPN Radio’s Hill & Schlereth. Harper also echoed the position that the term “whack” doesn’t mean that an injury was inflicted.

I did not get any money for it,” Harper said. “I don’t understand. A ‘whack’ is just tackle, it’s a legal tackle. And it’s just a term we use for a certain tackle. It’s like, you hit a guy and I guess like you hit him low, below the belt, and his upper body lands before his lower body.”

Pressed a bit on the issue, Harper becane a little agitated. “I got nothing. I got nothing. I just play football, man. I didn’t get anything,” Harper said. “Where is all this coming from, anyway? Where did all this happen? Like, I don’t even understand.”

I don’t understand, either. If the tape recorded the night before the Saints-49ers playoff game included sound that reflects Harper getting an envelope of money for a “whack,” it’s hard to accept his denial. Besides, if a “whack” isn’t a bounty per se, who cares if he got an envelope of cash?

The IRS possibly could care, but to date there has been no indication that the tax man hopes to collect on the cash that changed hands without the benefit of a 1099 or W-2. Perhaps in the end Harper has decided simply to deny everything in order to ensure he’ll still receive a W-2 from the Saints.