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Vilma requested, then declined, an opportunity to be heard by Goodell

Jonathan Vilma, Olin Kreutz, Jimmy Graham AP

Attached to the grievances filed by the NFLPA on Thursday are copies of the May 2 letters informing the four suspended players of their penalties.

The letter to Jonathan Vilma from Commissioner Roger Goodell contains an interesting comment regarding the question of whether Vilma was given an opportunity to be heard before the one-year suspension was imposed.  On that point, there have been conflicting accounts regarding whether the NFL indeed offered such an opportunity.

“Your counsel contacted our office in mid-March to request an opportunity to be heard prior to a determination of discipline,” Goodell writes.  “You were offered the opportunity to do so, which your counsel then declined.”

Goodell also explains that the NFL asked the NFLPA to facilitate a meeting with Vilma, and that the NFLPA declined.

Vilma’s ultimate decision not to meet with Goodell likely was driven by a broader legal strategy aimed at giving the NFL as little ammunition as possible for crafting the penalties.  And that could help Vilma in whatever court or tribunal or forum his appeal is eventually heard.  But it may not have been the best P.R. strategy, if Vilma truly is innocent.

Regardless, the fact that Vilma’s lawyer initially wanted a meeting shows that the lawyer changed strategies in midstream — the next question is why?

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31 Responses to “Vilma requested, then declined, an opportunity to be heard by Goodell”
  1. dexterismyhero says: May 4, 2012 10:26 AM

    And he found out via TV of the suspension…..Right……

  2. themonster49 says: May 4, 2012 10:27 AM

    ‘Regardless, the fact that Vilma’s lawyer initially wanted a meeting shows that the lawyer changed strategies in midstream — the next question is why?’

    That’s a good question. Whoever it is, need be reminded you cannot use bad things for what you think are good purposes. Bad things to be done with good intentions, comes to mind.

  3. rayguyreturns says: May 4, 2012 10:28 AM

    “Regardless, the fact that Vilma’s lawyer initially wanted a meeting shows that the lawyer changed strategies in midstream — the next question is why?”
    ______________________________________

    Most likely because he’s formulating a civil lowe court suit against the league, or federal suit against the league for his clients civil rights being violated without due process.
    Mark it.

  4. cali49er707 says: May 4, 2012 10:28 AM

    this whole bounty gate, eaves dropping, AINTS fiasco is a turd the NFL just cant seem to flush!!! its beyond played out!!

  5. blizzard01 says: May 4, 2012 10:30 AM

    That’s legal offsides.
    1st and five for the league.
    Oh, and the score is League: one year. Vilma zero.

  6. pickleman77 says: May 4, 2012 10:33 AM

    (In the voice of Fred Flintstone.) “VILLLLMAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!”

  7. cowboyscanada says: May 4, 2012 10:43 AM

    If Vilma was as innocent as hes claiming, there isnt a chance he would have cancelled his meeting with the commish. If I was innocent, I would take every opportunity to speak with him to claim my innocense. They are all guilty as sin, including Brees!

  8. melikefootball says: May 4, 2012 10:44 AM

    Another player caught with hand in candy jar, cried foul, I’m a poor misunderstood NFL player, now we find out he was offered his day. These players had no concern of the players they targeted, they deserve their punishment.

  9. 49erdynasty says: May 4, 2012 10:48 AM

    Sounds like a child…

  10. medtxpack says: May 4, 2012 10:57 AM

    Vilma has sunk in the public’s eye bad and his sad attempts to save it are pathetic.

  11. notmanning says: May 4, 2012 10:59 AM

    Bad ju ju continues to haunt SuperBowl host cities…your turn, New Orleans.

  12. ken0west says: May 4, 2012 11:01 AM

    Even if Vilma did everything he was reported to do, the suspension is still ridiculous. I expect it to be reduced to 8 games in the end.

  13. cowboycjn says: May 4, 2012 11:03 AM

    I think it was stated in another article that the NFLPA had directed players to refrain from any statements, talks until after sentencing had been passed. As for why, doesn’t matter, they have a game plan and are doing things according to what they think is best for the situation.
    As for him getting reduced sentencing – he knows that will not happen, its another legal manuever to apppeal – that in turn delays the actual start of the suspension- giving Vilma and Smith the opportunity to play games this season. Who knows they might play the entire season before this gets settled and an actual start date for suspensions is announced.

  14. Coach Alisauski says: May 4, 2012 11:12 AM

    Vilma’s attorney requested, then declined, an opportunity to be heard by Goodell…

    At least tell it like it is not speculation…

  15. edavidberg says: May 4, 2012 11:17 AM

    Vilma is a liar. Williams already confessed to the crimes. I find it hard to believe the specific reports of Vilma making the large cash offers were fabricated when the remainder of the story was confirmed.

    Vilma’s whole reponse to this shows he is guilty. He could have denied it months ago. Instead he wanted the commissioner to show his hand so he could craft a story explaining everything.

    I don’t know if Vilma deserved a year … particularly because it was Saints management that lied to the NFL about shutting down the program … but he is clearly lying about his involvement. Because of this I have no sympathy for him.

  16. trubroncfan07 says: May 4, 2012 11:33 AM

    What appeal has Goodell ever reviewed and then come back and then lessened the sentence. This guy has way to much power.

  17. sixjak says: May 4, 2012 11:35 AM

    Vilma like most is probably living beyond his means and it should be a pretty crappy year for him. Cheaters never prosper.

  18. mike83ri says: May 4, 2012 11:39 AM

    Vilma is going for the Brian Cushing defense.

  19. bigbadal21 says: May 4, 2012 12:08 PM

    Don’t worry about Vilma being broke this year. They changed his contract so any games lost this year would have a minimum financial impact. He has recently received a fat check because of his reworked contract. What I want to know is why hasn’t this gotten more press?

  20. dyetryin says: May 4, 2012 12:09 PM

    A comment to cowboys Canada remark about Brees being guilty,you would like that, wouldn’t you? Bonehead….

  21. gisellichek says: May 4, 2012 12:17 PM

    It is what guilty people do… searching for loopholes and technicalities…

  22. thejuddstir says: May 4, 2012 12:51 PM

    I think it’s time for Goodell to tell the Taints and individual players that if they want to keep trying to spin this in the media based on technicalities and loopholes that there is going to be added punishment coming down. This “crying wolf” like the Taints and their players are doing is getting real old real fast (whether Brees ever gets his explanation or not) and the continued lying by the Taints organization needs to end. The Taints legacy is already etched in stone and all they are doing now is giving the NFL a black eye with their apologies, retractions, remorse, lies, spin, technicalities etc. etc. Take your freakin’ medicine like a man Taints and move on cuz nothing you now say will change the legacy of the Taints and you as individual players. I think the rest of the league and all the fans of the NFL are sick and tired of your b.s.

  23. thejuddstir says: May 4, 2012 12:58 PM

    Vilma did it in college. Vilma had the opportunity to meet with Goodell but turned it down, Vilma is on tape, Vilma is named by other saints players and coaches but yet he would have us believe his sorry azz that he’s just a poor misunderstood black player. I have seen enough evidence that the NFL has made public to come to the conclusion that Vilma, Payton, Benson etc. should be thanking Goodell for taking it easy on them. Of all the snakes that were involved, I’m stating to think that Greg Williams is the most stand up guy of all of them, he’s not crying, he’s not trying to find loopholes or technicalities, he’s not having PR firms put a spin on things in the media….he simply admitted, apologized and ACCEPTED his punishment. something the rest of the idiots should do.

  24. dzor22 says: May 4, 2012 12:58 PM

    Stay classy New Orleans!

  25. havok82 says: May 4, 2012 1:03 PM

    Legally speaking, his contracts and the NFLPA contracts probably all have clauses for arbitration instead of litigation. In terms of punishment being a violation of civil rights, he’d have no case. The NFLPA gives the commissioner the power to mete out punishment as he sees fit. The NFL has an appeals process for that. I have dealt with a LOT of contract law and I can tell you from experience that almost all of these attorneys would put clauses in there to protect the decisions of a private entity (the NFL) to its employees (the players) from going to court.

    Vilma and the others can appeal, but civil suits and such may not be on the table depending on the language of the contracts between the NFL and NFLPA.

  26. vetdana says: May 4, 2012 1:18 PM

    So now the players are ” slinging hash hoping something well stick”and the only benefits to be had are in the form of monetary rewards for the lawyers involved in constructing their appeals, which are not going anywhere.

  27. gisellichek says: May 4, 2012 1:27 PM

    BTW… no ill will to the city of Nor’leans… stay cool…

  28. schrutebeetfarms says: May 4, 2012 1:29 PM

    Why does this site continue to intimate that a person who talked to the press or chose to deny the charges publicly would be innocent?

    I doubt anyone thought Jerry Sandusky was innocent when he was on his press tour. No good can come of it. Vilma is taking the smart approach and saying nothing, like any good lawyer would advise.

  29. lks311 says: May 4, 2012 1:38 PM

    Re: thejuddstir comment…why is race even an issue here? May reveal more about you than Vilma.

  30. dmatt777 says: May 4, 2012 5:04 PM

    juddstir you seam like a mean hateful old fart,spewing venom. I am so sure in your world are perfect. YOU have never lied or cheated about anything. You are a yackety Jack that doesn’t appear to know anything but thinks he knows all. CAREFUL YOUR TRUE COLORS ARE SHOWING.

  31. herradler1021 says: May 4, 2012 5:15 PM

    Hey, football fans EVERYWHERE —– What is needed right now, is the the reincarnation of one Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis, complete with absolute power and lifetime authority. He must then institute spine chilling fear into any and all those who would even dare to cross the line into the “grey” area or worse.

    Whoever is found guilty of even the slightest indiscretion needs to be run out of football FOR LIFE. Only then can we get back to enjoying the sport so many thoroughly enjoy. Keep the resurrected Judge on for baseball and basketball as well. If he does an admiral job in athletics, thrust him into the political arena next. Boy does our country need a thorough scouring — across the board !

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