Jonathan Vilma says Roger Goodell’s refusal to show him evidence of his activities in the Saints bounty program is the reason why he didn’t speak to league’s investigators about it.
“We asked for evidence and he wouldn’t give it to us,” Vilma told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. “How can I defend myself when I don’t know what I’m defending against? It’s just logical, things that people decided to ignore.”
Vilma’s attorney Peter Ginsberg also talked about a lack of evidence during a recent appearance on PFT Live. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has also publicly questioned the NFL’s evidence against the players suspended (Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove are the others) by the league.
Rapoport writes that when Vilma, who is also suing Goodell for defamation, was asked whether or not the union advised him not to cooperate with the investigation, the linebacker responded by repeating the question about defending himself. Vilma, who again said that he neither paid nor intended to pay anyone was suspended for a full year by the NFL for his role in the program, although he and the other players suspended by the league are fighting the suspension.
“He was invited to come in with his attorney to discuss the evidence prior to any decision on discipline,” said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello in response to Vilma. “He declined. He has another opportunity to do so in his appeal. The union has been shown evidence.”