Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who has left today’s bounty hearings and said he won’t return, said the league’s allegations have been trying for him on a personal level.
“Roger Goodell has taken three months to tarnish what I’ve built over eight years of my career,” Vilma said, according to Jim Varney of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “And it’s tough to swallow knowing that from here on out no matter where I go from here on out I’ll be forever linked to a ‘bounty-gate’ that’s simply not true.”
Vilma said Monday’s short appearance in front of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was professional, but still think the hearing lacked a fundamental fairness.
“Well, you’re basing that on the fact it would be a fair process,” Vilma said when asked about his decision to not speak. “And I don’t know how you’d get a fair process when you have a judge, jury and executioner. He’s made a ruling, he’s obviously going to stick by that ruling. And it’s hard to go into that process assuming it’s going to be fair. You have to assume that it’s not.
“Everyone will have their opinions on it, and everyone will either believe me or not believe me, there’s no in-between.”
Again, the issue of belief will come down to what evidence the league discloses, or when or whether they do. This one is far from over. Stay tuned.