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“Phase Two” of bounty case will have a StarCaps feel, initially

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To best understand what will happen after Commissioner Roger Goodell issues his final ruling on appeals filed by four players suspended in connection with the Saints bounty program, it’s important to reflect back on a case primarily involving four other players and an over-the-counter weight-loss supplement that worked so well because it had been spiked with a prescription diuretic.

The product was StarCaps, and Vikings defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams and a trio of Saints, defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant and running back Deuce McAllister, sued after the league upheld their four-game suspensions.  Though the StarCaps suspensions and the bounty suspensions arise from completely different facts — and flow from completely different policies — the opening attacks will be the same.

As in StarCaps, we’re told that the players will, once what Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma calls “Phase Two” begins, seek a so-called “preliminary injunction,” which if granted will block the league from implementing the suspensions until the lawsuits are resolved.

The players ultimately lost the StarCaps case, but they won the ability to delay the suspensions until the conclusion of the litigation.  For Pat Williams, Charles Grant, and Deuce McAllister, it meant that they never had to serve the suspensions because they both were out of the league when the litigation ended.

And so, once Vilma and Smith (for whom it’s déjà vu all over again) and Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita lose their appeals (and it would be a shock if they don’t), they’ll seek a preliminary injunction delaying the suspensions.

Then, terms like “irreparable harm” and “likelihood of success on the merits” and “balancing of hardships” will re-enter the NFL lexicon.  And if the players in the bounty case can have the same success the players had in the StarCaps case, the suspensions will be delayed, regardless of whether they are ultimately lifted.

That said, the bounty litigation likely will move more quickly than the StarCaps case, which was fueled by a Minnesota drug-testing law.  In this case, the question is whether the outcome of the NFL’s in-house arbitration process should be respected, not whether there’s an obscure state or federal law that short-circuits the process.

Even though the bounty litigation should move quickly, the players will undoubtedly appeal if they lose, and if the preliminary injunction remains in force on appeal, the players could end up having their suspensions blocked for most if not all of the 2012 season.

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33 Responses to ““Phase Two” of bounty case will have a StarCaps feel, initially”
  1. thejuddstir says: Jun 28, 2012 12:41 PM

    and it will have the same “starcaps result”

  2. eagleswin says: Jun 28, 2012 12:45 PM

    That always bugged me about the starcaps case. The fact that they were able to delay their suspensions for years and that in the end, even thought they lost, they never served their suspensions.

    I find it utterly ridiculous that the players can potentially appeal the appeal (court case) of the appeal.

  3. fballguy says: Jun 28, 2012 12:47 PM

    Or they could just admit their fault and do their time like men.

  4. blacknole08 says: Jun 28, 2012 12:49 PM

    This seems like a lost cost if you ask me. Even if the injunction is imposed, the players will still have to serve their suspensions once the lawsuits are over. Just get it out of the way and move on.

  5. basballguy says: Jun 28, 2012 12:49 PM

    I’m pretty sure opposing Offensive Linemen will handle the justice on behalf of the NFL if these guys find their way onto the field before their suspensions.

  6. acetw says: Jun 28, 2012 12:58 PM

    Figured I’d head this off at the pass, since we ALL know it’s coming…

    No Saints players or coaches have admitted to a bounty program.

    You can’t lie about not having a program you don’t have.

    You can lie however, about a program you accuse someone of having while presenting nothing but presumptive evidence to support your lies.

    Vilma isn’t the crybaby in this scenario, the nfl is.

    Saints players should not just ‘take it like a man’ any more than you would if you were falsely accused of something.

  7. classygentleman7 says: Jun 28, 2012 1:00 PM

    James Harrison is gonna get fined $25,000 for this. And for that, Drew Brees is gonna need an explanation

  8. jkin1510 says: Jun 28, 2012 1:09 PM

    Why sign a CBA if you’re just going to complain about everything you agreed on, and then sue when you don’t get what you want? You were told to stop, you didn’t. Pay the consequences. Noone feels sorry for you if you guys aren’t going to tell the truth. Shut up already.

  9. pavvento says: Jun 28, 2012 1:09 PM

    I think the appeal system is bogus BUT the players and the NFLPA agreed to it when they signed the CBA. Instead of focussing solely on money they should have used this as a bargaining point.

  10. bigjdve says: Jun 28, 2012 1:15 PM

    The players need to get better lawyers. They would spend less by just taking the suspensions.

    The lawyers are salivating over the fact that these players will keep appealing.

  11. fballguy says: Jun 28, 2012 1:15 PM

    Nobody was falsely accused. For crying out loud the NFL scrubbed the Saints computers. Do you think they’re making this stuff up?

  12. eaglebobby says: Jun 28, 2012 1:23 PM

    acetw–then please enlighten us as to why Payton and Loomis went up and apologized for “what we did was wrong and we knew it was wrong.” I mean, if that isn’t an admission, I don’t know what is. Plus, if they’re afraid of coming out like men, why don’t they use their hard earned cash to sue the commisioner? He cannot prevent them from working in the NFL. You Saints fans are all alike–you’ll dismiss everything and then when these players start losing their lawsuits, the truth will come out. Just to give you a headsup–Vilma is going to have a very tough time proving defamation of character–if the judge even lets it get that far. Courts are known not to trample on collectively bargained agreements.

  13. jpmelon says: Jun 28, 2012 1:25 PM

    @ acetw
    you don’t think any Saints players or coaches have admitted to anything?

    Gregg Williams has admitted to a bounty program; plain and simple. Loomis, Payton, Vitt and Fujita have admitted paying into to a “pay for performance” program that used the phrase “cart-offs” as one of the achievements a player could strive for in order to receive a payment.

    So who’s really stretching the truth here?

  14. beardedhawk says: Jun 28, 2012 1:26 PM

    let it go saints………let it go.
    if there was no form of negative program run by the saints please explain the greg williams audio to me.????perhaps some of the player suspensions are extreme but stop acting like the team was on the up and up. let it go saints fans, you aren’t convincing anyone

  15. jason49er says: Jun 28, 2012 1:28 PM

    The strange thing is unless their contracts are front-loaded they stand to lose more money by postponing the suspensions than they do just sucking it up, and that’s not even including all the lawyer fees and court costs.

    They must really think they will win this, either that or they are getting bad advice.

  16. gridironmike says: Jun 28, 2012 1:31 PM

    Vilma was named 58th best player in the league by his peers. If he was out there intentionally trying to injure people, he wouldn’t have made the list at all.

  17. sb44champs says: Jun 28, 2012 1:40 PM

    basballguy says:
    Jun 28, 2012 12:49 PM
    I’m pretty sure opposing Offensive Linemen will handle the justice on behalf of the NFL if these guys find their way onto the field before their suspensions.
    ———————————-
    Oh yeah… I bet that NFL offensive linemen, that average about a million in salary per year, were thinking the same exact thing as if they need this B.S. to motivate themselves. That’s pretty lame! Instead, look for the opposite as the Saints will be highly motivated to beat the snot out of your favaorite team this year as they win at least 10 games…. as usual!!!

  18. Manbearpig says: Jun 28, 2012 2:00 PM

    2010 Super Bowl Champions – New Orleans Saints*

  19. genericuser8888 says: Jun 28, 2012 2:02 PM

    If this goes to court and gets delayed, Vilma will play for another season or two and retire before he has to serve his suspension. He’s at the tail of his career anyway.

    Payton never apologized specifically for a bounty program. His press statement was very carefully worded. It said something like “bounty programs are wrong.” “We are sorry for what we did.” It reads as though he is apologizing for a bounty program – it had to read that way to keep the league happy – but he never specifically admitted to or apologized for a bounty program.

  20. purpleguy says: Jun 28, 2012 2:02 PM

    The difference in the Starcaps case from bountygate, whether you agree with what the Williams boys did or not, is the underlying legal reason for the lawsuit contesting the league action. In Starcaps, the league process was in direct conflict with MN drug testing law as it applied to adverse employment action; thus, the court ruled there was a “likelihood” that the Williams boys’ case would succeed on the merits. Here, the Saints don’t like the NFL procedure and evidence in the work punishment process — a process and procedure they previously agreed to in the CBA. Simply put, they ain’t likely to succeed on them there merits sufficient to obtain injunctive relief.

  21. geefan1 says: Jun 28, 2012 2:11 PM

    I hope the NFL counter-sues seeking recovery of its legal fees so that when the players eventually lose all their appeals they can then pay the millions these frivolous lawsuits will cost.

  22. silentcount says: Jun 28, 2012 2:15 PM

    WHAM! Vilma saves his hardest LEGAL HIT ever for someone who truly deserves it. Goodell can dish it out, but can he take his own medicine? He thinks he can accuse Vilma of something he didn’t do with immunity? When you go up against linebackers in the NFL you have to back up your tough talk or pay the price.

  23. musicman495 says: Jun 28, 2012 2:34 PM

    fballguy says: Jun 28, 2012 12:47 PM

    Or they could just admit their fault and do their time like men.
    ———————–
    That works especially well if they are innocent of what they are being charged with.

  24. jcbadger34 says: Jun 28, 2012 2:41 PM

    Difference in the Starcaps case – The players who used the Starcaps could reasonably argue that they didn’t know using Starcaps broke the NFL’s rules, because of the mislabeling. That made the suspensions seem unjust, allowing the courts to at least look at the possibility of going around the CBA. And…..the players still wound up losing.

    The Saints knew they were breaking the rules, and are now just whining about the consequences. There’s no reason for the court to circumvent the CBA here.

  25. gerttownmomo says: Jun 28, 2012 2:55 PM

    pavvento says: Jun 28, 2012 1:09 PM

    I think the appeal system is bogus BUT the players and the NFLPA agreed to it when they signed the CBA. Instead of focussing solely on money they should have used this as a bargaining point.

    =======================

    yeah, i’m sure you would have done just that. must stand up for principles sometimes instead of money.

  26. gerttownmomo says: Jun 28, 2012 2:59 PM

    jpmelon says: Jun 28, 2012 1:25 PM

    @ acetw
    you don’t think any Saints players or coaches have admitted to anything?

    Gregg Williams has admitted to a bounty program; plain and simple. Loomis, Payton, Vitt and Fujita have admitted paying into to a “pay for performance” program that used the phrase “cart-offs” as one of the achievements a player could strive for in order to receive a payment.

    So who’s really stretching the truth here?

    =====================

    pretty obvious you are. loomis and payton admitted to paying into a pfp program? vitt too? sounds like a little truth stretching to me.

  27. jnbnet says: Jun 28, 2012 3:48 PM

    @SB44champs

    When the Patriots were fined money and draft picks, they were able to kick butt because they acepted their punishment and moved forward. It is going to be almost imposible for the Saints to focus on football. The distractions created by the refusal to accept the NFL’s ruling will have their effect.

  28. glitch343 says: Jun 28, 2012 4:11 PM

    gridironmike:
    The Top 100 list on NFL Network is voted by the players on the players… and also was voted on before the bounty scandal broke.

  29. glitch343 says: Jun 28, 2012 4:12 PM

    gridironmike says:
    Jun 28, 2012 1:31 PM
    Vilma was named 58th best player in the league by his peers. If he was out there intentionally trying to injure people, he wouldn’t have made the list at all.

    The Top 100 list on NFL Network is voted by the players on the players… and also was voted on before the bounty scandal broke.

  30. secretbonus says: Jun 28, 2012 4:56 PM

    The NFL had a hotline that the Williams boys called and StarCaps was not on the list of prohibited substances, so it’s not like they didn’t do their research. Kind of obvious that when you’re bounty hunting that it’s “not okay”. Assuming the commissioner isn’t coming up looking through thousands of pages of evidence and just making things up… doubt it!

  31. jpmelon says: Jun 28, 2012 5:11 PM

    @ gerttownmomo
    Try reading the news before you claim I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    Vitt admits “pay for performance” and the term “cart-offs” here:

    http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2012/06/new_orleans_saints_coach_joe_v_1.html

    New York Times…March 2, 2012
    “Saints’ owner, Tom Benson, cooperated with the investigation and that when he was made aware of the new information in January before the playoffs, he told Loomis to stop the bounties immediately. Loomis did not take any action, the league said. When the initial allegation was made in 2010, Loomis denied any knowledge of the bounties and pledged that he would make sure no program was in place. ”

    When the fines and coach suspensions came about, the Saints organization released the following statement: “To our fans, the NFL and the rest of our league, we offer our sincere apology and take full responsibility for these serious violations. It has always been the goal of the New Orleans Saints to create a model franchise and to impact our league in a positive manner. There is no place for bounties in our league and we reiterate our pledge that this will never happen again.”

  32. jkin1510 says: Jun 28, 2012 6:45 PM

    Love that people actually believe that they didn’t do anything. Why isn’t Williams suing? These players are idiots. Should have saved that 50k you put down for someone’s injury if you’re so worried about not being able to make a living again. Idiots.

  33. diehardtwinsfan says: Jun 28, 2012 9:04 PM

    As a Vikings fan, I’ve been paying pretty close attention to all of this. I cannot speak for the evidence regarding Fujita and Vilma, but I’m really trying to figure out why Hargrove is being suspended here. He wasn’t the person that hit Favre during the “give me my money” incident, and the video is inconclusive as to who said it… Cannot say much for Vilma and what not, but I really wonder if Hargrove is getting the bad deal here.

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