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NFL calls Vilma’s new suit “improper”

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The league hadn’t responded to the Associated Press regarding Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s new Saturday-night’s-all-right-for-suing effort to overturn his suspension.  The league has since responded to the new lawsuit, via a statement emailed to PFT.

“We have not yet had an opportunity to review Mr. Vilma’s improper effort to litigate a matter that is committed to a collectively bargained process,” the league said, via NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.  “There is no basis for asking a federal court to substitute its judgment for the procedures agreed upon by the NFL and NFLPA, procedures that have been in place, and have served the game well, for decades.”

The league’s contention regarding the substitution of judgment is entirely accurate.  As we recently explained, courts won’t substitute their judgment for the judgment of a private arbitrator.

That said, it’s fair to attack the process as being unfair.  Under the Federal Arbitration Act, the four reasons for throwing out an arbitration award are:  (1) if the decision was “procured by corruption, fraud, or undue means”; (2) if there was “evident partiality or corruption by the arbitrator”; (3) if the arbitrator was “guilty of misconduct in refusing to postpone a hearing, in refusing to hear evidence, or in misbehaving in some other way”; or (4) the arbitrator “exceeded his powers and imperfectly executed them.”  Though we’ve yet to actually see Vilma’s lawsuit or any briefs filed in support of efforts to block the suspension pending the outcome of the litigation, it’s likely that Vilma’s legal effort will be confined to those four factors.

And while the league may disagree regarding the application of those factors, it’s not improper for Vilma to assert his rights, if he believes in good faith that application of those factors requires the ruling on his suspension to be overturned, and if he has evidence that would support a conclusion that his belief if accurate.

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19 Responses to “NFL calls Vilma’s new suit “improper””
  1. huffwx says: Jul 1, 2012 8:18 AM

    Florio, I always appreciate how you break down this matter in the legal context. Thanks!

  2. raiderfankirk says: Jul 1, 2012 9:11 AM

    Hope all the players keep filing suite. If the league releases so called evidence, then and only then it should stop.

  3. bchapman2011 says: Jul 1, 2012 9:23 AM

    Its a shame that the NFLPA is paying Vilma’s legal bills. I guarantee if Vilma were paying these attorneys out of his own pockets, these stupid lawsuits would have stopped a long time ago. These players are so frustrating. They signed away all of their rigbts last August when they agreed to the new CBA yet they are trying to weasel their way out with all of this recent litigation.

  4. saintsfan1111 says: Jul 1, 2012 11:20 AM

    Ahhh…Vilma has been paying into the union for years dope. That’s what they are supposed to do in a work dispute.

  5. jagsfanugh says: Jul 1, 2012 11:21 AM

    The NFL and their spin job is getting tiring. If they have such strong evidence i am sure it would be known by now. The NFL will be a better place (hopefully) when a RG is fired or retires.

  6. 6thsense79 says: Jul 1, 2012 11:22 AM

    Bchapman2011,

    I don’t think going through the courts to confirm your rights is weaseling. Florio broke down precisely established laws in which the courts could intervene during a cba dispute. In this case if they can they will and if they can’t they won’t. As a side note it always amazes me that so much hatred is directed at a group of individuals. Win or lose how does the outcome odthis dispute impact your life? Let’s dial it back a notch.

  7. dryzzt23 says: Jul 1, 2012 1:16 PM

    Fine, go ahead and Sue Mr. Vilma, if you LOSE, then YOU should pay the NFL’s legal fees

    I am sick/tired of these players suing, I want the NFL to sue a player for once.

  8. weswelkerspornstash says: Jul 1, 2012 3:17 PM

    Keep fighting Vilma

  9. silentcount says: Jul 1, 2012 3:36 PM

    It was improper for the head of the NFL to make public accusations against a player without clear evidence to support his claims. It’s perfectly proper for said player to take it to a higher authority who’s system is better known for fairness. If innocent, Vilma is not obligated to accept Goodell’s power, but instead is allowed to impose some power of his own that the constitution provides. He’s a linebacker in the NFL trained to attack without fear. Goodell is surprised by that? A valuable lesson will be learned.

  10. gingerkid2000 says: Jul 1, 2012 5:19 PM

    The operative word here is proof. Vilma is going to have to prove one of those 4 factors. Which means that he’s going to have to get the people who gave statements and evidence to the NFL to admit they were lying and making this stuff up. He’s going to have to prove Goodell fabricated & tampered with evidence. And he’s going to have to prove that there was no bases to Goodell’s punishments. I can’t see Williams & Payton retracting their statements for Vilma, knowing full well that it may hinder their reinstatements. When the ship goes down people have a tendency to act like rats. It’s every man for himself right now and considering how silent Vilma was when the coaches were being denied their appeals, I can’t see them being all that eager to have his back.

    Good luck Vilma. Hope you enjoyed your time in the NFL. After all this I can’t imagine why any coach would want a selfish, moronic, loud-mouthed, cowardly whiner like you on their team. Better work on that wrist. You’ll need it to flip those burgers.

  11. baddorange says: Jul 1, 2012 5:44 PM

    Goodell, is improper. Get rid of that SOB

  12. buccaroo989 says: Jul 1, 2012 5:45 PM

    buccaroo989 says:
    Jul 1, 2012 2:37 PM
    I think the nfl should have let the authorities take care of Vilma and the entire criminal enterprise known as th New Orleans Saints.

     

  13. swakman says: Jul 1, 2012 5:59 PM

    MR. Vilma has not proved he didn’t do it so far vilma sounds like a kid throwing a fit cause he got caught doing something that he new was wrong

  14. 6thsense79 says: Jul 1, 2012 8:00 PM

    Swakman,

    You legal genius no one can prove they didn’t do something. It’s impossible. You can demonstrate that the likelyhood you did something is low base on evidence but never that you didnt do something. That’s exactly why most credible legal systems are set up so the accuser carries the burden of proving the accused did the act he or she is being charged with.

  15. brandohernando says: Jul 1, 2012 9:39 PM

    swakman, prove to me that you haven’t killed someone. If you don’t show me hard evidence of what you didn’t do, I’ll believe you are a murderer.

  16. crazimitch says: Jul 1, 2012 10:07 PM

    On Sundays my friends and i play a game, were we read a Profootballtalk comment and we each write down one of the following on a piece of paper, ‘former Player, current player, team employee, or fan.’. The point is to guess who is writing the comment. The player with the fewest concurrent votes does a shot. The current players are easy, none can spell, former players all sound like either Joey Sunshine or Emmit Smith. The hard part is team employee or fan. Typically theyre both biased towards teams and the NFL, both make up stuff or lie. The key is the number of thumbs up vs thumbs down. NFL executives always have ten downs for every up.

  17. winner2277 says: Jul 1, 2012 10:35 PM

    bchapman2011 says: Jul 1, 2012 9:23 AM

    Its a shame that the NFLPA is paying Vilma’s legal bills. I guarantee if Vilma were paying these attorneys out of his own pockets, these stupid lawsuits would have stopped a long time ago. These players are so frustrating. They signed away all of their rigbts last August when they agreed to the new CBA yet they are trying to weasel their way out with all of this recent litigation.

    __________________________________

    Hey genius, Vilma is paying for his own attorney, Ginsberg. The NFLPA is not paying Vilma’s attorney fees. He does have use of the NFLPA’s attorneys, but elected to hire his own. Next time you want to make a childish comment, DON’T until you actually know what you are talking about. Clearly, you do not.

  18. chi01town says: Jul 2, 2012 10:13 PM

    The Saints got what they deserved because they were trying to hurt other players…that said .. Goodell has to go because he is detroying the game.. Hes making it so playing defense is a penalty an a fine, THIS IS FOOTBALL an every player out there knows its rough out there. WRs going across the middle with nothing to worry about..please. an defenses cant touch a QB under no circomstances, at least thats how it looks. Goodell wants to take away the kicking game.. The pro bowl.. He is out to close down the game

  19. chi01town says: Jul 2, 2012 11:35 PM

    The real problem is Goodell who has taking it apon him self to destroy the NFL, WE KNOW the Saints was playing dirty.. an they got what they deserved but Goodell is making defense a penalty an he wants to end the kicking game an do away with the pro bowl all together, .. Goodell is dangerous to the game an the NFLPA needs to go after him now before its too late

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