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New lawsuit filed attacking bounty suspensions

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Phase Two” is now rolling.

As expected, the NFLPA filed on Thursday morning a federal lawsuit on behalf of Saints defensive end Will Smith, Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita attacking their suspensions for alleged involvement in the New Orleans bounty scandal.

Also as expected, the lawsuit takes aim primarily at Commissioner Roger Goodell’s alleged failure to serve as an impartial arbitrator.

The new lawsuit doesn’t include claims on behalf of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma.  He already has filed his own action attacking his suspension.  (And, presumably, the NFLPA will try to get the new case consolidated with Vilma’s, in the hopes of getting Judge Helen G. Berrigan assigned to the case.)

The first skirmish will entail a StarCaps-style effort to block all suspensions until the litigation has concluded.  Then, the case will turn to the question of whether the outcome of the arbitration should be respected, or overturn.

Thus, anyone who thought that the situation would end with Goodell’s ruling, think again.

And anyone in the media who thinks that this has all become tired or boring or uninteresting, either you’re not paying attention or you’re pushing an agenda (subtly or otherwise) that entails not criticizing the league’s internal process or not getting to the truth, whatever the truth may be.

That’s all we want, the truth.  Was there a bounty on Brett Favre in the NFC title game, or wasn’t there?  Was there a bounty system, or was it a pay-for-performance process that paid players a little extra to do that which they already were paid to do — apply hard, clean, legal hits in a manner that makes an opponent unavailable to return to the game.

The NFL necessarily has concealed the truth, under the guise of protecting the person who blew the whistle on the situation.  If that person is Mike Cerullo (as Vilma claims), there’s no longer any need to protect him.

So here’s hoping we finally get to the truth.

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28 Responses to “New lawsuit filed attacking bounty suspensions”
  1. joetoronto says: Jul 5, 2012 10:11 AM

    Saints Fans:

    Listen up, get ready for decades of bad calls and outright ripoffs coming your way.

    As a decades long Raider fan, I know, BELIEVE ME, I do.

  2. jrmbadger says: Jul 5, 2012 10:17 AM

    I was one of the people who initially thought the NFL had the Saints dead to rights….. until Goodell opened his mouth and began inserting his foot. Now I’m not so sure.

    Time and time again, he produced evidence that was later refuted, and by all accounts this investigation seems to have been managed by Barney Fife. Lots of jumping to conclusions going on.

    This is the kind of overreaching and abuse of power that might just get Goodell fired.

  3. norseyapper says: Jul 5, 2012 10:17 AM

    TRUTH—You don’t want the TRUTH—You can’t handle the TRUTH!! Col. Jepsen

    The Starcaps reference is meaningful in that just as that nonsense drug on and on until no one really cared anymore this has the same look and stench to it.
    What a sad commentary for our legal system that success or failure of a legal complaint so often comes down to the political leanings of the judge rather than the substance of the case.
    Judge Dotey anyone?

  4. truthfactory says: Jul 5, 2012 10:19 AM

    The NFL necessarily has concealed the truth, under the guise of protecting the person who blew the whistle on the situation. If that person is Mike Cerullo (as Vilma claims), there’s no longer any need to protect him.
    ———-

    Even if it is Cerullo, that doesnt mean the league has to come out and verify or deny the claim. If that was the case, the saints players can just go down a list of potential rats and keep waiting for the league to confirm or deny each one. It shouldnt work like that.

    Secondly, you are speaking under the assumption there was only 1 “rat”. While Cerullo himself might have had an axe to grind, it is very possible that another player/ coach also admitted to the bounty system. Then if you take multiple cinfessions, plus the Greg Williams audio, plus the powerpoint slides showing dog the bounty hunter, plus the audio of a player saying “pay me my money” after a Favre injury, I think a reasonable and neutral person would conclude there was a bounty… Especially when the accused refuse to come in to defend themselves…

  5. jetblackninja says: Jul 5, 2012 10:20 AM

    Williams, Payton, Loomis…. all of them copped to it. The players can cry and lie all they want, but your coaches and management already pleaded guilty, and threw you under the bus in doing so.

  6. truthfactory says: Jul 5, 2012 10:21 AM

    joetoronto says: Jul 5, 2012 10:11 AM

    Saints Fans:

    Listen up, get ready for decades of bad calls and outright ripoffs coming your way.

    As a decades long Raider fan, I know, BELIEVE ME, I do.
    —————–

    Yea, because if it weren’t for those blown calls, all those 3-13 seasons could have been 5-11 seasons! Damn the NFL!!!!

  7. eagleswin says: Jul 5, 2012 10:21 AM

    So here’s hoping we finally get to the truth.

    ——————————————

    I’m really thinking that the whole truth isn’t something that is really at the top of your list.

    While we have heard plenty of soundbytes from Brees attacking the NFL posted ad nauseum on here, I have yet to hear you or anyone ask Brees what he was doing trying to blame the coaches (per Pamphillon) for the bounty mess while simultaneously denying any knowledge of it?

    How about Vilma’s lawyer being suspended from practicing in FLA for being unethical and making up facts?

  8. cwwgk says: Jul 5, 2012 10:34 AM

    The court’s initial inquiry won’t consist of such an in-depth fact finding analysis. It’s job will be to determine whether Goodell’s decision was made consistent with the procedures in the CBA. If a judge finds that Goodell followed the procedures then the players will have failed to meet their burden as the moving parties in the litigation. The players agreed to the procedures so if Goodell followed them the players can’t legitimately claim Goodell wasn’t impartial.

    Only if the players meet their initial (and substantial) burden will the court move on and review the evidence at issue.

  9. dequan81 says: Jul 5, 2012 10:35 AM

    And anyone in the media who thinks that this has all become tired or boring or uninteresting, either you’re not paying attention or you’re pushing an agenda (subtly or otherwise)
    —————————————————

    It is uninteresting and boring. It’s gotten tired. I think we all need Training Camp and preseason to start ASAP.

  10. calv23 says: Jul 5, 2012 10:37 AM

    To the many people who think they’re pointing out some inconsistency in Brees’ knowledge of the bounty program, and his alleged involvement in an effort to use the audio speech to pin it on Gregg Williams—look at the timeline.

    The coaches suspensions were announced in early March. The alleged conversations btwn Brees, Fujita, and Pamphilon happened in April, long after “bountygate” hit the airwaves.

  11. crubenst says: Jul 5, 2012 10:38 AM

    “Was there a bounty system, or was it a pay-for-performance process that paid players a little extra to do that which they already were paid to do — apply hard, clean, legal hits in a manner that makes an opponent unavailable to return to the game.”

    ______________________________

    I’m not sure why you keep trying to make this distinction. Both are illegal and the league can’t have either of these things. The Saints were told to stop both and refused, lied and stonewalled. Very simple. Case closed. Suspended at least until you come in and try to defend yourself.

  12. daknight93 says: Jul 5, 2012 10:52 AM

    this is so sad and just embarrassing that this drama continues and fighting keeps going on…NFL and NFLPA act like childish kids and this entire process will leave bitter feelings if one side loses…I’m disgusted with both sides in this bounty scandal.

  13. rajbais says: Jul 5, 2012 10:55 AM

    Roger, please reverse the rulings!!! No one cares if you act wishy washy!!!

    You let the players have some concessions that you and the owners wanted during CBA talks, but no one else cared after that.

    Why? It’s because games were being played!!! They help us forget about crap that frustrates us and it really helps when the teams win!!!!

    Admit your mistakes, take it like a man, and get ready for some football because we have had ENOUGH courthouse football!!!

  14. demo1984 says: Jul 5, 2012 10:59 AM

    The way it sounds to me is these players are as guilty as Charlie Manson was. Goodell in his letter denying the appeals stated that NONE of the players involved presented one wittness on thier behalf, NONE of the players provided a single shred of evidence on their behalf, and the lawyers from all lawyers did not present anything on the players behalf except that they felt the commisioner did not halve the authority to hand out these penalties even though two outside arbitrators agreed that he does according to the CBA.
    These guys know they are screwed so they are going the starcaps way and are going to keep delaying and delaying. Vilma did not even show up for his appeal so is he surprised his appeal got denied ???????? It is a good thing athletes are just that athletic because most of them are idiots.

  15. rhodeislandpatriotsfan says: Jul 5, 2012 11:17 AM

    To their credit, Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL can see past this game of semantics regarding “pay-for-performance” vs. “bounty.” Setting aside the question of whether the league has proven its case against the accused Saints, let’s discuss this strictly from a definitional standpoint—in the abstract. In my opinion, any “pay-for-performance” program that has rewards for “knockouts’ or “cart-offs” should be viewed as a “bounty” program. The terms “knockout” and “cart-off” (unlike the term “whack,” for example) imply that an injury has resulted, as the player is unable to leave the field on his own. It doesn’t matter whether such hits result in a player being out for one play, one series, one game, one season, or an entire career. It doesn’t matter whether such hits are even legal or illegal, even though most are probably illegal (e.g., unnecessary roughness, roughing the passer, etc.). An “intent to injure” may be reasonably inferred because to get the reward for a “knockout” or “cart-off,” the player who is aware of the award must necessarily injure his target. Bottom line: Any “pay-for-performance” program that rewards “knockouts” or “cart-offs” should NOT be a part of American football.

  16. redman6ft4 says: Jul 5, 2012 11:27 AM

    For all of you believing Goodell, it’s funny as hell.

    Now Goodell has not provided one proof of evidence to the players that link them to the so called “BOUNTY” ( and if it was a pay performance then he would have to suspend everyone in the league cause all teans do it)

    How does one defend they self aganist false accusations?

    Everything the NFL has stated and provided has been lies, false documents, and statements.

    I do believe this needs to be settle in court now let the NFL prove their case, if it’s as strong as they claim it is then they should have no problem in winning, if not FIRED GOODELL for lying and providing false information…..remember they leaked what they wanted the media and world to know, before the players were informed….sounds fishy to me!!!

  17. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Jul 5, 2012 11:35 AM

    demo1984 says: The way it sounds to me is these players are as guilty as Charlie Manson was. Goodell in his letter denying the appeals stated that NONE of the players involved presented one wittness on thier behalf, NONE of the players provided a single shred of evidence on their behalf, and the lawyers from all lawyers did not present anything on the players behalf

    Serious question for anyone that agrees with this line of reasoning: what evidence do you have that YOU weren’t part of the bounty scandal?

    Because that’s the way it goes- the players can’t PROVE they weren’t part of something. It’s impossible.

    My dog didn’t run a street gang from 2008-2009 but I’d be hard pressed to demonstrate evidence that would conclusively prove he didn’t if he were accused.

  18. daknight93 says: Jul 5, 2012 11:58 AM

    Goodell says the players didn’t present witnesses to defend their case…the NFLPA requested coaches to appear in the process, but couldn’t because Godell placed a “gag” order on Williams and Payton preventing them from speaking and told them to cooperate if they wanted their jobs back in reinstatement process…Goodell is smart and he eliminated the coaches as potential witnesses along with protecting the whistleblower..impossible for players to have witnesses…Goodell manipulated the entire appeals process against the players.

  19. bucfandango says: Jul 5, 2012 12:22 PM

    I’m really sick of hearing about the Saints and all of their problems………. they brought on themselves.

    BTW, Roger Goodell isn’t going anywhere. The people that pay his salary are happy with his leadership and care little about a few whiny players. It won’t make much of difference in the games if these four players serve their suspensions or not. Really just tired of hearing about it and now we get 2 years of legal battles. I hope the judge refers back to the CBA and throws these cases out. What a joke and waste of tax payer resources and time.

  20. rockinron2 says: Jul 5, 2012 12:40 PM

    Was there a bounty system, or was it a pay-for-performance process that paid players a little extra to do that which they already were paid to do — apply hard, clean, legal hits in a manner that makes an opponent unavailable to return to the game.

    ——–

    Pay for performance “legal big hits” or turnovers is one thing. Paying extra to take someout out “unavailable to return to the game” is a “bounty” on top of pay for performance. Call it what you want, it is paying money to get an opponent out of the game.

    Once you get past that link, there aren’t many options to get the opponent out of the game. I don’t think tying their shoes together or calling their mommas names will do it. You either need the coach to bench them for bad play (such as multiple turnovers) or injure them.

  21. jelliot1978 says: Jul 5, 2012 12:47 PM

    ‘And anyone in the media who thinks that this has all become tired or boring or uninteresting, either you’re not paying attention or you’re pushing an agenda (subtly or otherwise) that entails not criticizing the league’s internal process or not getting to the truth, whatever the truth may be.’
    The problem with that way of thinking is that you can become immune, disinterested and a great many other things when something is over saturated. That doesn’t mean you have a hidden agenda ro you don’t want the truth. Maybe, just maybe you want to stop hearing about it until there is something more of substance to go on. The league, to your dismay, is not required to release anything to you, me or anyone. Sure, maybe if Congress gets involved, or if a court deems it is required then the league may need to release its information. Guess what though, it still does not have to be made public. The NFL is a business that along with the players Union agreed to a certain set of processes.

    See there is a problem with the media of today in that they are more interested in reporting anything that they do not get all the facts. When information is released in bits and pieces instead of having all of the facts released at once people will be lead to false conclusions. The Trayvon Williams case is an example of this. A tragedy occurred and that is what the media HAD to get out, but the little details were left out. There was outrage that the police didn’t do their job, but now it appears they did as Zimmerman was questioned and charges were recommended to be filed.

  22. bearnmind says: Jul 5, 2012 12:57 PM

    If the Saints had a pay for performance which I think we can all agree they did then some punishment is warranted. However Villa was suspended for putting 10k into a “bounty” to injure Farve which has not even remotely been proven. It stretches the imagination to believe that these players deserve the harsh penalties they received for a pay for performance program which most teams have in some form. Gooddell cant have it both ways. He repeatedly stated there was a pay to injure but only proved a pay for performance. The coaches admitted to a pay for performance never a pay to injure. The severity of the penalties for both the coaches was based on Gooddell’s public statements of a pay to injure. No wonder this is such a mess and such a black eye for the NFL.

  23. bigbadal21 says: Jul 5, 2012 2:43 PM

    author says:
    That’s all we want, the truth. Was there a bounty on Brett Favre in the NFC title game, or wasn’t there? Was there a bounty system, or was it a pay-for-performance process that paid players a little extra to do that which they already were paid to do — apply hard, clean, legal hits in a manner that makes an opponent unavailable to return to the game.

    Here is where you are wrong. To pay someone “extra” to knock a player out of the game whether it was a legal hit or not is a “bounty”

  24. wfmulder says: Jul 5, 2012 3:07 PM

    rockinron2 says:
    Jul 5, 2012 12:40 PM
    Was there a bounty system, or was it a pay-for-performance process that paid players a little extra to do that which they already were paid to do — apply hard, clean, legal hits in a manner that makes an opponent unavailable to return to the game.

    ——–

    Pay for performance “legal big hits” or turnovers is one thing. Paying extra to take someout out “unavailable to return to the game” is a “bounty” on top of pay for performance. Call it what you want, it is paying money to get an opponent out of the game.

    Once you get past that link, there aren’t many options to get the opponent out of the game. I don’t think tying their shoes together or calling their mommas names will do it. You either need the coach to bench them for bad play (such as multiple turnovers) or injure them.
    ___________________________________

    There’s a whole lot of stupid on these boards, daily. I read most of the comments and I am left in utter awe at people and how they perceive things. Take the above statement. The majority of you know that this is football, correct? Football, when broken down, is pure violence. All the time. Do you understand that? All. The. Time. Every play there is hitting EVERYWHERE. Everyone on that field, on EVERY PLAY, is hitting something else. Now take the above statement and actually read it…..these guys are ALREADY GETTING PAID TO HIT SOMEONE AS HARD AS THEY CAN. ” Call it what you want, it’s paying money to get an opponent out of the game.” Well, d’uh. Uhm, not quite sure if you understand the concept of football or the intensity it takes to play at that level. They get paid, MILLIONS of DOLLARS, to do THAT EXACT THING. Ask ANY defensive player and they will all tell you, if I can hit a guy as hard as I can, within the boundries of legal hits, and he happens to get hurt, even better. My God I am in AWE of the majority of you on here. What do you think football is? Really, they’re not out here playing lawn darts. I suppose they should start stopping before they hit someone and ask them how hard they want to be hit.

    As for the bounty, what a farce, but people will have their opinions on things, that’s how it is, whether right or wrong (myself included). There was, imo, no bounty, no solid proof of a bounty, just the NFL’s version of it. The same NFL who is currently being sued by over a 1000 former players because the NFL, in all it’s glory, decided that they didn’t need to inform the players of the dangers of concussions, the same league we’re now supposed to believe did this by the book. I implore you people to start reading instead of posting then walking away. Educate yourselves.

    Oh, by the way folks, when I played football and we knew that the stud on the other side had a weak link (bad knee, bad ankle, shoulder injury etc) we made him work. See if that ankle is good, if that knee can stand the plant , cut, hit. See if that shoulder can take a pounding. Don’t believe me, go back and watch the Giants / Cowboys game from 1994, when Emmitt had his separated shoulder. Watch how many guys target that shoulder EVERY time they hit him. It’s a tough game folks, if you dont like it, turn the channel.

  25. rabidmike says: Jul 5, 2012 3:08 PM

    The reason we find this “tired” or “boring” is because the big picture has be lost. There is no difference between a “bounty” program and a “pay for performance” progam when one remembers that legal hits knock people out of games too. Ask Kurt Warner about that. The rules were allegedly violated and when they got caught they said nothing (smart) or lied (stupid). The presumptiin of innocennce and the burden of proof here is not of the same level as a criminal proceeding. Everyone would do well to remember that.

  26. richc111 says: Jul 5, 2012 4:04 PM

    The NFL leads all major sports in law suits. I think it is just the beginning. The end of Major League Sports will come at the hands of all the upstanding righteous Lawyers who will bring these sports to their knees. (at a Profit of course)

  27. 3octaveFart says: Jul 5, 2012 4:09 PM

    butthatmakestoomuchsense says:
    Jul 5, 2012 11:35 AM
    “..Because that’s the way it goes- the players can’t PROVE they weren’t part of something. It’s impossible…”

    And besides, last time I checked this was still America, where they have to prove your guilt, you are not required to prove your innocence…

    /which is what rattles me to no end when every time I hear the lemming squeal “well, if you have nothing to hide…”

  28. psousa1 says: Jul 5, 2012 4:10 PM

    I’m glad he comes down hard on issues. Read ‘Pros and Cons’. It was a friggin lawless league up through the 1990’s.

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