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Possible Vilma reduction has no relevance to Payton’s suspension

Sean Payton AP

The back-and-forth regarding the question of whether the NFL offered or hinted or suggested that the suspension of linebacker Jonathan Vilma would be cut from 16 games to eight has subsided, but the impression remains that the league is willing to do something to resolve the lawsuits that Vilma has filed in response to his penalty.

And that has caused several of you to raise a very good point.  If the league is going to cut Vilma’s one-year suspension in half, why not coach Sean Payton’s, too?

The difference is that Vilma has leverage.  Unlike Payton, who accepted his penalty after pursuing the internal appeal process, Vilma filed a lawsuit challenging the outcome of the in-house arbitration outcome.

Payton could have filed suit.  He could have argued that he and every other coach has been forced to sign what the law calls a “contract of adhesion,” a take-it-or-leave it document that contains an oppressive arbitration clause giving the NFL full power to preside over the supposedly impartial resolution of any appeals of discipline imposed by the NFL.  But Payton likely realized the connection between taking his lumps and continuing to be employed by a professional football league that begins with “N” and not “C” or “U” or “L”.

If the coaches had a union and not simply an association, they’d have a greater layer of cover for situations like this.  But the coaches don’t have a union, largely because none of them wants to give up their careers for the sake of the greater good.

Despite the fact that Payton doesn’t have the leverage to force a reduction, there’s speculation in some league circles that Payton could unexpectedly be reinstated in the second half of the season.  That chatter came primarily from Payton’s silence in the wake of the flawed bounty evidence that the league has leaked and/or unveiled.  The thinking is that Payton believes he could be allowed to return at some point late in the year, and that Payton has decided to bite his tongue in the hopes that the league office will extend the kind of gesture that in turn will make it a little easier for league officials to spend the week before the Super Bowl in and around New Orleans.

Still, any reduction in the suspension given to Vilma or any other player will prompt cries of “What about Sean?” from plenty of Saints fans, and the league needs to be prepared to explain the difference if/when that ever happens.  Or to provide a similar reduction to Payton.

Despite the existence of very good reasons for the difference in the way the player and coach suspensions are being handled, the casual fan will have a hard time accepting them.

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13 Responses to “Possible Vilma reduction has no relevance to Payton’s suspension”
  1. sj39 says: Aug 8, 2012 8:12 AM

    There will be no reduction. The NFL will not hand over any proof to anyone it is not required to. Most of us are sick of this story. Move on already.

  2. txxxchief says: Aug 8, 2012 8:23 AM

    I certainly would not assume that forming a union always serves the “greater good.”

  3. yourignorancespreads says: Aug 8, 2012 8:31 AM

    Bunch of haters you guys are let’s see Lethe evidence. Anyone can say that someone did something but if that were you up there in front of the media and someone slandered your name I bet you would be trying to save your name. Especially if you didn’t do anything wrong and they have no EVIdence against you. So stop acting like these players did something wrong cause you know about a much as everyone else does and that’s nothing cause they haven’t showed us proof or don’t have any

  4. yourignorancespreads says: Aug 8, 2012 8:35 AM

    Oh and Vilma will get a reduction but if I’m him if it’s not 4 games, then I would refuse it and continue on suing GOODELL actually even if it is reduced I still might sue unless he apologizes for taking wrong action in this bogus bounty case

  5. bbp404 says: Aug 8, 2012 8:43 AM

    I think the NIL made a decision in haste and now are going to pay the price in court the evidence that they were intentionally hurting players for money is ludicrous.They may have gotten paid for legal hard make your mommy say not my baby hits and if that’s the case everyone in the has a bounty program

  6. larryjames836 says: Aug 8, 2012 8:48 AM

    Yes the NFL will need to hand over proof of the case this is a Federal Court. The NFL not that powerful I hope Vilma don’t take the NFL reduction make the Federal Court pull the evidences we know everybody is tried of hearing about this. The truth need to be told and thank its fair to the Saints fans the NFL hiding something and it need to come to the light.

  7. purplegreenandgold says: Aug 8, 2012 9:12 AM

    there are alot of different comments I could make at this point about this article…but I’ll keep it brief. Thank You Mike Florio in reacquainting the audience on WHY the coach(sean payton) upon losing his appeal accepted his punishment. “Not like a man”…”Not to gain anyones respect”…”Because he knew he was guilty”…but because he had no leverage after the appeals process if he wanted to coach in the NFL again however, the bloggers are right about one thing…RG did tell him after the appeals process ” shut up and go away”

  8. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Aug 8, 2012 10:31 AM

    two main differences between payton and vilma.

    first, coaches have a much longer career life. payton’s been coaching since 1988, in the nfl since 1997 with a long career horizon. a year of a player’s career is much more of a penalty. vilma was 6 in 1988 and after 8 seasons at linebacker, has a very limited window in his career. Also, the concept that soldiers shouldn’t pay a heavier penalty than the generals…

    secondly, the league called payton and loomis in on the issue a year earlier, with instructions to eliminate the system. this is what they are being hammered for. to my knowledge, vilma wasn’t part of that process.

    and to the management tool denigrating unions, i would point out that america was functioning much better before big business bought the country and allowed itself the right to pay non-living wages and import illegal aliens (without consequence to the corporation) to man the jobs so distasteful and difficult that american workers would demand to be paid more than minimum wage to do.

  9. rhodeislandpatriotsfan says: Aug 8, 2012 10:55 AM

    Some say that the NFL is a “copycat” league. Rest assured, if Roger Goodell substantially reduces Vilma’s suspension WITHOUT securing any admission by Vilma, then not only can Vilma justifiably declare victory, but future players who are similarly disciplined will have a blueprint on how to legally—and effectively—attack the Commissioner. And Vilma will go down in NFL player folklore as the “David” who beat “Goliath.”

  10. thomda13 says: Aug 8, 2012 10:57 AM

    This entire thing had grown tiresome. Its become another case of “judge not what I did but what you can prove.” The whole thing sickens me. I can’t wait for the season to start so we can leave this crap behind.

  11. musicman495 says: Aug 8, 2012 11:08 AM

    All those who come on this forum daily to say they are tired of this story have our permission to stop reading and commenting on it five times per day.

  12. bobnelsonjr says: Aug 8, 2012 11:16 AM

    There is a sort of unwritten policy that if you don’t continue to embarrass the league, the league is more forgiving.

    The other reason to be quiet when in “exile” is that he can spin the story how he wants AFTER his return. Much can happen between now and then. Nothing he can say will be helpful to anyone until then.

    Plus as a man of authority, he has to respect authority to keep his integrity.

    Time off for good behavior is a good policy.

  13. pobreezy says: Aug 8, 2012 1:04 PM

    To everyone who feels the need post on these forums “get over it vilma! We’re tired of hearing about this!”, trust me when I say I feel the same way about your comments. If you don’t want to read about Jon vilma’s court case, please, don’t click on the article about Jon vilma’s court case.

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