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No settlement coming between Vilma, NFL

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To no surprise, the NFL and Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma won’t be resolving their differences before returning to court on Friday.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that there will be no deal.

The dueling reports as to whether the league offered to reduce Vilma’s suspension from 16 games to eight, which prompted the NFL to issue a statement denying that an offer was made and Vilma’s lawyer to file a document in court blasting the NFL for leaking the alleged offer, likely have created an environment in which it would be hard for the parties to agree on what time it is.

Friday’s hearing primarily will focus on two pending issues:  (1) Vilma’s request that his suspension be lifted while the litigation is pending; and (2) the NFL’s effort to secure a dismissal of the lawsuit filed on behalf of the three players whose suspensions will begin after the final preseason game (Saints defensive end Will Smith, Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita).

At a minimum, Judge Helen G. Berrigan is expected to rule on whether Vilma will be able to return to practice and preseason games while she ponders a final decision.  There’s a chance that she’ll drop the gavel and rule on the question of whether all suspensions must be served.

Regardless of the outcome, this thing is heading to a federal appeals court.  Which means that it will be hanging around, perhaps for as long as it already has been.  If not longer.

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42 Responses to “No settlement coming between Vilma, NFL”
  1. mdd913 says: Aug 9, 2012 9:55 AM

    Judge already called the NFL’s premise “borderline ridiculous”. Vilma is going to win this.

  2. bucrightoff says: Aug 9, 2012 9:56 AM

    I think Vilma’s people leaked the initial report in an attempt to get the NFL to blink. Obviously it didn’t work, and now we get to the fun part.

    Vilma has millions of dollars on the line right now, and if he’s suspended for the year, who’s gonna be interested in him after that? Even before the bounty scandal he was on the downside of his career. He has a big chunk of change on the line here, so I expect him to fight tooth and nail to avoid the suspension.

  3. chatham10 says: Aug 9, 2012 9:57 AM

    Who knows that the leak came from the NFL? It could have come from Vilma’s Lawyers, keep in mind it is lawyers that are talking.

  4. cappa662 says: Aug 9, 2012 10:02 AM

    It came from ESPN, what else did you expect? Earlier this year, they said Dwight Howard was traded. He has yet to be traded.

  5. eagleswin says: Aug 9, 2012 10:07 AM

    Again, I wonder why they bother to have rules regarding the settlement of disputes in the CBA. Everytime the league rules against the players in accordance to the CBA, it’s off to court.

  6. electionconfidential says: Aug 9, 2012 10:12 AM

    What happens if the courts overturn Vilma’s suspension after he’s already missed a regular season game? Would the Saints have to pay him for a game in which they were FORCED by the league not to use him?

  7. jetblackninja says: Aug 9, 2012 10:22 AM

    Seriously, how can he even sue… isn’t this all covered under the CBA?

  8. skoobyfl says: Aug 9, 2012 10:28 AM

    The best question here is how one player’s outcome in court can determine the future decisions of thousands of players. If court room decisions can effectively negate the decisions of the NFL commissioner, they will come into play much more often.

    Basically speaking, whatever a Federal court judge decides will initially override whatever decision has been made by the NFL. This sets a precedence for the future.

    Goodluck to Vilma, your tackling hard of opponents is your job regardless of how you get compensated. If they wanted you to use feathers, they’d hire a bird.

  9. sj39 says: Aug 9, 2012 10:32 AM

    He may have played his last NFL game.

  10. thejuddstir says: Aug 9, 2012 10:32 AM

    We all know how this is going to play out so let’s not make “judge judy” into anything more than what she is……a hometown judge who is going to rule in favor of vilma so that she doesn’t feel the wrath of saints* fans and can continue to be re-elected to her cushy job. She knows how the Federal Appeals Court will rule so she is really just delaying the inevitable because she prefers to be the coward and pander to the fans instead of doing her job which is to enforce the laws and in this case the “law” is the CBA which gives the NFL and Goodell the exclusive right to rule as they did. We have seen it with the Starcaps case and others……the CBA will trump any personal interpretation that “judge judy” wants to try and apply to this situation.

  11. robf2010 says: Aug 9, 2012 10:33 AM

    Vilma has no reason to settle. He’s not ready to play. The sooner he comes back, the sooner he’ll be released. His lawyer is probably working on a small retainer and a large contingency. Costing him almost nothing to go for the win and I’m starting to think he has a chance at it.

  12. geauxjay says: Aug 9, 2012 10:39 AM

    Just because there isn’t a deal doesn’t mean that one wasn’t offered.

  13. dleboeuf84 says: Aug 9, 2012 10:41 AM

    FACTs:

    The Saints ran pay for performance program for big plays, turnovers, and big legal hits that required the opposing player to leave the field for a period of 3 years. This program is similar to other alleged programs instituted throughout the NFL.

    There has been no evidence provided by the NFL showing that there was ever a cash “bounty” put on the head of any opposing player by any coach or player. In fact, the NFL had to retract an earlier statement about Joe Vitt for his alleged inclusion on a “ledger” for a 5,000$ award for knocking Brett Favre out of the NFCCG, which eventually proved false.

    7 current/former members of the Saints, under oath, testified that there was never any “bounty” put in place in order to purposely injure an opposing player. The judge stated that such severe punishments for “spoken word” and “tough talk” in locker/meeting rooms, and not for something tangibly taking place on the playing field (the Saints did not have significantly more personal foul penalties than any other NFL team), is “borderline ridiculous” and “slicing the salami awfully thin.”

    The players are contending that Goodell’s reckless abuse of power is a violation of the CBA.

    This injunction will allow other players/coaches involved in the “bounty” scheme to ask for similar injunctions for their suspensions.

    OPINION:

    That ginger Goodell is in way over his head. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. This has become a PR nightmare for the league.

  14. geauxjay says: Aug 9, 2012 10:42 AM

    And…people who steadfastly maintain their innocence and sue the liar for defamation aren’t making deals, and they sure as Hell wouldn’t offer one.

  15. dkalev says: Aug 9, 2012 11:05 AM

    I don’t care if Vilma is innocent or not… I don’t want him to win the case for the sole reason being that this lawsuit would enable all to circumvent the CBA in court, which is entirely unfair, as it defeats the point of the CBA… the players signed their power away for more money, and now while having more money they use the courts to regain power? hell, he should be banned just for that

  16. jgedgar70 says: Aug 9, 2012 11:18 AM

    OK, all you New Orleans Satan fans, what is your argument that the audio of Gregg Williams repeatedly instructing his players to go for Alex Smith’s head is not a bounty?

    Your team, for at least the last 4 seasons, has a a verbally stated goal of injuring opponents. I don’t care if there wasn’t a dime offered for doing so or not, there is still no place in a civilized society for any authority figure to verbally instruct his subordinates to injure people employed by a competitor. The entire franchise deserves to be folded and the guilty parties banned from the NFL for life.

  17. musicman495 says: Aug 9, 2012 11:21 AM

    Gee, where are all the experts who are convinced that Vilma was guilty and lying, and would take whatever bone the NFL threw to him?

    My guess is Judge Berrigan will grant the Temp Restraining Order, and Roger will start sweating big time.

  18. geefan1 says: Aug 9, 2012 11:30 AM

    dleboeuf84 says:
    Aug 9, 2012 10:41 AM
    FACTs:

    The Saints ran pay for performance program for big plays, turnovers, and big legal hits that required the opposing player to leave the field for a period of 3 years. This program is similar to other alleged programs instituted throughout the NFL.

    ______

    Pay for performance is against league rules and if there was pay for perfomance tied to injury that is the definition of a bounty. So if these are the FACTs, he’s guilty as sin.

  19. mrpilsner says: Aug 9, 2012 11:33 AM

    Really?

    What makes any of you think that a 30 year old journeyman linebacker is any less toasted than his head coach?

    This team broke League rules. They cheated.

    The League isn’ t the bad guy here and the animus shown the Commissioner is small-minded .

  20. brenenostler says: Aug 9, 2012 11:37 AM

    As John Clayton put it, Vilma would have taken the suspension-reduced-by-half offer “in a heartbeat” if it had been offered to him. So I sincerely doubt it was offered to him.

    The only uneasy part about the report was that, according to Florio, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen both reported that the league had made the offer. I’m not one to side with the media, but Schefter is the one guy that’s almost never wrong.

  21. goodolebaghead says: Aug 9, 2012 11:47 AM

    “OK, all you New Orleans Satan fans, what is your argument that the audio of Gregg Williams repeatedly instructing his players to go for Alex Smith’s head is not a bounty?”
    ***************************************

    You obviously never played football, especially not for a defense. Go for the head, so the body will die is a metaphor about a snake. My coaches always preached kill the head, which meant go after (legally) any player that will cause the team to suck if they are out of the game, physically or mentally. My little league coaches preached for me to “Rip their heads off and s^%t down their throats.” If I hit a QB and he got up holding his ribs, my coach specifically preached for me to aim for his ribs on the next hit. Make it legal, but make it hurt. KNOCK THEM OUT OF THE GAME. On top of that, you don’t even hear the players cheering him on like you would any other defensive meeting. I’m tired of people who don’t have any experience with defensive football culture spouting their opinions. Right now, somewhere in America, some coach is telling some boy to go for the head, crush your opponent, break him. Right now. All of that is obviously expected to be legal hits because the fine/penalty isn’t worth it to do it any other way.

  22. silentcount says: Aug 9, 2012 11:55 AM

    Technically, the CBA gives Goodell the power to do things that are illegal. If he chooses to do so, it’s not the CBA he has to answer to. It’s a federal judge who determines if he violated the rules of fair play. There are many who have sworn under oath that Vilma did not do what Goodell accused him of. Goodell has still yet to show clear and valid proof that any of the players or coaches deserved to be suspended. Therefore, Goodell is wrong to punish them in the way he did. He’s not to be trusted and from here on out everything he does needs to be with the approval of a higher authority.

  23. geniusfan says: Aug 9, 2012 12:02 PM

    Can any Saints fan explain this to me. If there wasn’t any bounty program why did Sean Payton and Greg Williams say that there WAS a bounty program did they make it up to get themselves suspended?

    The delusion here is incredible your team broke the rules your team got caught you can bash Goodell and the NFL all you want but Sean Payton and Greg Williams said it happened ignore those FACTS all you want but that’s all the evidence that’s needed.

  24. daknight93 says: Aug 9, 2012 12:03 PM

    Bottom line is Gregg Williams audio of disgusting language doesn’t mean he was guilty of having a bounty program…this kind of language goes on in football and the players don’t have a problem with it cause they are GROWN MEN PEOPLE…NOT KIDS! players are not gonna go out and injure there fellow opponents…just insane and ridiculous for Goodell to believe a player would take cash to inflict injury to another player…just senseless and shows Goodell doesn’t have a relationship with the players..sure, pay for performance is salary cap violation, but this is widespread in NFL…using their own money in a pool of a few guys rewarding for clean legal hits, sacks, ints etc…Goodell making something minor and creating unnecessary huge drama which is making himself and league look bad..just sad

  25. pobreezy says: Aug 9, 2012 12:14 PM

    Ok, which is it ya’ll? Is it intend to injure or inadvertently injure? We have all agreed at this point that the system they ran paid players for unintentionally injuring players with legal hits as well as int, sacks, big hits, forced fumbles, etc… We have also heard many teams have done this from high school to NFL in the form of incentives such as stickers, dinners, money and even just high fives. For the consensus to be this is the same crime as paying to take out a specific player by illegal hits (which has been the narrative til now) for large amounts of money is ridiculous.
    This is NOT the same thing and as I have said before, the only way someone can still be as hateful towards the saints as they have been is if they do not know the facts, or they were looking for reasons to hate the saints before this case even came up.

  26. bigball1 says: Aug 9, 2012 12:20 PM

    GET IT TO COURT…..
    Anybody that does not think this issue was handled in a heavyhanded terrible manner is just not paying attention.
    Please! Just show your evidence, PROVE you deserve to take a full year of a man’s finite career away. How can ANYBODY at any job feel they would not fight to the finish if treated in the same manner? 50,000 pages….give me a break! The NFL infers by that as if they have 50K pages of evidence that proves something. In reality they looked at 50,000 pages and we all saw what they produced. Get to court….prove your case. The ones most trying to GET to court are the one’s that want the TRUTH exposed.
    The one that does NOT want to get to court is the one who is keeping everything in the dark and saying “Just Trust Me!”
    Sorry, you gatta have more than that!

  27. goodolebaghead says: Aug 9, 2012 12:25 PM

    Can any Saints fan explain this to me. If there wasn’t any bounty program why did Sean Payton and Greg Williams say that there WAS a bounty program did they make it up to get themselves suspended?
    *************************************
    Every week one of you comes in here and says this. And every week, someone has to inform you that GWilliams never admitted to anything. He signed a blank piece of paper, and the NFL wrote what they wanted. Sean admitted to pay-for-performance, pay for legal plays. Roger told them they would never coach in the NFL again if they said anything against him.

  28. pobreezy says: Aug 9, 2012 12:33 PM

    And to geniusfan, Sean Payton and Gregg Williams never admitted to pay to injure. They said pay for performance. The apology that you and many others like to quote was written by the NFL and signed by the coaches and it stated very clearly that it is illegal for coaches to run a pay for PERFORMANCE system. That’s it. This is pretty well documented at this point. Might I suggest you change your user name to something more fitting to your quest for knowledge.

  29. redman6ft4 says: Aug 9, 2012 12:40 PM

    @ geniusfan:

    Greg nor Sean admitted to any such violation, ur just like the media u print what GoodASS and his team put out…

    Here is a portion of the CBA where GoodASS has violated all the players involved rights

    Contrary to the NFL’s misdirection, the NFLPA’s “essence of the agreement” claim is actually based on the Commissioner’s total disregard for explicit CBA provisions. The CBA expressly prohibits suspensions of players for undisclosed, pay-for-performance agreements,4 and expressly requires disclosure of all exhibits the Commissioner relies upon in any arbitration he conducts. (CBA, Art. 14, § 6(a), (c); id. Art. 46, § 2(f)(ii).) Despite these clear CBA directives, the Commissioner defiantly imposed player suspensions for “pay-for- performance/bounty” agreements and refused to disclose the vast majority of the 18,000 documents or numerous witness statements he relied upon. As such, the Award should be vacated for the independent reason that it violates the essence of the CBA. (Point III.)”

    These are the FACT from the CBA!!!
    Beat that all you Saints haters!!!!!

  30. musicman495 says: Aug 9, 2012 12:40 PM

    geniusfan says: Aug 9, 2012 12:02 PM

    Can any Saints fan explain this to me. If there wasn’t any bounty program why did Sean Payton and Greg Williams say that there WAS a bounty program did they make it up to get themselves suspended?

    The delusion here is incredible your team broke the rules your team got caught you can bash Goodell and the NFL all you want but Sean Payton and Greg Williams said it happened ignore those FACTS all you want but that’s all the evidence that’s needed.
    —————————————
    For the 5000th time, please make an effort to read their statements. They never admitted to a “pay to injure” program, which is what a “bounty” is. They admitted to a “pay for performance” program, and hindering the NFL investigation – admissions which by themselves should not have resulted in the draconian suspensions they received. And even at that, their statements were coerced (under the threat of non-reinstatement) and later misrepresented by the league.

    Those who are saying “where is the evidence?” are not the ones “ignoring the facts.”

  31. CKL says: Aug 9, 2012 12:45 PM

    Lester Munson was worth a listen on Mike & Mike this morning on this topic. He said if Goodell has to give a deposition, he will HAVE to reveal his sources and Munson feels this is the thing that is making the NFL not want to go to court. Ginsburg called or emailed in to tell the audience that IF Goodell has evidence like what they were bantering about on the show (an eyewitness testimony that states they saw Vilma offering a bounty, whether it was his own money or not) that the NFL would have to have disclosed that already per the CBA.

    The plot thickens……

  32. cwmorga says: Aug 9, 2012 12:51 PM

    @thejuddstir says: Aug 9, 2012 10:32 AM

    We all know how this is going to play out so let’s not make “judge judy” into anything more than what she is……a hometown judge who is going to rule in favor of vilma so that she doesn’t feel the wrath of saints* fans and can continue to be re-elected to her cushy job.
    ————————

    Just thought I’d point out to you that federal judges are appointed by the President, not elected.

    Also, you seem to be under the impression that the NFLPA is attempting to circumvent the CBA. It’s the opposite. Their stance is that Goodell circumvented the provisions outlined in the CBA when he didn’t release all of the evidence he used in his investigation. See below:

    “The CBA expressly prohibits suspensions of players for undisclosed, pay-for-performance agreements,4 and expressly requires disclosure of all exhibits the Commissioner relies upon in any arbitration he conducts. (CBA, Art. 14, § 6(a), (c); id. Art. 46, § 2(f)(ii)”

    When Goodell publicly says he is withholding evidence used in his investigation, he’s admitting to circumventing the CBA.

  33. sfsaintsfan says: Aug 9, 2012 12:54 PM

    geniusfan says: Aug 9, 2012 12:02 PM

    “Can any Saints fan explain this to me. If there wasn’t any bounty program why did Sean Payton and Greg Williams say that there WAS a bounty program did they make it up to get themselves suspended?”

    **************************

    Genius, you are either dense or just can’t read. The Saints coaches and players have agreed that there was a “pay for performance” program, which the NFL calls a “bounty” program. These types of programs have been commonplace throughout the league. NO other team has ever been disciplined for such a program and no players or coaches have ever been suspended for such a program. That is the problem here. Goodell wanted some media outcry over something other than the 1,000+ concussion lawsuits and he found something.

    Do you know how to use google? If so, search for this genius:

    “Saints Pay for Performance Commonplace in the NFL”

    Then read the freakin story. It is on the NFL’s own website!

    My god, some of you people are just plain stupid.

  34. f4phantom9277 says: Aug 9, 2012 1:08 PM

    Helen Ginger Berrigan (born 1948) is a United States federal judge.

    Born in New Rochelle, New York, Berrigan received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1969, an M.A. from American University in 1971, and a J.D. from Louisiana State University Law School in 1977. She was a Staff attorney of Governor’s Pardon, Parole and Rehabilitation Commission from 1977 to 1978. She was in private practice in New Orleans, Louisiana from 1978 to 1994.

    On November 18, 1993, Berrigan was nominated by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana vacated by Patrick E. Carr. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 10, 1994, and received her commission the same day.

    So much for home town judge wanting re-election………appointed for life.

  35. sb44wrldchmpions says: Aug 9, 2012 1:12 PM

    The fact is, Vilma is suing because the league has suspended him for something he didn’t do. (or something they can’t prove he has done). You can’t convict someone of ANYTHING just because ONE person said you did it……period.

  36. cwwgk says: Aug 9, 2012 1:54 PM

    The Saints organization, Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton all ADMITTED the NFL’s allegations were true.

    On March 2, 2012, the league claimed:

    “Payments also were made for plays on which opposing players were injured. In addition, specific players were sometimes targeted. The investigation showed bounties being placed on four quarterbacks of opposing teams.”

    The Saints stated in response:

    “To our fans, the NFL and the rest of our league, we offer our sincere apology and take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for these serious violations.”

    Loomis and Payton stated:
    “We ACKNOWLEDGE that the violations disclosed by the NFL during their investigation of our club HAPPENED under our watch. We take FULL RESPONSIBILITY…”

    No qualifications or denials. The NFL alleged a bounty program. The organization, its GM and its head coach admitted the allegations happened.

    Amazing how so many won’t accept the words of the Saints’ hierarchy as true.

  37. tahoenflfan says: Aug 9, 2012 2:06 PM

    I think most of you are confused by the ‘release all evidence’ provision in the CBA.
    It does NOT say, release all evidence to THE PUBLIC.
    If Vilma or any of the others had BOTHERED to show for their hearings, they would have gotten to see ‘all the evidence’.
    Since they never bothered, they never got to see it.
    We, the public, are not even mentioned in the CBA!

  38. f4phantom9277 says: Aug 9, 2012 2:14 PM

    Lommis and Payton, as well as Williams, agreed to whatever the NFL said happened simply for re-instatement. They did this under premise of the NFL having proof which we know now they do not have. As for the March 2 league claim, this has now changed as per Goodell’s own words.

  39. nard100 says: Aug 9, 2012 2:50 PM

    daknight93 says:
    Aug 9, 2012 12:03 PM
    Bottom line is Gregg Williams audio of disgusting language doesn’t mean he was guilty of having a bounty program…this kind of language goes on in football and the players don’t have a problem with it cause they are GROWN MEN PEOPLE…NOT KIDS! players are not gonna go out and injure there fellow opponents…just insane and ridiculous for Goodell to believe a player would take cash to inflict injury to another player…just senseless and shows Goodell doesn’t have a relationship with the players..sure, pay for performance is salary cap violation, but this is widespread in NFL…using their own money in a pool of a few guys rewarding for clean legal hits, sacks, ints etc…Goodell making something minor and creating unnecessary huge drama which is making himself and league look bad..just sad

    ——————————————————–

    The truly sad thing in this is there have been plenty of current and former players that have roundly condemned the Greg Williams audio. Some have even said he shouldn’t be let back into the league again ever. Guess Saints fans don’t watch NFLN much or read much.

    What did you Saints fans think about Brees affinity with the ’07 Pats team? Did he even realize what he was saying?

    You say its senseless to believe a player would injure another player for money? Seriously?! This is how clueless Saints fans have become. It’s not the pocket change that was the problem. It is incentivizing things like “cartoffs” by the COACHING STAFF (READ Greg “First one’s on me” Williams). When the guy who makes decision about who is on who is not on the field offers the incentives (cash) to perform these tasks (cartoffs). to be truthfull, if his only crime what simply TELLING players to injure another player, while it might be disturbing enough, it wouldn’t be grounds for an indefinite suspension. But when you(the coach) OFFER financial rewards for it. Give financial compensation outside of a players contract and do so in a manner (in front of a player’s peer in the locker room) that let’s everybody know who the “high performers” are in this program, THAT is a problem. So let’s ask some questions:

    1. What about players who refused to participate in the program due to philosophical differences? Was that allowed? How would they get recognition if they didn’t participate?

    2. If it’s all just harmless fun, why have money tied to it at all?

    3. If the misunderstanding is on the part of us non-Saints fans, why fire a successful DC like Gregg Williams?

  40. cowboycjn says: Aug 9, 2012 3:06 PM

    electionconfidential says:
    Aug 9, 2012 10:12 AM
    What happens if the courts overturn Vilma’s suspension after he’s already missed a regular season game? Would the Saints have to pay him for a game in which they were FORCED by the league not to use him?
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    That will probably end up back in court; that the Saints would want the NFL to reimburse them or pay Vilma directly for the games he missed if deemed they are the cause.

  41. f4phantom9277 says: Aug 9, 2012 3:43 PM

    Two head coaches have recently come out in support of Sean Payton….more coming because they can relate. (Raiders and Patriots)

  42. brenenostler says: Aug 9, 2012 5:58 PM

    goodolebaghead says:
    Aug 9, 2012 12:25 PM
    Can any Saints fan explain this to me. If there wasn’t any bounty program why did Sean Payton and Greg Williams say that there WAS a bounty program did they make it up to get themselves suspended?
    *************************************
    Every week one of you comes in here and says this. And every week, someone has to inform you that GWilliams never admitted to anything. He signed a blank piece of paper, and the NFL wrote what they wanted. Sean admitted to pay-for-performance, pay for legal plays. Roger told them they would never coach in the NFL again if they said anything against him.
    __________________________________

    If it was just a simple “pay-for-performance” program all along, don’t you think Sean Payton and Gregg Williams would have said so when all this first broke out instead of taking “full responsibility” for everything that happened?

    By the way, Gregg Williams never even appealed his suspension. That should say something.

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