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League again denies that it made Vilma an offer

Jonathan Vilma AP

The NFL has spoken.  Again.

Two weeks ago, ESPN’s three-headed journalistic monster known unofficially as Werdscheftensen reported that the NFL had offered to slice the suspension of linebacker Jonathan Vilma in half.  The league swiftly denied it.

Last night, a source with knowledge of the situation told PFT that the offer “definitely” had been made.  Again, the league swiftly denied it.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello made his case via a couple of tweets, and he also sent an email to PFT.

“No settlement offer has been made by the league to Jonathan Vilma,” Aiello said.  “These reports are untrue.”

As we’ve explained, there’s a way to make an offer without making an offer.  If the NFL officially had offered to cut Vilma’s suspension from 16 games to eight, the NFL would have inevitably been squeezed off that number if/when further discussions occurred.  Instead, the NFL apparently made a non-offer offer, making it clear to Vilma’s lawyer that, if Vilma would accept a reduction from 16 games to eight games, the NFL would do it.

Moreover, the judge has been leaning on the parties to resolve their differences.  In such cases, it’s important for both sides to appear reasonable.  So while the NFL may have never made a formal, written offer, confidential settlement negotiations undoubtedly have included something other than “you’ll get nothing and like it.”  Otherwise, when the judge asks in her chambers or on a conference call what the league has offered and what Vilma has proposed (and, yes, judges do this) and the NFL says “he’ll get nothing and like it,” the NFL risks alienating the person who will be making some fairly important decisions, fairly soon.

So if the league truly has made no offer of any kind in any form or fashion, maybe that’s the bigger story.

All that said, we understand why the league is taking great pains to avoid creating the impression that it has made an offer to Vilma.  When the average fan (or player) hears that an offer was made, the average fan (or player) regards that as an admission by the league that the league in some way bungled the internal disciplinary process.

Then again, absent a settlement, the judge may soon be declaring that, in her view, the league bungled the internal disciplinary process.

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42 Responses to “League again denies that it made Vilma an offer”
  1. totallyuselessme says: Aug 23, 2012 9:40 AM

    The NFL is digging their own grave in all this.

    Truly, truly clumsy, Roger. Why did you act without any certainty, without any evidence? Did you think no one would fight back?

  2. insidej0b says: Aug 23, 2012 9:42 AM

    If you believe anything the league has to say anymore, you are eating right out of their hand.

  3. mavajo says: Aug 23, 2012 9:43 AM

    And I continue to trust the “sources” more than I trust either the NFL or NFLPA.

    If the Brett Favre, Tiger Woods, Melky Cabrera, etc., stories have taught us anything — it’s that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

  4. Stiller43 says: Aug 23, 2012 9:48 AM

    Im surprised you didnt link george’s coffee shop lunch with the mets front office where they talk about possibly hiring him if he werent employed with the yankees – but since he is, they werent even talking.

    …ya know, as your non-offer offer

  5. kellij666 says: Aug 23, 2012 9:52 AM

    NFL is a liar. don’t know why anyone would be surprised by this. they preach player safety and then let 3rd rate refs officiate games. more double talk by goodell.

  6. savocabol1 says: Aug 23, 2012 9:53 AM

    “All that said, we understand why the league is taking great pains to avoid creating the impression that it has made an offer to Vilma. ”

    You ever think that they aren’t really taking great pains to avoid creating any impression and maybe, just maybe, indeed they never offered a settlement?

    It makes sense for Vilma’s side to make up these tid bits creating the impression that the NFL doesn’t have much of a case. Propaganda at its finest.

  7. jnbnet says: Aug 23, 2012 9:53 AM

    //she doesn’t have the nads to be objective and find that Goodell was within his right as the NFL Commishiner. She has to wait on the ruling of another Judge???? What good is the CBA if the union does not abide by it?

  8. lightcleric says: Aug 23, 2012 9:56 AM

    Well, Roger was on tape offering Vilma the deal, but his face was obscured, so…

  9. woodworthbayoutiger says: Aug 23, 2012 9:56 AM

    It’s a pay for performance world” and the NFL is trying to keep that pandora box closed. Keep after them Florio. I heard Amani Toomer respond to the Gleason/HBO fiasco by saying to the effect that coaches use that type of language and those descriptions fairly often. THAT is exactly the pandora spread the league is trying to contain.

    They will be about as successful as MLB saying the performance enhancing era is over!

  10. bennyb82 says: Aug 23, 2012 10:02 AM

    The NFL is like any other big business. If it doesnt fit their agenda, they will lie about it. Plain and simple. The bottom line trumps all else, including safety…although the league will try to convince you otherwise.

  11. blacknole08 says: Aug 23, 2012 10:24 AM

    Vilma has on some serious hater-blockers.

  12. thejuddstir says: Aug 23, 2012 10:31 AM

    The NFL is a business made up of 32 billionaires and it is absurd to think that they would single out a particular team to “unfairly” punish ……why would you want to bite the hand that feeds you? Not even Tom Benson has spoken a negative word about what the league is doing to his team. I am not saying other teams haven’t had a “bounty system” but I think it’s quite clear that the other teams quit with their bounty system after being warned by the league whereas the saints kept at it, covered it up and then lied about it. It doesn’t matter if other teams did it at this point, kind of like, if Barry Bonds juiced then everyone who juiced in the past but quit, should be punished the same as Bonds. Fans have their opinions of who did what and when, yada yada yada but I don’t think there’s any doubt that the league has much more evidence than has ever been put out to the public all in the hopes of trying to maintain their image. Vilma and his vulture lawyers are simply trying to take advantage of the league wanting to maintain their image to try and get off scot-free. When you don’t hear Benson…..Payton…..Williams arguing or threatening to sue the league, it means there is something but yet saints fans would rather believe the spin that the lawyers put out there. Also, if it were so clear that the league was wrong, Judge Judy wouldn’t have to be searching high and low for a “reason” to rule in Vilma’s favor now would she? Judge Judy knows she needs something substantial (which 2 months later she hasn’t found yet) to rule in Vilma’s favor because the Federal Appeals Court is going to otherwise overrule her prejudical ruling. It’s really not that difficult to understand but for saints fans it’s easier to believe the innuendo, spin and threat of lawsuits as proof of “real evidence” of innocence. I especially like the posts about “Vilma said he didn’t do it and 7 other saints players signed affidavits supporting that claim”. ……. kind of like someone robbing a bank and his entire family signs an affidavit saying he didn’t do it, LMAO

  13. packhawk04 says: Aug 23, 2012 10:32 AM

    “The NFL could risk alienating a person who will make important decisions very soon.”

    Wouldnt want to upset someone whose mind is already made up, would you? The NFL knows what this judge will do. Anything and everything for the players. The NFL knows the appeals court will do the right thing and laugh in the players face.

  14. jouvernile says: Aug 23, 2012 10:34 AM

    this is starting to get like a couple school girls going back and forth, they gave an offer, no we didn’t, yes you did, no we didn’t….who flippin cares stop writing about BS until you have something tangible to write about.

  15. calv23 says: Aug 23, 2012 10:38 AM

    How many times do Goodell & the NFL’s PR department need to get caught red-handed in a lie before people realize that their job is to be a sociopathic machine set to maximize profits, & crush the pushback from labor, media, & fans?

  16. honkeyt says: Aug 23, 2012 10:53 AM

    “Don’t worry about it, Bill. Bring the evidence up to my office and I will burn it myself”

    -Roger Goodell-

  17. richndc says: Aug 23, 2012 10:56 AM

    Amazing, you keep digging and digging at this story. All it seems to do is make those who feel like New Orleans has been unfairly punished feel vindicated, while the rest of us would likely be happier with another story of ANY KIND, whatsoever. What happened to manning up, being responsible? Admit whatever you did and taking whatever punishment is meted out. No reasonable person buy the BS that this all came out of the clear blue sky and the Saints are being villified by Gooddell because he has to prove a point, he is a bully, a dictator, whatever. C’mon MAN!!! enough already. damn

  18. sfsaintsfan says: Aug 23, 2012 11:07 AM

    The NFL wants to avoid at all cost having Roger Goodell having to testify under oath, either in open court or in a deposition. The man has told so many lies that there is no way he can keep his story straight.

    A quote from Mark Twain applies here: “I would rather tell seven lies than make one explanation.”

    Roger Goodell has been lying about this whole “bounty” fiasco all along and does not want to have to give an explanation, under oath.

    Vilma very likely has a big choice to make very soon. He can take the best deal he can get from the NFL. Maybe an 8 game suspension, maybe a little less, or he can go “all in” and force the issue. He risks losing everything, but the ultimate pay-off could be the eventual firing of Roger Goodell and exoneration of the Saints players, coaches and organization. Big choice to make by one man. I hope he makes the right one, I just don’t know which one that is…..

  19. goodellsadouche says: Aug 23, 2012 11:15 AM

    @thejuddstir, you’ve got it all figured out! Vilma should just accept the punishment. Even if there’s no proof. This Commissoner has cherry picked so called evidence, ignored other evidence that might prove him wrong. That is why a Judge is wanting to overturn his decision you f*ckin idiot. The only conspiracy goin on is with the simpletons that still believe that the Shield wouldn’t lie to them!

  20. rhodeislandpatriotsfan says: Aug 23, 2012 11:22 AM

    I can’t imagine Goodell and the league offering any significant reduction in the player suspension(s) WITHOUT first securing what they deem to be an appropriate admission re: the alleged “pay-for-performance/bounty” program. Otherwise, the Commissioner and the league risk being seen as capitulating in this highly visible, precedent-setting case. And that could conceivably not only work to dilute Goodell’s message about player safety, but it might create a perception that he is weaker authority figure in the wake of this case.

    Absent such an admission, I think this litigation should move forward WITHOUT a settlement. Based on the deference the Appeals Panel must show the System Arbitrator under the standard of review set out in the 2011 NFL CBA, Article 15, Section 2(b), I think it is unlikely System Arbitrator Burbank’s ruling affirming Goodell’s jurisdiction will be overturned by that Panel. On the whole, I think that the Fifth Circuit will look favorably on some the legal arguments raised by Goodell and the NFL.

  21. sportsmeccabi says: Aug 23, 2012 11:25 AM

    I think Goodell was trying to do the saints a favor by suspending vilma without pay. He’s been garbage the last two years.

  22. kokomike says: Aug 23, 2012 11:27 AM

    It is in the Saints best interests for all this focus to be on Vilma and the NFL. Once that limelight turns back to the Saints, we will learn that it really was worse than the defense attorneys on this site would like you to believe. Sure is quiet down in the bayou.

  23. acetw says: Aug 23, 2012 11:49 AM

    rhodeislandpatriotsfan ——-

    The league already has their admission of the ‘pay for performance’ program that was in place. If they were going to go your route, they’d have to be holding out for the players and coaches to admit to what the nfl* says they did.
    Since it didn’t occur the way the nfl* insists it did, that’s simply not going to happen.

  24. redman6ft4 says: Aug 23, 2012 11:58 AM

    @thejuddstir,
    When you don’t hear Benson…..Payton…..Williams arguing or threatening to sue the league, it means there is something but yet saints fans would rather believe the spin that the lawyers put out there. Also, if it were so clear that the league was wrong, Judge Judy wouldn’t have to be searching high and low for a “reason” to rule in Vilma’s favor now would she? Judge Judy knows she needs something substantial (which 2 months later she hasn’t found yet) to rule in Vilma’s favor because the Federal Appeals Court is going to otherwise overrule her prejudical ruling. It’s really not that difficult to understand but for saints fans it’s easier to believe the innuendo, spin and threat of lawsuits as proof of “real evidence” of innocence. I especially like the posts about “Vilma said he didn’t do it and 7 other saints players signed affidavits supporting that claim”. ……. kind of like someone robbing a bank and his entire family signs an affidavit saying he didn’t do it, LMAO

    1. Benson will handel this in a manner that we the public will not hear about it till later.
    2. Payton and Williams are still at the mercy of Goodell any negative comment about the so called “Bount” will extend their punishments
    3. Last, all the eveidence the NFL claimed to have aganist the players does not match their claim. the letters, the tape, Roger get’s the C’MON MAN award!!!!!!

  25. brenenostler says: Aug 23, 2012 12:09 PM

    Well as John Clayton put it, Vilma would have taken the offer “in a heartbeat” if it had been made to him. And I’ll take his word over anyone’s on here. So I doubt the offer was made.

  26. ilovefoolsball says: Aug 23, 2012 12:30 PM

    People give Goodell and the NFL administration waaaaay too much credit.
    The sport is the reason that the NFL is so popular, not the people who run it.
    I don’t think people realize how big this would be if the administration is shown to have bungled this case or worse, manufactured evidence or made huge leaps in determining intent.
    This would not be good for the league and it would definitely be the end of Goodell.

  27. hail74 says: Aug 23, 2012 12:34 PM

    If roger should have to show proof to be believed than so should reporters using unnamned “sources”.

  28. thraiderskin says: Aug 23, 2012 1:21 PM

    The league should offer the reduction, because this isn’t being done in a court of law, they made their case in the court of public opninion and outside of the opening statement, they have really fouled it up. I believe he(Vilma) offered up the money, but to what extent was he leading the happenings? The league doesn’t seem able to prove anything and quite honestly, unless he is almost as culpable as Williams, a full year suspension is rediculous. I understand the coaching punishments, but the league has mostly failed to prove their case against the players (as the ringleaders), now they just look vindictive and draconian.

  29. woodworthbayoutiger says: Aug 23, 2012 1:41 PM

    “it’s a pay for performance world”. Look let me put it another way. Most big corporations talk out of both sides of their mouths. The difference is that they do it quietly, discreetly, behind closed doors.

    Mostly because they don’t have a CBA to protect them or MOST importantly an antiquated, outdated Sherman Anti Trust Law to hide behind. AND that is their worry here. AND worried they should be!

  30. geauxjay says: Aug 23, 2012 1:55 PM

    If roger should have to show proof to be believed than so should reporters using unnamned “sources”.

    ______________________________

    See, you have it reversed, my friend.

    All you people who are so quick to defend Goodell not sharing his “evidence” because he is supposedly protecting his sources are now screaming because Florio’s story used sources. Somehow, it’s okay for Goodell but it’s not okay for the defense.

  31. cwwgk says: Aug 23, 2012 2:00 PM

    People are so quick to call Goodell a liar. By implication they therefore consider Benson, Loomis and Payton liars as well. Each acknowledged in writing Goodell’s allegations of a bounty program are true and took full responsibility for them.

    Yes, they did.

  32. sj39 says: Aug 23, 2012 2:05 PM

    I hope Vilma’s restaurant business goes well. I have a feeling that he will never play a significant role on an NFL team again.

  33. SeenThisB4 says: Aug 23, 2012 2:42 PM

    The league DID bungle the internal disciplinary process.

    If they hadn’t, they wouldn’t be in the position they are now, which is trying to make unofficial offers to settle behind closed doors and while simultaneously denying that they have made any official offers to settle.

  34. daveman8403 says: Aug 23, 2012 2:43 PM

    Loomis and Payton took responsibility because they are in charge of the team. They also don’t have a Union backing them, so whatever the commissioner says goes.

    Benson did NOT issue a statement confirming bounties, and in fact is still arguing that Goodell overstepped his bounds.

    “Bounty”, in the rule book, also includes pay-for-performance (look it up). Technically, there was a a “bounty”, but that in not what Goodell issued punishments for, nor does the punishment fit the crime. pay-for-injury has NEVER been admitted to by anyone associated with the Saints.

    No, they haven’t

  35. purplegreenandgold says: Aug 23, 2012 3:02 PM

    BREAKING NEWS!!!…Today as NFL spokesman Greg Aiello left the Manhattan office of the NFL his pants started smoldering…he quickly took his pants off in the middle of high pedestrian traffic to take care of the problem. When asked of his quick thinking he said “it’s happened before”.
    This is Chad Johnson reporting for OCNN

  36. sb44champs says: Aug 23, 2012 3:11 PM

    “Then again, absent a settlement, the judge may soon be declaring that, in her view, the league bungled the internal disciplinary process.”
    —————————————
    That’s what Saints fans have been trying to convey right from the start!!!

  37. samapoc says: Aug 23, 2012 3:18 PM

    Source: NFL will do anything to win, including lie, exaggerate, and ruin careers. Stay out of Rogers’s way!

  38. hail74 says: Aug 23, 2012 3:26 PM

    If roger should have to show proof to be believed than so should reporters using unnamned “sources”.

    ______________________________

    See, you have it reversed, my friend.

    All you people who are so quick to defend Goodell not sharing his “evidence” because he is supposedly protecting his sources are now screaming because Florio’s story used sources. Somehow, it’s okay for Goodell but it’s not okay for the defense.

    No I don’t have it reversed, just implying how some are making whats reported fit their arguments al a cart while ignoring other bits of info as lies and speculation. By the way, I’m a skins fan whose team was heavily punished this offseason as well and I don’t approve of the way either situation was carried out. However, that is what both sides agreed to and goodell is well within the rights of the CBA.

  39. samapoc says: Aug 23, 2012 3:32 PM

    Well as John Clayton put it, Vilma would have taken the offer “in a heartbeat” if it had been made to him. And I’ll take his word over anyone’s on here. So I doubt the offer was made.

     —

    Why take half off if you think you deserve all off? That’s ridiculous and bad negotiating skills. As soon as Vilma started to get offers, he would try to increase the offers. His strategy is proper, but the NFL is playing really dirty. I find it astounding that people think Vilma did anything because there is zero evidence. There was admission to pay for performance by players like Shanle and Fugita (and Shanle isn’t even being punished). This whole fiasco is ridiculous.

    If you want to beat the Saints, you want it to be fair. Not with their best defender sidelined for a bs penalty. You want to go against your opponent’s best effort, be that effort dirty or not, and you want to win. Best versus best, all the time.

  40. silentcount says: Aug 23, 2012 3:37 PM

    Bungled the internal desciplinary procedure? Uh duh, you think? Goodell intentionally manipulates public outrage by accusing the Saints of having a pay-to-injure-bounty program in EVERY GAME FOR 3 SEASONS. If that were true, then Sean Payton and Vilma deserve to be suspended. However, Goodell still hasn’t provided clear proof that it even occurred IN JUST ONE GAME! Therefore, true justice would be for their suspensions to be lifted and Goodell resign over the mistakes he has made. He can do this on his own, or wait until a higher authority insists on it!

  41. musicman495 says: Aug 23, 2012 6:05 PM

    For the 5,000th time, the CBA does not give the Commissioner unlimited power to do whatever he wants in whatever cases he wants. There are limits to the types of cases in which he has sole authority for both rulings and appeals, and there are descriptions of the responsibility he has to be impartial in those cases. Mr. Vilma and the others are suing in court to say that the NFL’s case and Goodell’s handling of it fail on both points. They have a perfect right to file that suit, and the CBA does not automatically make their case pointless, as many will see when the judge rules in their favor.

  42. cwwgk says: Aug 23, 2012 6:46 PM

    If/when Judge Berrigan rules against Vilma, will she be added to the list of conspirators?

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