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Report: Commissioner to meet with four bounty players

Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma AP

Before Commissioner Roger Goodell decides what to do about the four players whose suspensions were vacated, he’ll meet with them.

Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that the meeting will take place next week in New York, with Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove making the trip.

It’s not the first time meetings have been scheduled.  And so it’s possible that the meetings will be scuttled, again.

We expect that no obstacles will get in the way of this one,” Vilma’s lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, told Breer.  “We’re prepared to move ahead.”

Still, how will they be moving?  The players previously declined to participate because the NFL refused to share evidence of guilt.  It’s possible, then, that the NFL has decided to put some cards on the table in the hopes of getting the players to do the same.

And while it’s easy to say that the players, if the truth is on their side, shouldn’t worry about the league’s evidence, the reality is that situations like this routinely involve the employer asking subtly loaded questions and taking responses out of context in the hopes of cramming the evidence obtained into the pre-determined narrative.  The more the players know about the specific evidence against them, the easier it will be to ensure that the answers are clear and unambiguous.

Of course, nothing about this situation is clear or unambiguous.  One of these days, hopefully it will be.

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24 Responses to “Report: Commissioner to meet with four bounty players”
  1. southcakpanther says: Sep 11, 2012 7:15 PM

    Meanwhile, I have more important things to worry about like my Panthers o-line showing up to play against the Saints on Sunday. Boys came out sleep walking and got pounded by the Bucs D. Better wake up with the Saints coming to town.

  2. purpleguy says: Sep 11, 2012 7:16 PM

    Surely Ginsberg won’t turn this meeting into a cluster-you-know-what (cough).

  3. southcakpanther says: Sep 11, 2012 7:18 PM

    Seriously, does Vilma even matter to the Saints anymore?

  4. bigjdve says: Sep 11, 2012 7:19 PM

    It should be interesting to see what happens. Personally, I think that Goodell can put them to the sword so to speak for Conduct detrimental.

    Just being a part of the system, irrelevant about whether or not they took money – the arbiter can decide fines on that. Irrelevant – whether they tried to injure. They lied about being part of the system, and they later admitted it to it.

    He has set precedent that if you try to hide something, he will nail you. He has done this multiple times.

    And if anyone needs to ask about evidence, here you go

    1. They admitted to being part of a pay for play program.

    2. Play for pay is against the rules, and to use some of the verbage from the former players verbage – they didn’t consider what level of damage could be done to other players because of their actions.

    3. Conduct is detrimental – over 3000 former players are suing because of game changing hits, and constant beating. You know the kind of plays they were in a system to earn from.

    However if he wants to still try the bounties angle, lets see what they come with.

  5. gtodriver says: Sep 11, 2012 7:23 PM

    The players need to go into Goodell’s office and respectfully discuss the matter.

    If they fail to do so, the commisioner will be forced to just reinstate the original suspensions with it clearly spelled out that it is for conduct detrimental to the game and all suspensions will be for the original term.

    Goodell is a reasonable man. Those that he has come down the hardest on are those that have lied to him (Michael Vick, Sean Payton, Greg Williams, etc).

    If the players can manage to admit to their wrong doings respectfully – I think there is a solid chance that the suspensions are reduced (Goodell has done this many times before).

    Are these players smart enough to do this properly?

  6. smacklayer says: Sep 11, 2012 7:58 PM

    My prediction is that after the meeting, Goodell will reduce suspensions by half. Players will accept it.

  7. ghjjf says: Sep 11, 2012 8:20 PM

    Vilma is to dumb to represent himself so I am sure he will defer everything to his lawyer during the entire meeting.

  8. silentcount says: Sep 11, 2012 8:50 PM

    Gee, what a wonderful concept. The commissioner will actually meet with the players and get the truth before he publicly accuses them and manipulates public outrage and hate. An example of how unfair Goodell’s original procedure worked, is there are still gullible people repeating his words as fact. To be totally fair, Sean Payton should get a do-over as well, because he didn’t deserve to be suspended. As the CBA pointed out, extra incentive is punished with a fine only.

  9. VonClausewitz says: Sep 11, 2012 8:53 PM

    In this episode of Kabuki Football Theatre, Roger Goodell will try to bolster the optics problem he created by issuing public, and arguably defamatory statements absent supporting evidence. Does the NFL Nanny have the dance moves to pull this off? Can the illusion of process trump the facts? Will this snake charming confuse the accused players into dropping their challenge?? Tune in, and you’ll find out.

    PS. Rog, tell me more about how you’re going to keep your private sources away from scrutinizing eyes, and still come up with enough evidence to win the defamation case.

  10. txxxchief says: Sep 11, 2012 9:04 PM

    One last chance to atone for their sins. The truth could set them free, unless they choose the path that earns the wrath of the league office.

    There endeth the lesson.

  11. anarchopurplism says: Sep 11, 2012 9:14 PM

    Well said GTO driver.

    The middle ground is the players owning up to being part of a system that was pay for play, detrimental conduct and lying about it.

    Then Goodell waxing poetic about “moving on,” saying that these 4 were part of the problem, not entirely all of it and cut into down 1/2 suspension time.

    If these morons claim “innocence” put the screws to them.

    NOBODY in New Orleans is squeaky clean.

  12. twisteditoff says: Sep 11, 2012 9:30 PM

    and they lied to a fed court and for this they need to be hind bars unless the judge is lame

  13. rmdz7 says: Sep 11, 2012 9:41 PM

    @southcakpanther

    It couldn’t have been any worst than the Saints o-line against the Skins. Reminded me of the line of turnstiles at the DC Metro.

    But the defense made up for it by allowing the Skins to score on every drive. :(

  14. rmdz7 says: Sep 11, 2012 9:50 PM

    @ gtodriver

    What?

    For one, how exactly did Goodell come down hard on Vick? Vick was out of jail May 2009 and playing football in August 2009. WOW! That’s harsh… not.

    And how exactly do you know that Sean Payton lied to Goodell? You know what’s funny? At not time has Goodell or the NFL stated anything other than “he’s the head coach and therefore responsible”.

    And how can you show any respect for a man who smears your name in public for months without giving you a chance to rebut? Without showing you his proof other than “oh, we have it”?

    The players already admitted to their wrong-doing: a money pool that violates the salary cap rules. It is Goodell who has made this pool into some nefarious hitman-for-hire scheme.

  15. mjkelly77 says: Sep 11, 2012 10:09 PM

    “We expect that no obstacles will get in the way of this one,” Vilma’s lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, told Breer. “We’re prepared to move ahead.”
    ___________________

    “Prepared to move ahead”? Does that mean grovel for mercy and finally fess up to the truth?

  16. renaldorae says: Sep 11, 2012 10:14 PM

    Why would the players involved in bounty even want to chat with Godell? Godell is looking for ammunition to stick it to the players. Didnt the NFLPA overturn his supension.This is the same commissioner that schedules thursday night games and the late thanksgiving game on NFL network and not all cable providers even have it, so if he cares that much about the fan im sure he dont care that much more for the players.

  17. joemammy says: Sep 11, 2012 10:50 PM

    End this thing, already. Just end it…

  18. acetw says: Sep 11, 2012 11:15 PM

    mjkelly77 – Goodell needs to fess up to the truth, since he’s the one that’s been misrepresenting it for the last several months.

  19. mwindle1973 says: Sep 12, 2012 12:30 AM

    Yeah I’m just sick of this issue. I really believe in the end the suspensions will be the same. They will be appealed and upheld. And then what? Will the player’s accept it then? Why would they accept it now, if they haven’t all along? So it will go back to court again. And the thing is they will lose. Because they can’t show up in court and say “show me the evidence, I need an explanation!” They will have to prove Goodell did something wrong. And they have no proof of that or they would’ve offered it up already. Long story short, we will have to endure this issue for a couple/few more months, and in the end they will serve the same suspensions they were given a few months back. Waste of resources and time. The only way Goodell reduces these suspensions are if the players agree not to appeal or sue and serve there time without further stalling. If they agreed to do that, then he could justify reducing it for the purpose of bringing closure to the issue. But at the most he’s going to reduce it by 25%.

  20. jfinn5 says: Sep 12, 2012 1:46 AM

    The players should check their wallets when they leave the meeting because Rodger is a thief.

  21. gtodriver says: Sep 12, 2012 7:11 AM

    rmdz7 says:

    “@ gtodriver

    What?

    For one, how exactly did Goodell come down hard on Vick? Vick was out of jail May 2009 and playing football in August 2009. WOW! That’s harsh… not.

    And how exactly do you know that Sean Payton lied to Goodell? You know what’s funny? At not time has Goodell or the NFL stated anything other than “he’s the head coach and therefore responsible”.”

    This is the problem with the Saints* fans – they disregard the truth and post lies.

    Goodell suspended Vick indefinitely back in 2007 – before Vick was even sentenced for his crimes.

    After serving his time in prison, Vick applied for reinstatement and Goodell issued a 6 game suspension for the 2009 season.

    Based on Vick’s actions and remorse, that suspension was ultimately lowered to 3 games – so Vick did not play or get paid until late September of the 2009 season.

    As to Payton – how do I know he lied?

    Because he was caught red handed lying to the NFL investigators:

    “Payton went to Williams and Vitt before their interviews with the league’s security and told them to ” … make sure our ducks are in a row.”

    It doesn’t appear that Payton was interviewed as part of the investigation at that time, but when he denied all knowledge of the program in a 2012 interview with the league, they showed him an e-mail from 2011 in which Payton added a very expensive postscript:

    “PS Greg [sic] Williams put me down for $5000 on Rogers [sic].””

    Doesn’t it suck when the facts bite you right in the assets?

  22. goodolebaghead says: Sep 12, 2012 10:19 AM

    make sure our ducks are in a row? That’s not lying. When the inspector shows up at my warehouse, I tell all my employees to make sure our ducks are in a row. That doesn’t mean lie to the inspector, that means make sure everything is on the up and up.

    And if you don’t know the truth about the Ornstein letter, than you have not been following this case. That letter was without a doubt a joke because they were being investigated. Look it up before you come here and spew your own non-facts.

  23. daveman8403 says: Sep 12, 2012 10:42 AM

    WRONG….That email, and postscript, were from Ornstein, while he was in jail. It was not even emailed directly to payton. it was emailed to the PR guy with the saints who forwarded it to payton. It was also tongue in cheek because of the accusations of a “bounty”. It was not serious.

  24. vikingfan1971 says: Sep 12, 2012 11:30 AM

    they need the suspension

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