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Vilma’s lawyer says NFL’s process “has had no decency”

Goodell Bounties Football AP

The Commissioner’s re-issued bounty discipline resulted in, as a practical matter, a $564,000 gift to Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, given that his one-year ban has been reduced to 10 games without pay, following the completion of his six-week stint on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

But Vilma isn’t happy.

“Rather than fairly and impartially evaluate the evidence, the Commissioner instead has wrapped his arms around the architect of pay-for-performance programs, Gregg Williams, and attributes Williams’ inflammatory language and bizarre slide shows not to Williams but to the players Williams coached,” Vilma said in a statement released by his lawyer, Peter Ginsberg.

“Jonathan Vilma did not offer a bounty or any incentive to any teammate to injure an opposing player,” Ginsberg said.  “Commissioner Goodell has now called every one of the dozen or more players and coaches a ‘liar’ who has played the games with Jonathan and been in the locker room with Jonathan and who has sworn under oath to that fact.”

Vilma then points to the failure of Goodell to examine evidence proving that Vilma did not withdraw $10,000 from his account at any point during the 2009 postseason, in specific response to the contention that Vilma physically offered a pair of $5,000 stacks to any player who knocked former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner out of the 2009 divisional playoffs or who knocked former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC title game.

Of course, there are plenty of other ways a guy can get his hands on $10,000, without use of his ATM card.  The money could have come from the bounty pool.  Or it could have come from someone else altogether.  The core question is whether Vilma made the offer — and the NFL believes he did.

Vilma believes he didn’t.

“Commissioner Goodell has further damaged Jonathan’s reputation, compromised his career, and cast an unfair cloud over a fine and decent man,” Ginsberg said.  “It is unfortunate that the process exhibited by the NFL has had no decency.”

In other words, a vigorous appeal is coming before the Commissioner.  And after the appeal process ends, it’ll be time to go back to federal court.  And all of this will surely be hanging around for weeks and months to come.

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53 Responses to “Vilma’s lawyer says NFL’s process “has had no decency””
  1. skeebo80 says: Oct 9, 2012 9:25 PM

    Beyond tired of even hearing about this bounty crap

  2. packerfanfornot4life says: Oct 9, 2012 9:26 PM

    A lawyer, talking about decency??????

  3. sdisme says: Oct 9, 2012 9:26 PM

    Speaking of Goodell’s credibility, from Paragraph 2 of his declaration to the court:

    I had intended to discipline the Saints players at the same time that I disciplined the Saints franchise and non-player employees for their respective roles in the pay-for-performance/bounty program.

    From today’s memo to all the teams:

    After imposing discipline on the club and non-player employees, I considered what, if any, discipline to impose on players.

    If I was a conspiracy theorist I would say he can’t keep up with his lies.

  4. geauxjay says: Oct 9, 2012 9:26 PM

    I would like for one of the “he’s obviously guilty and he deserves a bigger punishment” crowd that hangs out here to explain how you know he’s guilty. Please, by all means, SHARE THE EVIDENCE YOU HAVE SEEN. Or do you just not like him because he doesn’t play for your team, he went to “Tha U,” or he’s an outspoken black man?

  5. mazblast says: Oct 9, 2012 9:32 PM

    Goodell is functioning here as investigator, judge, jury, and executioner–and as is usual for him in those jobs as well as commissioner, made a mess of things. He made his “mind” up early in the proceedings, then executed judgment despite the lack of concrete evidence.

    Worse yet, he is also the appeals court, with predictable results–everyone he found guilty in the first place is amazingly enough found to still be guilty.

    I’d still like to know what the Saints did to put Goodell in such a tizzy that he keeps embarrassing the legue and himself with this shameless vendetta. IMO it must be something other than the so-called bounty system.

  6. letmesetyoustraight says: Oct 9, 2012 9:33 PM

    The commish never expected that any of the suspended players would fight him as hard as Vilma.

    He has handled this situation and the replacement ref situation very poorly. Instead of fans enjoying the 2012 season, they have to endure this and the tainted team records at the hands of the replacements.

    A good commisioner never would have let things come to this. Pathetic, Rog.

  7. mazblast says: Oct 9, 2012 9:33 PM

    *league

    My typing is not as good as my spelling!

  8. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Oct 9, 2012 9:33 PM

    Screw Vilma. Where’s this week’s power rankings?

  9. commonsense4allofus says: Oct 9, 2012 9:36 PM

    In other news the NFL doesn’t give 2 sh%ts what John Vilma thinks.

  10. learysdisciples says: Oct 9, 2012 9:36 PM

    Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

  11. nygmenruleny says: Oct 9, 2012 9:36 PM

    I’m just shocked that Vilma and his lawyer are going to fight this tooth and nail. Has anything they have said or done in the past indicated that this would not be the response to anything other than the NFL saying “oops, our bad. Go about your buisness, nothing to see here.”? They will fight it and hope to keep it in court until Vilma retires so he can escape punishment totally.

  12. geauxsaintsforever says: Oct 9, 2012 9:41 PM

    Amazing how Saints win their first game of the year and Goodell has to immediately rain on the parade. At first I thought he was just a lunatic, but now it’s apparent someone in the Saints organization must have slept with his wife or something.

  13. nomoreseasontix says: Oct 9, 2012 9:44 PM

    At least the lawyers will get paid.
    Do you have any idea what a good pair of wing-tips costs these days?
    Good grief! How’s a guy supposed to get by?

  14. mazblast says: Oct 9, 2012 9:49 PM

    letmesetyoustraight said:

    A good commisioner never would have let things come to this. Pathetic, Rog.
    —————————-

    The state of “commissionerhood” has never been worse. My scorecard–

    1. Bud Selig (!)–Runs a clean game. Has the support of his bosses, the owners. Has avoided labor troubles in recent years after his notable blunders in 1994. Seems to accept the lack of respect by the public and the media and does his job, sometimes without finesse but with results.

    2. David “The Troll” Stern–Runs his league with an iron fist. It’s all about the Benjamins with him; no small-market team will ever win “his” league, lest less “stuff” be sold. Not the best labor negotiator ever seen; Little Caesar can’t seem to get his head around anyone defying His Trollness.

    3. Goodell–Must have incriminating evidence on the owners, because his continuing employment is a mystery. Has handled all labor negotiations about as poorly as possible. Consistently turns small controversies into big ones and big controversies into catastrophes. Counts on the continuing gullibility of the football-crazed public to smooth things over.

    4. Gary Bettman–Presides over the smallest of the big sports leagues, and handles labor relations with the same aplomb as Goodell. A waling, talking boob.

  15. drgreenstreak says: Oct 9, 2012 9:49 PM

    “… a fine and decent man.”

    How would a member of the bar have the ability to detect such a human?

  16. mikebrownfaux says: Oct 9, 2012 9:53 PM

    Goodell=Judge Dredd

  17. slizzyslizz says: Oct 9, 2012 10:00 PM

    Just reading the headline about Vilma and some type of public whining prompted me to yell “shut up already” at the iPad while my wife is left wondering wth is wrong with me….

  18. bears615 says: Oct 9, 2012 10:04 PM

    Again…..who cares?

  19. silentcount says: Oct 9, 2012 10:06 PM

    I’m all in favor of going back to the judge and punish system already in place — refs on the field watching your every move and penalizing you on the spot for breaking the rules. Not this thing of Goodell throwing flags for what might have been said in a pregame pep rally from 3 years ago. Trying to prove something like that is not possible and why even bother. It’s absurd the way angry fanatics keep saying Vilma is guilty. Specifically, what is he guilty of to deserve a year’s suspension? WHAT?!

  20. suhisabeast90 says: Oct 9, 2012 10:08 PM

    It’s Goodell’s league…..play by his rules or take your toys and go home little boy! The message from the commish has been the same all along, “play by my rules or you get punished”. Not hard to understand. Lawyers have no place in sports. Keep your nose clean and make the league look good. I will gladly take millions to play a game by his rules!

  21. cwwgk says: Oct 9, 2012 10:11 PM

    The Saints ran a bounty program, tried to cover it up and got caught. Plain and simple. To suggest there is no evidence of the program ignores admissions and testimony from individuals involved in its operation and those with personal knowledge of its existence. None of which is hearsay. Is the evidence airtight? No. Is it more than sufficient to support the suspensions? Absolutely.

    So many want to impugn Goodell’s character. Yet few, if any, comment about Vilma’s lawyer. Talk about a vendetta against the league and/or Goodell. Mr. Ginsberg has petitioned the United States Supreme Court to vacate a suspension against one his NFL clients who tried to cheat his way out of a drug test by submitting a non-human urine sample. According to Ginsburg, D.J. Williams’ due process rights were also violated. Sound familiar?

    This is the same lawyer who’s law license is suspended in a Federal District in Florida for, amongst other things, accusing a presiding judge of impropriety. Sound familiar?

    And don’t forget, Judge Berrigan commented from the bench Vilma admitted in her courtroom to the allegations made by Goodell: “it seems to me that there is a confluence here that what
    Mr. Goodell says Mr. Vilma did was in effect admitted at the hearing a couple weeks ago.”

    Vilma’s lawyer can call Goodell and the league all the names he wants. The ploy has yet work.

    Once the case gets to federal court Judge Berrigan again won’t be in a position to substitute her judgment for Goodell’s. Her only role will be to review whether the suspensions were imposed consistent with the CBA. It has been. Game over.

  22. evilbilly3 says: Oct 9, 2012 10:13 PM

    I’d still like to know what the Saints did to put Goodell in such a tizzy that he keeps embarrassing the legue and himself with this shameless vendetta. IMO it must be something other than the so-called bounty system.
    ————————————————————-

    My guess is the upcoming retired players lawsuit, Goodell needs the impression that he’s doing everything for the safety of the players. He is hired by the owners to make money and keep it safe.

  23. takingbovadasmoney says: Oct 9, 2012 10:17 PM

    ……..Yawn……..

  24. conormacleod says: Oct 9, 2012 10:19 PM

    Vilma and his lawyer say he’s innocent. Well, that’s good enough for me! But seriously, screw you and your lies Vilma.

  25. santolonius says: Oct 9, 2012 10:19 PM

    personally i believe vilma. a pft poll would be interesting to see where the court of public opinion comes down between these two.

  26. thisdj84 says: Oct 9, 2012 10:20 PM

    why don’t these guys just take it like a men! They did it, they need to own it and shut up! There cheating got them a Super Bowl you would think that would be enough!

  27. andrewfbrowne says: Oct 9, 2012 10:21 PM

    Please just go away. I would rather watch political commercials at this point than read about this stuff any longer.

  28. onbucky96 says: Oct 9, 2012 10:26 PM

    Says the defense attorney for the accused. Drop dead and take your lying cheating client with you.

  29. thelastpieceofcheese says: Oct 9, 2012 10:27 PM

    ” SHARE THE EVIDENCE YOU HAVE SEEN.”

    The evidence speaks for itself!

    “Or do you just not like him because he doesn’t play for your team, he went to “Tha U,” or he’s an outspoken black man?”

    I don’t like him because he is a liar!

  30. mazblast says: Oct 9, 2012 10:27 PM

    geauxsaintsforever said:

    At first I thought he was just a lunatic, but now it’s apparent someone in the Saints organization must have slept with his wife or something.
    —————————————-
    Imagine being married to such a putz. The money can’t be worth it.

  31. bathroomben7 says: Oct 9, 2012 10:40 PM

    “…has cast an unfair cloud over a fine and decent man.” ROFL. The freakin’ Jets thought this guy was a pile of crap and lost patience with him. The Jets! That’s how he got on the Saints to offer bounties in the first place.

  32. jason1980 says: Oct 9, 2012 10:41 PM

    If another poster says, “who cares about this issue”, I’m gonna puke. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t post your comment. You obviously care about all things SAINTS, can’t blame you. Everybody loves to hate a winner. How many teams in the NFL could weather the storm that the Saints have endured this season. 1-4, yet only losing those games by a touch down or less. You haters should thank Mr. Goodell, especially the Falcons. In the large scheme of things they really don’t matter because they will crash and burn in their first playoff game. It’s how they roll.

  33. bearsandjazz says: Oct 9, 2012 11:15 PM

    geauxjay “I would like for one of the “he’s obviously guilty and he deserves a bigger punishment” crowd that hangs out here to explain how you know he’s guilty. Please, by all means, SHARE THE EVIDENCE YOU HAVE SEEN. Or do you just not like him because he doesn’t play for your team, he went to “Tha U,” or he’s an outspoken black man?”

    Oh my god get a life you loser! How do you know he’s innocent. Lets see your evidence proving his innocence . Have you never heard of an athlete lie and deny guilt to avoid punishment an ridicule. And that race card garbage is so old that I can’t even believe you even brought that up, It’s truly dumbest, most ignorant, naive, idiotic, ridiculous thing I have heard in defense of this lying POS. how cowardly to try and blame the color of his skin for peoples opinion of him. people like you make the world a loop hole for liars to blame guilt on race. maybe he should have just blamed it on the cream and the clear, or maybe somebody Misremembered when talking to Goodell.

  34. realfann says: Oct 9, 2012 11:32 PM

    What about all that wonderful legal analysis that said Goodell would hide behind the word “offer”???

    He clearly hasn’t.

  35. mogogo1 says: Oct 10, 2012 12:18 AM

    No argument that Goodell handled this horribly, was overbearing, etc. But screaming “show me the evidence” is a bit much given Payton, Williams and Loomis admitted the whole thing and apologized. And then there’s the video. What else could Williams be talking about if not the bounties?

    Even Vilma’s statements have skirted around whether he actually offered the $10K bounty. He’s only denied paying it or “intending” to pay it. (And if no offer were ever made, the line about not intending to pay makes no sense whatsoever.)

  36. treesloth16 says: Oct 10, 2012 12:23 AM

    Imagine if a judge at a criminal case says to you: “….well, the evidence isn’t strong, but I am persuaded, no… Convinced! that you killed your wife and kids.”

    How would you feel?

    Just because Goodell has absolute power, doesn’t mean that Vilma is guilty, and that the punishment fits the crime.

  37. gennieleko says: Oct 10, 2012 12:51 AM

    I’m not as harsh but I have to agree with the above statement. I honestly don’t understand the “I am sick of this story” and “Who cares” posts that always pop up on the saints stories. Why did you click on it? Why take the time to comment?

  38. oliusmarcelie says: Oct 10, 2012 12:56 AM

    You can’t be the judge and the jury! I’m slowly being turned away from the nfl thanks to the commish!

  39. twisteditoff says: Oct 10, 2012 12:59 AM

    go back to loserania vil u pos ukoff u whinner go back to sucking clock u sob

  40. twisteditoff says: Oct 10, 2012 1:04 AM

    let it be said right now the players that lied in fed cort are certainaly going to be behind bars soon in dresses waiting for their men come home to show them there worth saints from this point on will forever be known as the dirtyest team in history and trying to buy there way out of something they dident want anyone to know about so go back to the loserania aints the most dispicable team in history you will never change peoples minds about it now waiting for the next huricane to take that pos land and duluite it into hell where the team belongs u pos’s

  41. turfrage says: Oct 10, 2012 1:37 AM

    You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Especially if you can’t do anything else except maybe sell used cars. Teams are turned off by trouble makers. Take it like a man already. Enough!

  42. marcinhouston says: Oct 10, 2012 1:44 AM

    With his handling of the bounty issue, Goodell is making a very clear statement about the US Constitution in general: he is against it. In Goodell’s world you are guilty until proven innocent. If you are accused you better confess. Coerced hearsay is proof of guilt. Lack of an earlier confession itself is a crime even if there is no proof of guilt. As each flaw in the evidence is exposed, it doesn’t matter, because there is still a lot of hearsay and the judge, jury, and executioner remains ‘convinced’ that he can’t have been even a little bit wrong. And the sad thing is many readers are anxious to embrace Goodell’s fascist anti-American conception of justice and have no interest in seeing any kind of fair hearing.

  43. shawnc16 says: Oct 10, 2012 2:24 AM

    Just curious how come people keep talking about this in “innocent until proven guilty” terms like this is a criminal case instead of a work place situation which is not in most cases guilty beyond a resonable doubt, because at work people use deduction and common sense.

    If a situation occur in your workplace and who passes down judgement on you, your boss or a jury of your peers?

    The NFL is not the US justice system it is a job. Innocent until proven guilty has nothing to do with it.

  44. denverscott says: Oct 10, 2012 2:40 AM

    mazblast says: Oct 9, 2012 9:32 PM

    Goodell is functioning here as investigator, judge, jury, and executioner–and as is usual for him in those jobs as well as commissioner, made a mess of things. He made his “mind” up early in the proceedings, then executed judgment despite the lack of concrete evidence.

    Worse yet, he is also the appeals court, with predictable results–everyone he found guilty in the first place is amazingly enough found to still be guilty.

    I’d still like to know what the Saints did to put Goodell in such a tizzy that he keeps embarrassing the legue and himself with this shameless vendetta. IMO it must be something other than the so-called bounty system.
    —————————————————

    The players GAVE him those abilities when they signed the CBA Einstein. Let Vilma keep shoveling money into his lawyers feeding trough if he’s stupid enough to do it. (he is BTW). I just wish he’d stop wasting taxpayer money at the same time. He’ll be broke and forgotten in a few years as he never had a legacy to begin with.

  45. scottieplongballs says: Oct 10, 2012 3:02 AM

    Vilma is playing lawyer games and is guilty. The players offered up cash and if you watched the games, Cards, Vikes, you wouls see the intent to injure was there. GUILTY

  46. keakuamai says: Oct 10, 2012 4:19 AM

    Listen up apologists and the like, this isn’t the criminal system or heck even the public civil system in reality, this is the NFL.

    I don’t for one second believe in the crap about the constitution and Roger being a fascist.

    This is the world of entertainment and big time sports here and then there’s the NFL the NFLPA and the CBA which is where the “law” or rules are being applied.

    I understand the players have taken their grievances to the courts, BUT those 2 entities mentioned above, the CBA are the true governing bodies and if there is any evidence that the players were involved it’s game over.

    I watch reality tv on occasion and though perps get caught red-handed on tape they NEVER EVER admit to it ever, and I believe that such is the case here with some of the players.

    I also am wondering what type of deals some of the players cut with Roger.

  47. joetoronto says: Oct 10, 2012 4:42 AM

    Vilma has made himself radioactive because of his attitude.

    He needs everything he can get from the NFL with this suit because no team will touch him going forward.

    What a loser.

  48. gingerkidboston2012 says: Oct 10, 2012 6:44 AM

    Vilma & his attorney both need to just shut up and go away. The more they talk to the press the more “me thinks thou protest too much” and it just makes them look more guilty.

  49. jpb12 says: Oct 10, 2012 7:04 AM

    All about the money.
    Vilma was the team leader who chanelled and funded Williams’ bounties – to knock guys out of games -…

    Goodell and the NFL are getting sued by former players for not protecting them.

    He’s punishing them because if he doesn’t, the NFL will get sued successfully.

    The only debatable point is how harsh is the punishment.

  50. gingerkidboston2012 says: Oct 10, 2012 7:17 AM

    And the conspiracy theorists whining about Goodell need to just stop as well. Goodell has sworn statements from coaches & staff that all say it happened. Vilma has a bunch of players who are undoubtedly are lying under oath to save his caboose! If only Vilma cared about his team as much as he cares about himself, maybe they wouldn’t be 1-4 if they had even used half of there brains. Can’t help but wonder if Vilma & the Saints had just taken the punishment and moved on they’d probably be 5-0. Instead they just keep running to the press, playing the victim card & making this a distraction. And you can cry me a river over his whole “detrimental to his lifestyle” bs. Should have been saving his money in the 1st place instead of spending on taking out QB’s.

  51. hehateme2 says: Oct 10, 2012 7:27 AM

    Aint’s fans: get your bags out if you must but STOP the whining! Enough already.

  52. promickey says: Oct 10, 2012 9:28 AM

    Now that the season is upon us, the NFL watching public seems bored by this stuff. However there is something wrong and low life about using Gregg Williams as a credible witness. Which does not protect the NFL brand that Goodell works hard to protect.

  53. sb44champs says: Oct 10, 2012 11:45 AM

    bearsandjazz says:
    Oct 9, 2012 11:15 PM
    geauxjay “I would like for one of the “he’s obviously guilty and he deserves a bigger punishment” crowd that hangs out here to explain how you know he’s guilty. Please, by all means, SHARE THE EVIDENCE YOU HAVE SEEN. Or do you just not like him because he doesn’t play for your team, he went to “Tha U,” or he’s an outspoken black man?”

    Oh my god get a life you loser! How do you know he’s innocent. Lets see your evidence proving his innocence
    ——————————
    Hey, how about we see evidence proving guilt since GODell doesn’t seem to mind putting player’s and an entire franchise’s reputations through the mud with not a single piece of CONCRETE EVIDENCE!!!!

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