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Vilma files motion in court to vacate his suspension

Goodell Bounties Football AP

During NBC’s Football Night in America, we said without hedging or hesitation or qualification that it’s coming.

And it’s here.

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has filed a motion to vacate his re-issued bounty suspension, three days after filing an appeal with Commissioner Roger Goodell.  Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that the paperwork has been filed.

Among other things, Vilma will be attempting to delay the suspensions pending resolution of the court proceedings.

The new documents are expected to contain fresh attacks and allegations against the league’s overall process.  Friday’s filing before Goodell included a request that he recuse himself from the internal appeal; the filing in court could be aimed at pressuring Goodell to exercise his right under the labor deal to designate responsibility for the internal appeal to someone else.

The smart move for the league would be to delegate the effort to someone who has had no connection to or involvement with the bounty investigation.  Having someone truly impartial and unbiased (or, as a practical matter, as close to impartial and unbiased as any league employee ultimately answerable to Goodell can be) would undermine one of the players’ strongest arguments — that Goodell is too close to the case, that he knows too much regarding evidence not introduced as part of the formal process, and that he simply isn’t inclined to have an open mind.

The fact that any internal designee would feel pressure to agree with Goodell’s decision almost makes it necessary to give the power to someone outside the league in order to avoid the inevitable argument that any other league employee would be biased by association.  It’s highly unlikely, however, that Goodell would ever voluntarily submit his authority to someone not directly connected to the league.

And so, thanks to the new filing, Goodell will continue to involuntarily submit his authority to someone not directly connected to the league.

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48 Responses to “Vilma files motion in court to vacate his suspension”
  1. bigjdve says: Oct 15, 2012 11:57 AM

    Right or wrong, Goodell is the internal appeal, this is where De Smith let his players down last year.

    Goodell shouldn’t cave on this with regard to assigning another person to handle the appeal. If he does the players will try to push for that each time, which is wrong since they expressly gave him the right in the CBA.

    Whether he is right or wrong, biased or unbiased, or for that matter whether the process is flawed or not is irrelevant. This is something that was agreed upon by the players union and the league.

    It doesn’t inherently break any laws, so that limits what the judge can do, or she would have already.

  2. droop says: Oct 15, 2012 12:03 PM

    bountygate just became roller-coaster-gate

  3. tatatoothy says: Oct 15, 2012 12:06 PM

    I truly don’t know how Goodell survives as commish when all is said and done

  4. veetan says: Oct 15, 2012 12:06 PM

    “It’s highly unlikely, however, that Goodell would ever voluntarily submit his authority to someone not directly connected to the league.

    And so, thanks to the new filing, Goodell will continue to involuntarily submit his authority to someone not directly connected to the league.”

    LOVE IT!

  5. daburgher says: Oct 15, 2012 12:10 PM

    This is awesome… Can’t wait to see Vilma play on sunday.. Also can someone please film the look on Goodells face when Vilma does in fact run onto the field? To those who defend the league in this “bounty” bs , How is it that one man is easily handling one of the biggest corporations in the planet, in the court rooms?

  6. cooklynn17 says: Oct 15, 2012 12:14 PM

    From the movie Taken…”Good Luck”.

    eyes rolling-

  7. footballfan58 says: Oct 15, 2012 12:15 PM

    So let’s get this straight: Union votes to give Goodell this authority. Players break the rules and expect to overturn their own agreement with the league. Did I miss a page or two somewhere?

  8. flfan says: Oct 15, 2012 12:16 PM

    as long as goodell issued the suspensions in accordance with the cba, I don’t see how a judge could vacate something that was collectively bargained.

  9. bootsers says: Oct 15, 2012 12:22 PM

    This just makes me sick. I say it therefore it must be true, is Vilma’s defense. Just because you don’t like the process YOUR union agreed to, does not make you innocent. Impartial parties who have seen the evidence have said you are guilty; yet our legal system and media continue to paint the guilty as victims. When all is said and done the only thing that comes out of this is another example to our youth that the reward of lying outweighs the risk.

  10. mazblast says: Oct 15, 2012 12:29 PM

    I truly don’t know how Goodell survives as commish when all is said and done
    ————————————
    He has his supporters among his bosses–and probably has the dirt on the rest.

    Sports league commissioner is a strange job. It takes so much to get the job, and apparently so little to keep it. Roger “I make the rules as I go along” Goodell, David “Who wins depends on who can sell more stuff” Stern, Gary “I don’t care if there’s a season” Bettman–their job performances make Bud Selig look good.

  11. steelersmichele says: Oct 15, 2012 12:30 PM

    When the players were voting for the new CBA, and the steelers said they wanted to limit goodell’s power because if the fines and suspensions, they were told a few player discipline issues wasn’t worth sacrificing the other players and the entire season.

    Makes me laugh now because Vilma and his three comrades didn’t care about fines and suspensions to other players and teams….until it happened to them.

    I wish they would accept the punishment they agreed to.

  12. truthfactory says: Oct 15, 2012 12:31 PM

    Of course Goodell is “Biased”… but the problem for Vilma is that he’s biased because of all the evidence he’s seen against the players and the coaching staff.

    For it to be a “legit” bias in my opinion would mean that even before any accuasations or evidence was brought to him, he was already inclined to suspend them. I don’t think that was the case since they had been warned at least twice before the actual punishment came down.

    Either way it’s a moot point, Goodell has his power as was collectively bargained. If Vilma or any other players have a problem with it, there should be a telephone with a direct line to D-Smith on the line waiting to be handed to them. Nothing else…

  13. Broncofanatic7 says: Oct 15, 2012 12:36 PM

    When can we just put this to rest?

  14. gochargersgo says: Oct 15, 2012 12:37 PM

    @daburgher

    You are grossly misinformed. How is Vilma easily handling him? And you call the Bounty scandal “BS”? Based on what? Maybe there isnt enough evidence to justify the individual players suspensions, but if youre trying to imply the system was not in place you are in complete denial. Or a total moron. Take your pick.

  15. theawesomersfranchise says: Oct 15, 2012 12:37 PM

    Some lot of stupid here as usual

    Ttattoothy
    You don’t know how Goodell survives?

    Umm because the owners love him?
    You know HIS BOSSES?
    You know because they league is making more money than it EVER HAS?

    Because he helped AVOID A LENGTHY LOCKOUT and helped save any football being missed?

    Seriously how stupid are most of you? Are you kids that are totally clueless to the fact that the league is a BUSINESS and not a popularity contest?

    Goodell is loved by the owners and has been following THEIR PLAN. Goodell is an EMPLOYEE OF THE OWNERS.

    Anyone crying at Goodell is a clueless buffoon who doesn’t understand the NFL at all.

  16. dzor22 says: Oct 15, 2012 12:38 PM

    tata- so you want to know how Goodell keeps his job? Have you noticed the success of the NFL under his regime? It’s a growing ‘business’. Now…if you prefer leagues that are run like MLB or NBA…then he should bow down when the league’s ‘business’ is threatened. Vilma et al should just…stop!

  17. goodellgate says: Oct 15, 2012 12:39 PM

    ***footballfan58 says:
    Oct 15, 2012 12:15 PM
    So let’s get this straight: Union votes to give Goodell this authority. Players break the rules and expect to overturn their own agreement with the league. Did I miss a page or two somewhere?***

    Yeah you miss the one that said that Goodell must be fair during the process, plus the fact that you can’t suspend someone for breaking the rules that they did break (pay-per-performance).

  18. mjkelly77 says: Oct 15, 2012 12:45 PM

    The fact that any internal designee would feel pressure to agree with Goodell’s decision almost makes it necessary to give the power to someone outside the league in order to avoid the inevitable argument that any other league employee would be biased by association.
    ______________________

    Hey, maybe Mr. Goodell should assign the decision to Vilma’s brother-in-law. This is ridiculous. The CBA grants the Commissioner the authority to make these decisions. To allow himself to be bullied into delegating that authority to someone else sets a dangerous precedent.

    If Vilma et al are unhappy with the situation, get after Maurice Smith about it. He’s the one that sold out the players for some short-term money in an effort to get re-appointed. Smith manipulated the players and he’s the one with whom they should be upset.

  19. theuglitruth says: Oct 15, 2012 12:48 PM

    What I would really like to see is Vilma’s union vote card when he casted a vote for the current CBA.

  20. mjkelly77 says: Oct 15, 2012 12:49 PM

    daburgher says:Oct 15, 2012 12:10 PM

    This is awesome… Can’t wait to see Vilma play on sunday.. Also can someone please film the look on Goodells face when Vilma does in fact run onto the field? To those who defend the league in this “bounty” bs , How is it that one man is easily handling one of the biggest corporations in the planet, in the court rooms?
    __________________

    Uhhhh, because the law protects everyone, right or wrong, especially if they have money. Vilma is just stalling attempting to stay employed but he’ll get it in the end.

  21. truthfactory says: Oct 15, 2012 12:49 PM

    Yeah you miss the one that said that Goodell must be fair during the process, plus the fact that you can’t suspend someone for breaking the rules that they did break (pay-per-performance).
    ——————–

    Okay, I must have missed the part where it says that Goodell must be “fair”. And besides, according to the CBA, who do you think would be assigned to judge of whether or not something is fair??? Hmmmm…. one guess… (Hint: It’s not the accused players)…

    Thats right… It would be Goodell!

  22. dabears72 says: Oct 15, 2012 12:57 PM

    During NBC’s Football Night in America, we said without hedging or hesitation or qualification that it’s coming.

    Next time just say “FIRST!”

  23. sultan420 says: Oct 15, 2012 12:57 PM

    The league was making tons of money and profits were growing under Tagliabue. This is for all the smart alecs that are inferring that the league is making more money because of Goodell.

  24. miles58a says: Oct 15, 2012 12:59 PM

    footballfan58 says:
    Oct 15, 2012 12:15 PM
    So let’s get this straight: Union votes to give Goodell this authority. Players break the rules and expect to overturn their own agreement with the league. Did I miss a page or two somewhere?
    ___________________________________

    Yea, the part of the CBA where it says Goodell has to prove they are guilty not just say they are. THe CBA says Goodell has to turn over all evidence that he plans on using to the players 3 days before the appeals. On the last appeals all evidence he gave the palyers turn up false but he said he still had proof but was keaping it to his self due to not wan’t to say where he got it. The cats out on who came foward so lets see if Goodell is going to follow the rules this time. Everyone keeps saying that the players need to follow the CBA but Goodell can do what he wants

  25. addmack24 says: Oct 15, 2012 12:59 PM

    Is it fair that Goodell changed the reason for the suspensions so it clearly without a doubt fell under his jurisdiction? I mean you can’t accuse some one of doing something and get it wrong then come back and say I messed up and accuse them of something completely different. That is enough cause I would think fo the judge to overturn it all.

  26. silentcount says: Oct 15, 2012 1:01 PM

    Goodell has the authority to basically do whatever he wants, which includes making mistakes in judgement and going overboard in handing out punishments. However, that doesn’t keep an American citizen from challenging his judgement, which occurs in business every day. Goodell was wrong in accusing Fajita of one thing, and then changing it to something else that would include every player of all teams. Using that logic, Goodell is not to be trusted in his accusations against Vilma either. This whole mess was created by Goodell and the way he chose to handle it. There has still not been evidence shown that Sean Payton deserved to be suspended for a year.

  27. ldfontenot says: Oct 15, 2012 1:04 PM

    I can understand that most of you care only about your own teams, and that any bad news for an opposing team is good news for your team, but the more intelligent posters understand the bigger picture. When reasonable men recognize a grave injustice and and say nothing, or worse, encourage the injusticie because it suits their agenda, then they have no argument for relief when injustice is done to them. Any reasonable person knows the Saints crossed a line (a very, very fuzzy line by the way) and deserved some punishment, but any reasonable person also knows Mr. Goodell over reached considerably (as pointed out by the panel that vacated the suspensions) and over punished to the point of ridiculousness. The truth usually comes out in the end, it’s just in this case it’s going to take a really long time.

  28. dryzzt23 says: Oct 15, 2012 1:08 PM

    So if Vilma gets his suspension vacated, comes back and plays, and gets a concussion, he should NOT have any right to sue the NFL for injury.

    I am so sick of Vilma, Brees, Smith, etc.

    Go Owners!

  29. panamon says: Oct 15, 2012 1:14 PM

    Gregg Williams himself has said he knows Vilma offered the money for bounties on players, each move like this is just sad.

    I would LOSE respect for Goodell if he punted this to someone else which he thankfully won’t do, especially somebody with less access to the full investigation. It makes the most sense for him to do what he’s done for every other case. Baseless complaining doesn’t change that.

    Vilma wants to take advantage of any method he can use to reduce the information discovered and admitted by multiple people against him and the whole program. Remember, HE himself admitted cartoffs were exactly what the league said which the Saints denied for months.

    Vilma think he can abuse enough technicalities legally to delay the process despite having no substantial argument against the evidence. Funny how Williams testifies and Vilma starts complaining about “no physical evidence” when previously he tried to use the players court testimony as evidence like they can’t lie or at least use evasive language like they clearly have.

    Overall I’m glad Goodell is handling this because I know the chances are the players won’t suffer no punishment due to delaying it via one attempted loophole after another. Vilma’s guilty and can’t avoid it, he could avoid making himself look worse but we all know that doesn’t matter as long as he gets as many game checks as possible. I do wonder how far the NFLPA will go though considering how embarrassing it’s been when they attack a process they’re not even nearly fully informed about.

  30. danetow says: Oct 15, 2012 1:25 PM

    “Yeah you miss the one that said that Goodell must be fair during the process, plus the fact that you can’t suspend someone for breaking the rules that they did break (pay-per-performance).”

    Fundamentally, your argument is flawed. “Goodell must be fair during the process” is entirely subjective. Courts do not take things like that into account. They look at the facts at face value and interpret contracts (the CBA) solely on the language within a contract. The facts are that the players agreed to allow Goodell to have the power to discipline players as he sees fit. Just because a player doesn’t agree with the punishment he was given doesn’t mean that said player can throw out a contract that his own representatives negotiated for him and he ultimately agreed upon.

    On top of all that, the court would have to set a precedent that says a private business cannot discipline their employees. If that was to happen, it is theoretically possible that any employee of any business would be able to get out of their own wrongdoings without their employer having a say in it. Not to mention the precedent that the court would set by allowing unions to alter their collectively bargained contracts after the contracts are already in play. In other words, its not going to happen.

  31. sfm073 says: Oct 15, 2012 1:35 PM

    By the time this all gets figured out the season will be over.

  32. cags777 says: Oct 15, 2012 1:37 PM

    My prediction: Vilma plays this weekend, suffers an injury, attempts to sue the NFL (on top of this lawsuit), and a judge lectures Vilma about the CBA and player safety. That’s Karma at her finest.

  33. Dave61548 says: Oct 15, 2012 1:43 PM

    It’s a shame that some people are content to just listen to the NFL’s original story and call the Saints guilty. If you look at the “evidence” the NFL has shown, it is obvious that Goodel’s stubborn refusal to back down is either his ego overruling common sense or a desperate attempt to keep the “player safety” smokescreen alive for the concussion lawsuits. Or both.

  34. justintuckrule says: Oct 15, 2012 1:49 PM

    Squeezing every last penny of revenue in 2012 doesn’t mean that Goodell has set the NFL up for LONG-TERM success.

  35. tubal22 says: Oct 15, 2012 1:53 PM

    So if Vilma can go outside of the CBA and sue Goodell, can the owners go outside of the CBA and sue Vilma for intentionally trying to harm their players, which are in essence company assets?

    If you’re paying a QB $15 million a year, and Vilma comes and takes him out (or offers to pay someone to take him out) for the season, you just lost $15 million.

    I say sue Vilma.

  36. marthisdil says: Oct 15, 2012 2:00 PM

    “There has still not been evidence shown that Sean Payton deserved to be suspended for a year.”

    Except that Sean Payton doesn’t have a union or CBA to deal with…so, if he’s so innocent, why didn’t he have his lawyer take it to the courts?

    it would be far easier for a judge to rule in his case since there’s no CBA.

    but, alas, he hasn’t. Which is a simple fact of the matter. And it speaks volumes.

    if it didn’t happen, then why isn’t he being a man about it and fighting back?

  37. marthisdil says: Oct 15, 2012 2:02 PM

    ” I do wonder how far the NFLPA will go though considering how embarrassing it’s been when they attack a process they’re not even nearly fully informed about.”

    if I were one of the other hundreds of players on the other side of this coin, I’d be asking the NFLPA why they are representing these 4 losers instead of backing out due to a conflict of interest.

  38. thesmedman says: Oct 15, 2012 2:12 PM

    they could hire a third party on the issue of the bounties…

    how about Buddy Ryan? (lol)

    or, Pete Rose? (it would give him another sheet of paper to sell, lol)

  39. beeronthefridge says: Oct 15, 2012 2:28 PM

    Vilma and his flunky attorney have no chance against the billionaire NFL power attorneys!

  40. vader7176 says: Oct 15, 2012 2:42 PM

    It doesn’t matter how much he stalls. The clock is ticking on Vilma’s career. How much Will this affect his play if he gets his injunction? Win or lose, good or bad, he now has major baggage which will make any NFL gm think twice before signing him.

  41. conormacleod says: Oct 15, 2012 3:10 PM

    Always take the side of the billionaire. 32 teams. 53 players on each roster. A few bad apples. I would suggest that Vilma follow the rules in the future. It works for the hundreds and hundreds of players that are not suspended. Btw: I’d say a year suspension is plenty fair for a guy that was trying to end careers. And, like somebody already said, Sean Peyton’s silence speaks volumes. Never ask a guilty man if he’s guilty. He will lie.

  42. heroofthisparish says: Oct 15, 2012 3:15 PM

    If the players, through Vilma, are seeking to amend the agreed CBA I wonder what they are willing to give back given that is how collective bargaining works.

  43. wallacejay says: Oct 15, 2012 3:26 PM

    Vilma files motion in court to give Drew Brees an explanation

  44. miles58a says: Oct 15, 2012 3:31 PM

    conormacleod says:
    Oct 15, 2012 3:10 PM
    Always take the side of the billionaire. 32 teams. 53 players on each roster. A few bad apples. I would suggest that Vilma follow the rules in the future. It works for the hundreds and hundreds of players that are not suspended. Btw: I’d say a year suspension is plenty fair for a guy that was trying to end careers. And, like somebody already said, Sean Peyton’s silence speaks volumes. Never ask a guilty man if he’s guilty. He will lie.

    __________________________________

    Sean Peyton hasn’t been silent he told the media the hardest part of this whole thing is hearing all the lie’s about him. Then y’all called him a lier. Y’all only hear what y’all want to hear. Like when Goodell suspended Fujita for 4 games for his part in the Bounty program but now he put it to 1 game because his can’t find any proof that he had part in the bounty but he should have said something. Goodell is the only one who keeps getting proven to be a lier

  45. realfann says: Oct 15, 2012 4:34 PM

    To all the folk that think that because the players agreed to a bad process that has been abused by an unfair and biased commissioner:

    I just love your American spirit in wanting to continue to live and tolerate a blatantly bad and unfair system. Your forefathers would have been soooo proud of you.

    Revolution? No thanks, we signed up for a King. We cannot change that.

    And I don’t mean Peter King.

  46. mjkelly77 says: Oct 15, 2012 4:48 PM

    realfann says:Oct 15, 2012 4:34 PM

    To all the folk that think that because the players agreed to a bad process that has been abused by an unfair and biased commissioner:

    I just love your American spirit in wanting to continue to live and tolerate a blatantly bad and unfair system. Your forefathers would have been soooo proud of you.

    Revolution? No thanks, we signed up for a King. We cannot change that.

    And I don’t mean Peter King.
    ______________

    Huh? What you don’t mention is that the players agreed to this. They weren’t coerced into signing. They made the choice and it’s legal. There was quid pro quo. They were sold out by their legal representation. They gave away their rights for chump change. But that’s what Maurice Smith wanted. He kept the players fat, dumb and happy with some additional pocket money. Their complaint should be with the chapeau-wearing poor excuse of an attorney, Maurice Smith.

  47. pgilbert15303 says: Oct 15, 2012 9:07 PM

    I love it… He’s so guilty and going to end up spending one to two years salary to his lawyer. The funny thing, with three weeks left in the season and the Saints out of contention he’ll get his reprieve…lol

  48. cmdrsmooth says: Oct 15, 2012 10:15 PM

    Vilma, you are not very good. Any defensive player would look good when their team is winning by 21 points and you can head hunt all you want.

    If you we’re a real leader, you would have stood up to your team and coach when they were going all bounty.

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