The attorney for Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s “manufactured allegations” have tarnished Vilma’s reputation.
And attorney Peter Ginsberg says that while former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue did the right thing by lifting Vilma’s suspension, Tagliabue now needs to publicly release all of the testimony he relied on in making his decision in the bounty case.
“Two competing forces have been at play since at least March of this year – Roger Goodell has been trying every conceivable maneuver to avoid real and honest
scrutiny of his manufactured allegations that Jonathan Vilma engaged in a bounty program aimed at opposing players and Jonathan has been fighting to have an open and fair review of those accusations,” Ginsberg said in a statement. “We are obviously relieved and gratified that Jonathan no longer needs to worry about facing an unjustified suspension. On the other hand, Commissioner Tagliabue’s rationalization of Commissioner Goodell’s actions does nothing to rectify the harm done by the baseless allegations lodged against Jonathan. Jonathan has a right and every intention to pursue proving what really occurred and we look forward to returning to a public forum where the true facts can see the light of day. We call upon Commissioner Tagliabue to release the transcripts of the proceedings held before him so that they are available as we go forward. Finally, it is regrettable that the NFL continues unjustifiably to attack the New Orleans Saints, an organization comprised of decent and honest people who continue to stand strong in the face of these baseless attacks.”
The big question as Vilma goes forward with his defamation case is what impact those transcripts will have. Tagliabue has rescinded Vilma’s suspension, but he hasn’t said Vilma did nothing wrong. If Vilma’s defamation case goes to trial, a jury will get to see the same evidence Tagliabue has seen, and a jury will determine whether Goodell defamed Vilma by overstating just what the case was against him.