Vilma plans to call eight witnesses at hearing


As Jonathan Vilma marches into a Louisiana courtroom in the hopes of being able very soon to march onto the field with the rest of the Saints, he will bring with him eight potential witnesses.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Vilma plans to call interim head coach Joe Vitt and current/former teammates Scott Shanle, Jonathan Casillas, Roman Harper, Sedrick Ellis, Troy Evans, and Randall Gay.

We’re told that Darren Sharper also could be a late addition, if he can get to court in time.

Not on the list is Drew Brees, who has submitted an affidavit in support of Vilam’s effort to lift his suspension while the lawsuit challenging the one-year ban proceeds.

Also not on the list but submitting an affidavit is Pierson Prioleau, who played with the Saints from 2009 through 2011 and with three other teams coached by former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.  Prioleau explains that Williams’ pre-game rantings “were exactly the same for every team.”  Prioleau says the players regarded the tough talk as a motivational speech, and that the players “were always reminded to never hurt the team with illegal or selfish play.”

“I’ve never seen anyone rewarded for any illegal action or for injuring another player,” Prioleau says.

Prioleau’s affidavit doesn’t mention whether Williams used a pay-for-performance system that rewarded players for rendering opponents unable to continue via good, clean, legal hits.

Vilma also plans to introduce more than 20 exhibits, consisting of among other things portions of the league’s investigation file and letters exchanged regarding the suspension and Vilma’s decision not to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell before or after the suspension was imposed.

Whether Vilma is likely to eventually win the war is one of the factors that Judge Helen G. Berrigan will consider in deciding the outcome of this key battle.  Others include whether he’ll suffer “irreparable harm” if he’s suspended now and later wins the case, and whether more damage will be done to Vilma with the suspension kept in place or to the NFL with the suspension lifted.  Also, the “public interest” is a common, but often nebulous, factor in efforts of this nature.

The StarCaps litigation resulted in the a court blocking multiple suspensions until the litigation was resolved.  In that case, the “irreparable harm” factor drove the outcome.  It could, in this case, be the determining factor, too.

Judge Berrigan could rule on the motion at the hearing, or she could take the matter under advisement and rule later.  Either way, time is of the essence; Vilma can’t participate in any practices or preseason games unless and until the suspension is lifted.

28 responses to “Vilma plans to call eight witnesses at hearing

  1. Seems to me Joe Vitt and Pierson Prioleau’s sworn affidavits stating there were no bounties is the strongest evidence on either side to date.

  2. He should have done all this during the process afforded to him already. He chose not to. None of this really matters, does it? The courts aren’t looking at the merits of the disciplinary case, they are looking at whether the agreed upon CBA process was followed. Prancing out “witnesses” shouldn’t matter here but they could have mattered during the appeal process that was ignored.

  3. I bet they take the StarCaps. No reason NOT to delay suspension until litigation process plays out.

    It would create a whole other host of problems if the suspension isn’t delayed, yet Vilma turns out to be right.

  4. Wonder if Vilma is tapping the “witness pool” to “reimburse” these guys for their testimony…

  5. Just a reminder to Vilma’s witnesses. You take a oath to “tell the truth, nothing but the truth…
    If you lie you could be in real trouble yourself. OK

  6. Vilma is producing no less than 10 SWORN statements under OATH and under the penalty of PERJURY that there was no bounty system. Rog has produced 200 out of 10,000 documents and NO sworn statements. Only a fool would call Rog’s suspension fair.

  7. Goodell painted a picture of a pay-to-injure-bounty-system that went on in every game for three seasons. But yet, he can’t show real evidence that it happened in just one game. In fact, all of these guys who were actually there will swear under oath that Goodell’s claims are false. Let the truth set them free… including Sean Payton.

  8. hummer53 says:
    Jul 26, 2012 11:46 AM
    Just a reminder to Vilma’s witnesses. You take a oath to “tell the truth, nothing but the truth…
    If you lie you could be in real trouble yourself. OK

    It says a lot that all those players and coaches are willing to testify under oath, give sworn affidavits, etc.

    I wonder if Goodell and his witness (Mike Cerrulo) would be so willing to do the same.

  9. While Vilma may be able to show “irreparable harm” and satisfy the other substantive requirements for injunctive relief, it may be more difficult for him to demonstrate a “substantial likelihood of success on the merits.” I think that latter requirement—and not “irreparable harm”—is the bigger challenge for Vilma, and thus the key to whether the federal district court judge will grant his prayer for injunctive relief.

  10. The more Vilma rants and raves, the more guilty he appears. Personally, I hope he never plays another down in an NFL game.
    Go Packers !

  11. Vilma’s got 10 sworn affadavits…how many does Godell have???? Oh thats right.
    Its easy to accuse somebody of something…its a lot harder to prove it…Its also hard for Vilma to prove he didn’t do something that was never done.. how in the hell are you supposed to do that?
    This is the NFL where Godell is Lord and executioner, and believes the little trolls hiding under the bridge pointing fingers.

  12. I’m not too sure where I stand on Vilma’s actions against the NFL. Honestly…I find myself hoping to see Vilma come out victorious. The fact that the NFL has come with NOTHING that can be proven or substantiated by anyone, yet it still handed out a severe penalty doesn’t seem right to me.

    Another part of me thinks the guy is just being an ass-clown and am tired of seeing this in the news. But nonetheless…he’s giving it a real go and making the NFL try and work for their ability to be judge, jury, and executioner.

  13. I just have one question…Why would he and other people associated with this, go through so much if they were guilty? I mean considering that going to a grand jury can falsifying anything is considered a felony that will only make matters worse, Why go through all this?

  14. I still shake my head with these stupid “take it like a man” comments. Not sure what type of man would just accept a accusal that he believes is not deserved and “just accept it?”
    Unfortunately this still is not about right and wrong, it is about Goodell’s ability to enforce penalties without the burden of proving any wrong doing. At this point the court would have to step in and overrule Goodell and the CBA and say that “Industrial Due Process” was not given.
    We’ll see….

  15. I can’t wait for the truth to come out. I wanna see Vilma and the rest of the bounty hunters get just what they deserve. Life time suspensions is what I would love to see…For ALL of them.

  16. So his witnesses include Saints players who knew all about the bounty system and have an obvious bias because they want Vilma on the field this year.

    Got it.

  17. I think it may be most difficult for Vilma to demonstrate a “substantial likelihood of success on the merits”.
    I also think that, the Judge, in order to show a distinct “integrity of the court”will, take the matter under advisement and rule later.
    The core of the matter still remains the power given to the Commissioner to act under the last CBA and the Courts are going to want to leave that alone unless there was a very clear procedural breech.Vilma’s Counsel is most happy to accrue some very high fees, but, in the end, it will be for not.

  18. The number of witnesses cannot exceed 10 because Vilma would be forced to remove his socks to count that high, which would be a violation of the court dress code.

  19. Where would the NFL be without Goodell? I have lost count of how many hundereds of former players are sueing the NFL. It seems that everyone is quick to hammer Rodger Goodell, but just imagine what the NFL would be like if he was not keeping a lid on things. We all have jobs and are all expected to cunduct ourselves in a certain maner. If I act in an unaceptgable maner, I will be suspended form work…if not fired. Most of these guys should be thankful that they have been able to play in the NFL and make great money while doing something they love. There is only a small percentage of trouble makers, but they make all the headlines. We all make mistakes at times…take your punisment like a man, and move on.

  20. “Not on the list is Drew Brees, who has submitted an affidavit in support of Vilam’s effort to lift his suspension while the lawsuit challenging the one-year ban proceeds.”

    Who is Vilam and why is he getting suspended?

  21. jetropolitans says:
    Jul 26, 2012 11:36 AM
    I bet they take the StarCaps. No reason NOT to delay suspension until litigation process plays out.
    Sure there is. If Vilma wins he can be reimbursed for the money he lost during the season. If he loses after he is allowed to play he can just retire with all that money he shouldn’t have received. He won’t be forced to give any of it back as the suspension would simply start next season. This is simply an attempt for Vilma to get a few more checks while avoiding any responsibility for his alleged actions. By upholding the suspension, justice can be served. Delaying the suspension undermines the system completely and establishes even more of a precedent for players to ignore the rules they agreed to and burden the courts with time-delaying lawsuits while they harvest money for a future away from football. Guilty or not, denying the injunctive relief is the prudent thing to do.

  22. Vilma will win his Injunction Hearing. Just look at the “Evidence” being presented:

    Vilma: Ten witnesses live under oath and under threat of Perjury to tell the truth. Other witnesses appearing by way of sworn affidavits under oath.

    NFL: Nothing…..

  23. mogogo1 says: Jul 26, 2012 1:33 PM

    “The number of witnesses cannot exceed 10 because Vilma would be forced to remove his socks to count that high, which would be a violation of the court dress code.”


    Really, that is the best you have. Both of his parents are doctors, he has an MBA, teaches personal finance to other players during the off season and speaks five languages. You live in your parents basement……

  24. There’s only one question, witnesses, testimonies are a waste of time. The only question facing the court is whether or not the current CBA is contracturally legitimate and does Goodell have the authority to uphold the terms of that contract which stipulates he is authorized to arbitrate actions as seen to be detrimental to the NFL and were the guidelines of that contract followed. It is an AGREEMENT that Vilma, Brees, D. smith and every player of the NfFL has. Signed and agreed to even though the Steelers voted against it. Just as Barack Obama is still your President, regardless of whether you voted for him or not. The “contract” at issue CLEARLY states that Roger Goodell, acting as The Commissioner of the NFL has said authority, like it or not. It’s not the U.S. Justice system, it is a CORPORATE ENTERPRISE of which 32 Team Owners appointed Mr. Goodell as Commissioner. Tough tittie said the kitty, but the milk sure is sweet.

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