Werder defends report of NFL offer to Vilma

The battle lines were drawn early Monday.  ESPN’s Ed Werder, Adam Schefter, and Chris Mortenson jointly reported that the NFL has offered to slice Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s suspension from 16 games to eight.  The NFL denied the report, adamantly.

Werder addressed the situation during an appearance on ESPN’s NFL Live.

“As we reported, settlement discussions have taken place,” Werder said.  “Was there a formal offer?  Was there a hypothetical offer?  I don’t think anybody can be quite sure exactly the form this took.  And while the NFL has vehemently denied the accuracy of the story at all, I can tell you that the other side — the sources who provided this information to us last night — have been equally adamant that we stand our ground, that the information is correct, that there have been settlement discussions, and that the NFL has offered to significantly lessen Jonathan Vilma’s suspension is he agrees to drop the defamation suit.”

That’s a fair and accurate response.  And Werder maybe should have stopped right there.  Because he thereafter opted to riff, and it made him seem more than a little defensive.

“Now, lawyers are obviously expert and make millions of dollars manipulating semantics so there’s no question some of that may be involved here,” Werder said, with a gratuitously inaccurate generalization that:  (1) all lawyers are rich; and (2) all lawyers manipulate semantics.  (Actually, only the rich ones do.)  “And as a reporter I can tell you that, you know, the Cowboys vehemently denied my Terrell Owens story a couple of years ago and insisted Jerry Jones did that he remain on the team, and three months later he was released, despite an enormous salary cap hit.”

First, the cap hit actually wasn’t enormous.  Second, it appears that Jerry Jones possibly has purchased the spot next to Cowboy Chris inside Werder’s head.

We don’t doubt the accuracy of the Werdscheftenson report.  And we think that the dispute is a matter of semantics.  No formal offer was made, but an eight-game reduction was (and still may be) available.

Still, Werder may have gone a bit too far in painting lawyers with a broad brush and then pointing to a three-year-old scoreboard.

(Photo credit:  ESPNMediaZone.com)

22 responses to “Werder defends report of NFL offer to Vilma

  1. Werder’s make believe ‘sources’ and half truths have been well documented.

    he is the NFLs version of Peter Vescey and Chris Broussard.

    i remember him reporting, ‘i just spoke with Terry Glenn… and he’s on his way to camp’

    less than 30 minutes later, Glenn called into The Ticket (Dallas Radio) and said he ‘never even met the guy’.

    not to mention the TO vs Jason Witten fist fight that never happened.

    Werder is a clown. im a Cowboys fan (unfortunately), and this game has grown tired over the years. the news that he’s moving off his Dallas assignment was music to my ears.

  2. In other words…

    Werdscheftenson earlier: The sky is GREEN!

    Werder later: Is it actually “green”? Well, there may be some semantics going on… if you take the blue sky and the yellow sun, those two colors make green. But our sources stand by what they told us and they say it’s correct.

  3. Ginsberg filed a brief in court saying the NFL leaked settlement talks. He’s not doing that if the talks never happened. Roger and his minions lie, they blatantly did so today, and it’d be awesome if ESPN would actually say that.

  4. Per Ed Werder: “Why you coming down so hard on me? Don’t you remember Herbstreit’s Les Miles story??? Besides…I WORK FOR ESPN!!!!”.

  5. I’m just throwing this out there….is it possible someone from Vilma’s camp, his attorney maybe, could’ve leaked something like this to ESPN…even if it weren’t true? Knowing that they would run with the story? This thing between Vilma and Goodell has gotten ugly…..wouldn’t it make the NFL look weak and make it look like they had no defense against Vilma’s defamation suit if they offered to reduce the suspension if he dropped the suit?

    I’m just sayin’.

  6. “Borderline ridiculous” is what the federal judge already said about Goodell’s pathetic “evidence” against Vilma. What else will we learn about Goodell from Vilma’s lawyer when this gets to court? No way it will though, because Goodell knows he’ll lose when the whole truth comes out. He has to make whatever deal necessary to stay out of court. A package deal including Payton, Vitt, Loomis and Smith for time already served? Knowing Vilma, I don’t see him settling for anything less. Vilma calls Goodell’s bluff and wins.

  7. Another classic case where a reporter makes the news vs reporting the news!

    Why is ESPN always behind this?

  8. Something doesn’t add up here.

    Vilma’s team is trying to sue the NFL claiming they leaked news about a potential settlement yet the NFL denies it, and yet it is Vilma’s legal team that is insisting the the story is true.

    Who does this story benefit, Vilma or the NFL? My gut tells me the Vilma’s team was the source of the leaks trying to make the NFL’s case appear weak to the judge who will hear the case this week and to the public.

  9. Vilma filed a brief claiming the NFL leaked settlement talk info. The NFL denied it (I can’t remember if they denied leaking the info or if they denied the talks altogether–regardless, this shows who is attempting to manipulate the system). The “reporter(s)” who broke the story just cited Vilma’s team as the source of the report and claimed they are adamant the reporter stand his ground with the report. Vilma’s lawyer has already been sanctioned in FL for unethical shenanigans and it appears this may be more of the same. This just makes me believe Vilma even less. He looks like a kid that got caught and is trying everything to deflect responsibility. It is quite obvious that Vilma’s team is actually being shady while trying to convince the judge and the public that the league is underhanded.

  10. Actually, Vilma’s lawyer has asked the Judge to investigate the source of the leak.

    If you read the stories they all say “league sources”, pointing the finger at the NFL.

    Try to keep up!

  11. People believe what they want to believe. No matter how black and white it is, no matter how clear. Conspiracy theory? The NFL is making this all up because of a concussion lawsuit? The NFL is just picking on the Saints? Whatever. I have no doubt bounties happen around the NFL, but I doubt anyone has a program quite like the Saints did. I had no problem with the Saints, I kind of actually liked the team until I watched them throughout the 2009 season. It was very clear there was some extra incentive for extremely aggressive by the Saints. Didn’t know they were getting paid for it, but it sure seemed the players were being taught to injure other players, and after the 2009 playoff game against the Vikings there was no doubt. I hated Gregg Williams all that year. I am all for aggressive play, but when any coach talks explicitly of injuring a player (take out that outside ACL), I have a major problem with it. ACL injuries are potential career ending injuries, and there is no place in the game for that kind of talk. Anyone who believes the NFL doesn’t have substantial proof this went on for the last 3 years is in denial. This kind of thing makes the NFL look bad, so why would they bring it to light? The Saints were warned in 2009 and they continued thinking the NFL would not bring this kind of negative publicity on itself, but they did. Kudos to the commissioner for that. I have lost all respect I had for the Saints. Add on to it the Drew Brees saga and it just gets worse.

    There are some things in the NFL that need to change no doubt. I don’t agree with so much of what the NFL has imposed in the last few years. Taking away end zone celebrations. Players can’t celebrate with their teammates anymore… not like they should be able to. The hits on a defenseless receiver. You can’t drill a WR to jar the ball loose anymore, you have to let them catch it, then hit them, then you can’t hit them too hard or it’s a personal foul. Roughing the QB. The NFL is almost asking the defense to lay down a pillow and blanket for the QB before they ‘lay them gently’ on the ground. NFL games in other countries. Do you know how taxing it is on the body to travel 12 hours by plane and then play a 3 hour game the next day? I know it’s a business, but it’s not going to get accepted everywhere as a mainstream sport where they already have Rugby and Soccer, and American football is despised. I love football. It’s sad to see it destroyed by so many unnecessary rules and regulations that ruin the integrity of the sport.

  12. Wait, so Werder is saying that the NFL is basing their hardline stance that there was no offer for a settlement on the semantics involving the word “offer?”

    Could you imagine the NFL interpreting events so strictly just based on their definition of a word?

  13. The nfl knows their evidence wouldnt hold up in court, the saints know their guilty. Meet in the middle and end it.

  14. Every lawyer manipulates semantics. And, yeah, not all of them are rich, but neither are ALL of the players, yet the same organization Werder was lashing out at (the NFL) tries to make you think that whenever there are labor negotiations, despite the fact that ALL of the owners ARE rich.

  15. The NFL said that the report of the offer was innacurate, like the details weren’t right, they never said that the offer was never made. But I still don’t see what the NFL is doing? Vilma is suing Goodell, not the NFL. There should be no offer from the NFL they aren’t even a part of the lawsuit. I wonder how the owners like Goodell running up their lawyers tab? Like many have said before, if goodell had the evidence then no offer would be made. It was all blown way out of proportion by goodell and now it is coming back to bite him.

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