Jonathan Vilma’s statement in response to renewed bounty discipline

[Editor’s note:  The lawyer representing Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Peter Ginsberg, has released a statement in response to his renewed bounty discipline.  The full statement appears below.]

Commissioner Goodell has crafted a “revised punishment” that continues his previous grossly misplaced interpretation of the “evidence.” What the Commissioner did today is not justice, nor just. The suspension has the fingerprints of lawyers trying to fit a square peg into a round hole to appease an Appeals Panel decision ordering the Commissioner to pay attention to his authority under the CBA. Someone needs to tell the Commissioner directly that his duties also include being true to the evidence, to fundamental notions of due process and to the integrity of the game. That time hopefully will come soon.

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.

Jonathan Vilma did not offer a bounty or any incentive to any teammate to injure an opposing player. 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. And to make matters worse, the Commissioner blatantly ignores other evidence that shows Jonathan did not do what the Commissioner, again, accuses him of doing. As but one example, Jonathan’s bank records show that he did not withdraw $10,000 from his account at any time during the 2009 playoffs (or at any other time), the time period when the Commissioner claims Jonathan offered that amount of money as a bounty on Kurt Warner and Brett Favre. Consistent with the Commissioner’s disregard of the evidence, he did not even request to see the bank records showing this fact.

As another example, in the sworn statements of Williams and Mike Cerullo, the people the Commissioner found “credible,” Cerullo swore under oath that he turned Jonathan’s $10,000 over to Williams after the Warner game when no one “earned the bounty,” and before the Favre game. Williams swears he never received any money from Cerullo or anyone else.

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

7 responses to “Jonathan Vilma’s statement in response to renewed bounty discipline

  1. Vilma got a HUGE gift from the commish in the form of $600,000 of salary. He should take his licks now and shut up. If he really wants someone to blame for this, blame all the retired players that are suing the league forcing them to come down hard, i.e. his “brothers in arms”.

  2. Speaking of Goodell 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.

  3. People’s think money should take care of everything, Roger Goodell thank just because he letting Vilma get paid for the time he put in as a gift. These players has money Roger Goodell they just not going to let you throw them a bone like they dogs, any man in his right mind going to spend this much money fighting you Roger Goodell if they did what you said they done that would be dumb. The reason why you are doing the Saints players like this because they are fighting for their freedom, and you can’t stand it because you think you are god with a small g. May God forbid if you really think you are God with a capitol G. I hope you not playing with GOD because he knows all things he knows who lying and knows who telling the truth. So Roger Goodell you not anyone God not even yourself.

  4. Never before have i seen people go to such great lengths to avoid punishment for something everyone with any sense knows they are obviously guilty of. Call Williams a whistle-blower but he spilled the beans and now Vilma and crew are scrambling. And for Mr. Clean Cut Drew Brees, he should keep his mouth shut if it doesn’t involve him. He has 52 other guys that are trying to get to .500 and he should be focusing on that rather than lamenting the terrible injustice being perpetrated against Vilma et al. The head coach, assistant coach, and GM took their lumps without making an uproar…why can’t Vilma?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!