Vilma asks Goodell to recuse himself as all four Saints file appeals


As expected, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s idea of a compromise has not satisfied the four players who were suspended in the league’s investigation of the Saints’ bounty program.

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensie end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove have filed appeals of the new punishments that Goodell announced this week. Filing appeals is the players’ right within the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and this is no surprise.

One interesting aspect of the appeal, noted by Albert Breer of NFL Network, is that Vilma has asked Goodell to recuse himself. Vilma has sued Goodell for defamation and has made no secret of his personal animosity for Goodell, and now Vilma apparently feels that Goodell has lost the ability to deal with him fairly.

When Goodell announced that he would allow Vilma to collect six weeks’ pay while still sitting out the season, that Fujita’s suspension would be cut from three games to one and that Hargrove would only have to serve two games of his suspension when and if he signs with another team, it was presented by the NFL as Goodell’s effort to find some middle ground. But it’s always been clear that the players don’t think they deserve to be suspended at all, and will continue to fight. This fight won’t end any time soon.

63 responses to “Vilma asks Goodell to recuse himself as all four Saints file appeals

  1. Vilma, as a member of a union which willingly voted to endorse a CBA that clearly gave this authority to Roger Goodell, needs to accept that Goodell DOES have this authority.

    You’ve had your due proceedure, which you lost.

    Now sit down, shut up, and accept your punishment.

  2. Vilma was involved in a “pay-for-play” system from 1986 through 1992, giving cash rewards for acts such as scoring touchdowns and big hits.[1] This allegation was verified in the subsequent NCAA investigation, which also found that the “head football coach and the associate director of athletics for compliance and internal operations were aware” of the payments.[2]

    Michael David Smith: Vilma was 4 years old in 1986.

  3. Give them all the”Greg Williams” treatment!

    Maybe he should suspend the Media from these guys, then we could finally get some silence from these idiots.

  4. Roger the dodger, will next want to be called emperor. This judge, jury and executioner is too much. Fire this ego maniac

  5. something in that saints defensive locker room was overly macho for normal ears. but it wasn’t what goodell thinks it was. in general, goodell’s mind just doesn’t know how to process player bravado when he gets up close to it. that inability to relate is his problem. and it’s a problem he brings to the table in policing this game.

  6. If the evidence they presented was

    1. Testimony of a bitter ex employee that got a cubic zirconia Super Bowl ring

    2. Testimony of a disgraced former coach who got leniency on his sentence less than a week after he testified

    3. Hearsay from somebody WHO DIDN’T EVEN PLAY ON YOUR TEAM

    would you “sit down and take your punishment?”


  7. Funny stuff. Godell has no animosity for Vilma, which can not be said vice versa. Actually probably feels sorry for him and is being lienent. Vilma just fanning the coals. When is he going to ask Jesse Jackson to join his fight. He has used every other card. I hope this goes back to the courts and the judge rules that all the testimony be made public for painfully obvious reasons. The team will implode from inside when he learns current players and coaches ratted him out. That will teach Vilma. Saints fans will hate him then for not just manning up.

  8. Every day that goes by w/o Goodell owning up to his botched investigation and creation of evidence, makes him look more and more like a DOUCHE

  9. Haha. Another article to bring out all of the internet experts who think they know all about football and the Saints. Oh, and all of those that will read the article and post about how they are sick of hearing about it.

  10. Lets see….the HCoach, out one year because he is INNOCENT? Hemmmmm

    The DC out for good because there was “nothing to see here!” HMMMMM

    The GM out half the year…….and so on…….

    The guys above don’t willingly accept the punishment IF THEY KNEW THEY WERENT GUILTY!!!!

    They would have fought it in court, in the court of public opinion, etc etc had there been NO evidence…….THEY KNEW IT. They were caught……

    So the players are just trying to cloud the bigger issue and get away with it.

    Brees and Fujita embarass themselves every time they speak up…….hey Drew: WHY ARE YOUR COACHES NOT FIGHTING THIS IF NOTHING HAPPENED?

    Because it did, and you and Fujita are part of the union.

    Thank God we have a tough commissioner……last thing we need is a great league to be run by the players…….what a joke that would be!!!!

    Go get em Roger!!!!!

  11. What happened in college should not weigh on his current case, maybe that is why Goodell decided to single him out because of his past… Either way Goodell better come up with some hard evidence after all this, I mean he literally gave Fujita a one game suspension to CYA if you know what that stands for. Seems the wheels are falling off his case unless as I previously stated he has hard evidence he hasn’t released.

  12. Why would Goodall recuse himself when he brought in, independent outside legal experts to examine the testamoney and evidence and BOTH experts agreed a bounty system took place and both gave Goodall the same conclusions.
    Goodall make the decisions to suspend since no one else has that authority but he did it knowing full well, a bounty took place and who participated in it.
    I have no proof but I would go so far to say there had to be two people giving evidence and that evidence was identical.
    I mean if it was only one person, you could say that maybe they were wrong or didn’t know it all. But when you have two collaborating each others story that cements the deal. I think Goodall has cement or he wouldn’t be going this far.

  13. “I think Goodall has cement or he wouldn’t be going this far.”

    The same could be said for the Saints players who won’t just accept it like so many of you think they should.

  14. I totally agree with the analyst that Goodall came into the league with marching orders from the owners to clean up the mess. The drugs, arrest, dwi’s, the injury issues.
    They all agree he has done a lot to turn things around and has shown he will suspend players for conduct detrimental to the game. I agree, he has cleaned things up. We still have the idiots doing drugs and getting suspended but not like before.
    There is a lot less of them behaving badly these days. Some like Jolly, are totally out of football and should be.

  15. What a waste of time. Take your punshment and be a man.

    I’m sorry to all you Saints fans who think the rest of the world is hating on you….but you need to wake up. This isn’t a courtroom, there is no due process…the players gave Goodell the authority to do this, and he has.

    For all of the “injustice” you decry, keep in mind that you don’t hear a word out of Loomis, Payton, Vitt or Williams. I wasn’t there and neither were you. I’m going to guess that Roger Goodell is more informed than either of us.

  16. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if I never saw Vilma play again. He’s wasting his time with this whole vendetta against Goodell instead of preparing to play football again. Whether you agree with it or not Vilma, it’s not going to change a thing. Just rehab and prepare for next year or you may never have another chance to play again.

  17. “I’ve said bad things about this person and sued them. Therefore they should recluse themselves.”

    That’s a good strategy. It pretends to make sense and gives a glimmer of hope that people won’t think you did what you did.

    But you did, and we all know it except for Saints fans.

  18. There’s a lot to be said for Goodell recusing himself because there would be an obvious bias on appeal (who wants to overturn a decision he/she made, essentially saying, yeah, I was wrong?), but then again, it’s the players own union that approved a CBA that gives Goodell that much authority. Do you really expect to find sympathy now?

  19. ***ernie ernie says:
    Oct 12, 2012 10:20 AM
    Why would Goodall recuse himself when he brought in, independent outside legal experts to examine the testamoney and evidence and BOTH experts agreed a bounty system took place and both gave Goodall the same conclusions.***

    Please tell me you’re not talkink about Mary-Jo White, the one that already worked for the NFL before this mess, and got caught lying a few times in favor of the NFL (remember the “we can see Hargrove’s lips moving” ??).

  20. Also the NFLPA is made up of players from all teams and represent all players. Do y’all really think they would be backing these players if they thought for a minute they they were guilty. Come on people get real!!!!

  21. the only mistake Goodell made was softening the punishments…. there was no way these players were going to be satisfied so there was no point in backing off….

    these guys should just take their punishment…

  22. No integrity. You put hits on players and fallowed threw on it. Rescue some morality and f’n tell the frigen truth. But that’s how our country goes now a days. Anything goes. Sickening.

  23. When all is said and done we will have a new commish and believe me folks in the long run it will be better for the league. As much as many of you want not to believe he screwed this up royally. The courts will settle this and the NFL won’t be happy with the outcome.

  24. Vilma should just try and recruit the refs from last Sunday nights game, I’m sure they would be willing to him another favor.

  25. Let me get this straight.. repeatedly insult a man, call him a liar (in court, too), and then insist he’s lost the ability to deal with you fairly..

    Interesting approach.

    Perhaps Mr. Vilma should recuse himself of legal strategy… or better yet, speaking.

  26. People who are sick of hearing about this on-going bounty junk need to remember one thing — the original accusations have proven to be false. There was no pay-to-injure bounty program in every game for three seasons, like Goodell intentionally lead you to believe. It’s not even clear that it occurred in just one game three years ago. And for that, the Saints are forced to play the whole season without their head coach? When Goodell imposes the harshest punishment in the history of the NFL over nothing, then expect it to be challenged relentlessly.

  27. Sorry, the players shouldn’t of agreed to it in the CBA if they didn’t want Goodell to be apart of the appeals process. The only people they should be mad about is all the uniformed players and D. Smith for allowing this to be signed off on in the CBA.

  28. “imposes the harshest punishment in the history of the NFL over nothing, then expect it to be challenged relentlessly.” > Agree

    “the original accusations have proven to be false” – by who? where? Because a judge questions the authority of the NFL to invoke the suspensions? because ESPN said so? > Strongly disagree. They haven’t been proven true, either, save for a signed statement by one of the suspended coaches.

    “It’s not even clear that it occurred in just one game three years ago.” > Agree – very little is clear about what actually happened.

    Maybe we’ll never know. But I do know the coaches aren’t fighting these suspensions, and it speaks volumes.

  29. I would have a lot more respect for Vilma’s if he were trying to profess his innocence instead of attacking in the process in which he was caught by Goodell.

  30. Everyone knows that Goodell does not need real evidence and whoever he accuses is guilty and they should all just man up and fess up and take their lumps because Goodell knows who has been naughty and who has been nice and it is just common sense that if you have as much power as Goodell you are always right, especially if you keep saying what you believe over and over on ESPN. Goodell is catching people with their hand in the cookie jar left and right because he has affadavits from disgruntled ex-employees with conflicting statements about which hand was in which cookie jar when and video tapes that show people backs moving when they confess.

  31. mellish225 says:
    Oct 12, 2012 10:04 AM
    You got caught with your hand in the cookie jar, Saints! Man up, fess up and shut up!


    Yet another fan that believes everything someone tells him despite evidence showing something else. Man up, fess up, and shut up!

  32. Getting paid for six weeks during this process is tantamount to a 10 game suspension instead of the year he was originally given. Vilma should take his money and go away already.

  33. I am happy Jonathan Vilma is continuing with this fight against Roger Goodell. He’s only adding to the Karma that will rock the team and any team he plays for after this season. So go head, Mr. Vilma. Continue with your stupidity by claiming you did nothing wrong and bullying reporters. All bad deeds are eventually answered.

  34. If there is no evidence of anything illegal occuring within the rules of the NFL/CBA, if this is all contrived/made up/fabricated/embellished by Roger Goodell then doesn’t it make sense that the individual (Sean Payton) who received the harshest punishment would disput this and fight the most? If nothing occured then why in addition to Sean Payton not fighting or appealing has Loomis, Vitt, Williams not appealed? Why is it just prima donna players?

  35. You notice how this story gets no traction now that the regular season is here. See half or more of the NFL world doesn’t pay any attention to football from the SUper Bowl until the regular season, save for the draft. And now that these articles are being read by the whole NFL fanbase, now the public support has swayed to the NFL’s side. I can’t see at this point what more proof someone could want to see to believe that they deserve suspensions. Nobody is banning them for life. If you want to fight for something like this, go fight for Shoeless Joe Jackson to be reinstated by MLB so he can be elected to the HOF. After all there is significant proof that even though he agreed and took money to throw the 1919 world series that he didn’t actually go through with it. One fact would be that he had no errors in the series and had a higher batting avg than he carried during the regular season. Honestly he’s worth fighting for, one of the greatest baseball players ever. These guys are just hacks. If it wasn’t for this scandal, they would be footnotes in NFL history. If not for the scandal in 20 years nobody would know who Vilma was. Now he’s secured his place in NFL history!

  36. 69finfan says:
    ” If nothing occured then why in addition to Sean Payton not fighting or appealing has Loomis, Vitt, Williams not appealed? Why is it just prima donna players?”
    Sheesh, do you actually read… everyone knows that the players have a union to back them but the coaches have no union…actually GODell is their union and they have to comply to get back to coaching and in Sean Payton’s case, one of only 32 jobs like that in the world so of course they aren’t going to say a thing if they want that back!!

  37. Seriously? Ask the commish to not hear the appeal? That’s not possible is it? Even if Goodell wanted to, he is required by the CBA to be the appeals arbitrator in this type of matter. It’s pretty simple’s a legal maneuver. And another attempt to skirt the rules by Vilma. Is it possible that this guy has been breaking rules and disrespecting unwritten rules his whole life, and being given special treatment to the point that he doesn’t understand that he has no chance here? See for most of us to pursue a case like this we wouldn’t have the money for a lawyer. So IF we had a case the lawyer would agree to take 1/3 of the settlement. But see if you have money to pay a lawyer by the hour, he’ll do whatever you want. Whatever you tell him do within reason. That includes endlessly pursuing a case that has very little legal merit to it. It amazes me how some athletes can not adjust when they have to start following life’s rules.

  38. miles58a says:
    Oct 12, 2012 11:03 AM
    Also the NFLPA is made up of players from all teams and represent all players. Do y’all really think they would be backing these players if they thought for a minute they they were guilty. Come on people get real!!!!
    Actually the Union really has no choice but to back them up on this. Unless they had something in the Bylaws that states that in this particular instance union protection does not apply.

    What the Union should do is kick everyone involved out for contracting injury to fellow union brothers. Let these guys try to play in the league without union protection.

  39. Just shut already Vilma. I wish their was a gag order on the process because he sounds like a broken drum now.

  40. Now maybe if their QB Drew Breese would stop taking pictures of his YOUKNOWWHAT and sending them to jen stager and play some football instead.. lol

  41. Vilma should recuse himself from the press. Is it every time a microphone is within his vicinity, he needs to open his yapper? Makes him look weak, whiny & unsympathetic to everyone who isn’t a Saints fan.

  42. If the league had legit evidence of a bounty program (not pay for performance which he has no jurisdiction over), the NFL wouldn’t have changed the suspensions. Now they’re trying to save face after screwing up the investigation and subsequent hearings by not providing all if the evidence and not following due process. Goods for the players, I hope the cba rules work out for them. I say this as an eagles fan, not giving a crap about the saints.

  43. I keep hearing all the Saints fans saying there is NO evidence and that all evidence has been disproved. What about the statements that Goodell put in all the suspension letters that all four players admitted to ‘cart offs’. Not one player is denying that they admitted to this. Whether you like it or not, this is Goodell’s definition of ‘bounty.’ It appears that the judge in the court case also agrees that rewarding a player for causing a cart off constitutes a bounty. They may not have intentionally tried to injure the player who was carted off, but when they got rewarded for causing that injury, that reward became a bounty.

  44. If the NFLPA had negotiated a more suitable (to them) punishment that removes the comissioner from the process, they would have had to give up something major in return.

    The grand purpose of the lawsuits is to render the punishment part of the CBA permanantly impotent. If they win in court, the NFLPA will likely try to dictate an acceptible process for (minimal) player punishment without having to give up anything in return.

  45. Hey Vilma,

    If you have a problem with the process you’re being suspended under, how ’bout you start pointing fingers at EVERYONE involved?

    The union leadership refused to sacrifice anything in exchange for Goodell losing his authority over discipline procedures- and on top of that, continued to neglect their duties when the salary cap came up for calculation this year (but that’s a story for another day). Vilma won’t get anywhere trying to get to Goodell through the courts for the sole reason that this was collectively bargained.

    The ONLY players who have ground to complain about the current system is the Steelers. You don’t like it? Wait 8 years when the CBA comes up for negotiation next.

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