Vilma calls appointment of Tagliabue “a good first step”

Getty Images

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has borrowed, sort of, the punch line to the old joke about a busload of lawyers at the bottom of the ocean when commenting on the decision of Commissioner Roger Goodell to hand the bounty appeal baton to former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

It’s a good first step,” Vilma told Jeff Darlington of NFL Network, “for Paul to be the neutral arbitrator.”

The key word is neutral.  If Vilma’s lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, and/or the NFLPA believe that Tagliabue won’t be neutral, then it will be a problem.

“We expect that [Tagliabue will] do things in a neutral capacity that will allow us to cross examine some of the witnesses,” Vilma said.  “See some evidence.”

The reality is that Ginsberg and Jeffrey Kessler, the primary NFLPA outside counsel, will refrain from taking any position on Tagliabue until having a chance to hear from Tagliabue regarding his plan for the October 30 appeal hearing.  If they get the sense that Tagliabue won’t be neutral, objective, and/or impartial, they’ll likely fight the appointment.  If they like what they hear, they possibly will accept Tagliabue as the arbitrator.

It’s smart lawyering.  Why complain without getting a chance to take Tagliabue’s temperature?  If, for example, he says that key witnesses like former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former Saints assistant Mike Cerullo won’t be required to testify, then they’ll know to fight the appointment.  If, alternatively, they get the impression based on Tagliabue’s comments that he plans to require the league to prove its case, they may overlook factors that otherwise would cause them concern.

18 responses to “Vilma calls appointment of Tagliabue “a good first step”

  1. I really wish this guy would just shut up and take his punishment. His coach is setting a great example by staying out of the media, why cant Vilma?

  2. Tagliabue hears the facts and makes an objective decision that there really wasn’t a bounty program.

    ALL suspensions are reversed (including Sean Payton’s)

    Vilma wins his defamation case vs. Goodell.

    Goodell loses his job in the offseason.

  3. Why can’t the players see the “evidence” that Roger Goodell claims he has?

    Why can’t the players cross examine the “witnesses” the NFL claims to rely upon in handing down the suspensions?

    The witnesses are two former employees of the Saints.

    The first, Cerullo, was fired for gross dereliction of his duties and went AWOL on the team on two occasions. He was also given a cubic zirconia Super Bowl ring and his “ledger book” has more holes in it than Swiss Cheese and the Saints Defense and has provided a sworn statement that does not jive with the statement given by Williams.

    The second, Williams, was not renewed by the Saints as the Defensive Coordinator, was supposedly deeply involved in the “pay for performance” pool, kept the money in a lock box that has disappeared, was suspended indefinitely by Goodell, was “sent” on a hiking trip to Thailand so that he could not be issued with a subpoena and has provided a sworn statement that does not jive with the statement given by Cerullo.

    Fairness should win out. Goodell has no real evidence of a bounty / pay for injury scheme because such a program did not exist.

  4. Since nothing has been posted about it yet, congrats to the Vikings. Cards fan here, and the Vikings truly earned that win right out of the gate.

  5. All you people who want this to go away, the best way to make that happen is to shine the light of day on it. Let the players see the ‘evidence’ and defend themselves in a fair and transparent manner. Goodell’s insistence on secrecy here is what has kept this thing rolling for so long. If the NFL insists on keeping secrets and not allowing the accusers to testify, this fares will continue to go on and on. It’s like the saying, if you want peace work for justice.

  6. I hate goodell more than most, but I actually back him on this, and unlike most I am not flip flopping.

    All I hear is how wrong and dispicable this was, and how bounties have no place…..then everyone flops on it, and its ok….and Vilma is a victim.

    I was appalled when the NFL let him play today, hope they tack games onto his suspension, and then let the NFL sue him.

  7. “You can’t handle the truth!” Says the NFL Fanbase. Get over it. Take what Tag’s doles out. He always was way more lenient than Goddell.

  8. This will never go away. They will fight this to the bitter end. League will lose face, players will stay suspended and lawyers will buy villas someplace warm.

  9. A good first step would be for Vilma to shut his cry baby mouth up and take his punishment like and adult!! Hell at this point I’d like to see this clown permanently banned from the NFL

  10. Tagliabue is here to pull the plug on this mess. By week 9 every body will be back players an coaches to. all the Law suits will be dropped an the suspentions will all be time served. Tagliabue would have never put him self in this mess if he wasnt there to bring a quick end to it all

  11. Let me get this skraite. Ginger, the current NFL commish is hiring the retired NFL commish Tags to act as a “go between” to hear the Bounty appeal hearings? Why? Why hire someone else to do your job, Ginger? Is it because this wont go away and your looking more and more everyday, like an idiot? All the accused wants is to see the evidence,,,due process. I mean your taking away an entire years worth of salary. Each player should have his day in court, either you do it or their lawyers will do it.

  12. Goodell did the right thing when he suspended the Saints. But he did it the wrong way. I DONT LIKE GOODELL AT ALL. Tagliabue man it nice to hear anything from him.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.