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Halo 06-18-2012 12:53 PM

Vilma walks out of appeal with Goodell - NFL
 
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Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma walked out of a hearing with the NFL on appeal of his year long suspension saying, "the process is not fair."

Vilma's attorney, Peter Ginsberg, says the NFL requested an adjournment to Monday afternoon, but he and Vilma refused. Ginsberg says Commissioner Roger Goodell failed to present the evidence on which he based his decision to impose the player's suspension.

Vilma says he doesn't know how he can get a fair hearing when Goodell is "judge, jury and executioner."

From WWL.com

UPDATE FROM USA TODAY - The three other suspended players Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith arrived at roughly 10 a.m. with NFLPA lawyers Tom DePaso and Richard Smith. The three players hustled past media without comment but issued a statement via email 10 minutes prior to arriving:
Quote:

We have purportedly been disciplined by the Commissioner for alleged activities that the National Football League has grossly misrepresented to the public.

We are in attendance today not because we recognize the Commissioner's jurisdiction to adjudicate regarding these specious allegations, but because we believe the League would attempt to publicly mischaracterize our refusal to attend. We will not address the substance of the NFL's case because this is not the proper venue for adjudication, and there has been no semblance of due process afforded to us.

As veteran players of 11, 9 and 9 years in this League, we are profoundly disappointed with the NFL's conduct in this matter. We know what the NFL has publicly said we did, and the Commissioner has chosen to try to punish us and disparage our characters based on semantics, not facts. Words are cheap and power is fleeting.

Shame on the National Football League and Commissioner Goodell for being more concerned about 'convicting' us publicly than being honorable and fair to men who have dedicated their professional lives to playing this game with honor.
From USA TODAY

TheOak 06-18-2012 01:21 PM

Saints bounties: Vilma hearing breaks up - NFL - SI.com

NEW YORK (AP) - Suspended Saints player Jonathan Vilma left an appeals hearing with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after about an hour Monday, denying he had a role in New Orleans' bounty program and saying the process is unfair.

The linebacker's attorney, Peter Ginsberg, said the NFL requested an adjournment to Monday afternoon, but he and Vilma refused. Ginsberg called the hearing "a sham'' and said Goodell failed to present the evidence on which he based his decision to impose Vilma's season-long suspension.

"Roger Goodell has taken three months to tear down what I built over eight years. It's tough to swallow. I have been linked to a bounty and it simply is not true,'' Vilma said.

"I don't know how I can get a fair process when he is the judge, jury and executioner. You're assuming it will be fair, but it's not.''

Three other players were scheduled to have their appeals heard Monday afternoon: Saints defensive end Will Smith, docked for four games; Green Bay defensive end Anthony Hargrove, suspended for eight games; and Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita, set to miss three games.

Those players and Vilma all were on the Saints roster when then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, by his own admission, ran a pay-for-pain operation that handed out cash bonuses for big hits on targeted opponents.

Lawyers for all the players and the NFL Players Association were on hand for Monday's hearing. The union recently lost two grievances challenging Goodell's authority to hand out discipline for the bounty system.

Smith, Hargrove, and Fujita and their attorneys all arrived together. Vilma and his lawyer showed up separately.

Smith, Hargrove and Fujita issued a joint statement saying they were attending the hearing not because they were admitting to being part of the bounty program - or because they believed Goodell had the right to punish them - but because they felt the league "would attempt to publicly mischaracterize our refusal to attend.''

"Shame on the National Football League and Commissioner Goodell for being more concerned about `convicting' us publicly than being honorable and fair to men who have dedicated their professional lives to playing this game with honor,'' the three players said.

The NFL turned over evidence to the four players and the union on Friday, as required by the collective bargaining agreement. That information included some 200 pages of documents, with emails, power-point presentations, even handwritten notes, plus one video recording. But a ledger that reportedly documents payments of $1,000 for plays called "cart-offs'' and $400 for "whacks,'' as well as $100 fines for mental errors, was not in the material.

Previously, Goodell suspended Saints coach Sean Payton for the season and assistant coach Joe Vitt for six games. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis got eight games, while Williams - now with the St. Louis Rams - was suspended indefinitely.

The NFL's investigation of the Saints found Williams ran a system for three years under which payouts were set on specific opponents, including Brett Favre and Kurt Warner. The program was in effect from 2009, when New Orleans won the Super Bowl, until last season.

---

AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this story.

Read more: Saints bounties: Vilma hearing breaks up - NFL - SI.com

TheOak 06-18-2012 01:28 PM

I still contend that the problem is Greg Williams. He confessed after being beat up with a phonebook that things took place, but the league cant find any evidence to support those claims...

The missing piece of all of this puzzle is "what has Greg Williams actually been telling the league to support his reinstatement."

I find it extremely difficult to believe that Greg has not steered the league on possible places they can find what they are looking for. That dude wants his career back.

darstep 06-18-2012 01:29 PM

It just looks like they will will be seeking justice through the courts.

saintfan 06-18-2012 01:29 PM

Give 'em hell Jon. I wish my support was worth something dude, because I'm behind you 1000 percent.

|Mitch| 06-18-2012 01:37 PM

Is it wrong for me to pray that this comes back to bite Roger in the ass in the future?

sharke 06-18-2012 01:55 PM

A lot of this will bite Goodell in the ass sooner or later. Kind of interested to see the blowback large or small down the road.

Danno 06-18-2012 02:15 PM

Hey Roger, see you in court... bring your checkbook.

saintfan 06-18-2012 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Danno (Post 412886)
Hey Roger, see you in court... bring your checkbook.

I sure as hell hope this is how it plays out.

TheOak 06-18-2012 02:35 PM

What is there to take up in the courts? Besides defamation and slander?

Stephen Burbank already upheld Goodells power to suspend as he sees fit.

I do not see any legal court deciding otherwise. The CBA gave that power to Goodell.


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