Archive for the ‘NFL legal issues’ Category

Vilma set to sue NFL commissioner Roger Goodell

May 19, 2012

Vilma (on the right), set to take on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (on the left).

Hello World,

Those of you who are National Football League fans are aware of the predicament of the New Orleans Saints franchise. They have been investigated by the National Football League, for being part of “bounty gate.” What is “bounty gate?” The NFL describes why the Saints are charged with bounty gate. The NFL said that the New Orleans Saints defensive team operated a pay for performance program, also known as bounty gate. This program was mainly funded by players, and former defensive coordinator Greg Williams, from 2009-2011.  Under the program, players from the New Orleans Saints put money into a pool, and rewarded players for making good plays, and penalized players for bad plays. Players were also rewarded for injuring certain players, particularly at the quarterback position. It is speculated that bounties were placed on quarterback Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Cam Newton, and Aaron Rodgers. However, the National Football League does not have any solid evidences for players putting money into a pool, and forming the alleged bounty program.

Once the National Football League decided to convey to the public that the New Orleans Saints participated in bounty gate, they would have to penalize the Saints organization. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed out a severe punishment to the New Orleans Saints, and got the attention of the entire league. He fined the league maximum of five hundred thousand to the Saints, and docked two second round picks. He suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton for the entire 2012 football season, general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games, interim head coach Joe Vitt for six games, and former Saints defensive coordinator Greg Williams is banned from the National Football League. After fining the organization, and suspending the coaching staff, Roger Goodell promised to suspend certain players involved in the bounty program. He suspended four players involved in the bounty program. Roger Goodell handed out a three game suspension to Scott Fujita without pay. four game suspension to Will Smith (not the actor, the defensive end on the Saints) without pay, eight game suspension to Anthony Hargrove without pay, and a year long suspension to Johnathan Vilma without pay. Many people around the league views the punishment to be to severe. However, others thought that it was fair. Because, it would discourage others around the league from participating in a bounty program.

New Orleans Saints football player Johnathan Vilma was not happy with the suspension. Upon hearing the suspension, Johnathan Vilma addressees the suspension by making a statement, “I intend to fight this injustice, to defend my reputation, to stand up for my team and my profession, and to send a clear signal to the commissioner that the process has failed, to the detriment of me, my teammates, the New Orleans Saints and the game.” After weeks had gone by with the suspension being handed out, Johnathan Vilma is fighting the National Football League as he has promised. He hired an attorney outside of the National Football League Player Association, and is suing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for slander and defamation. He has file a sixteen page lawsuit against Roger Goodell. Claiming that Goodell had intentions of malice, and was seeking to ruin Johnathan Vilma. Johnathan Vilma is seeking unspecified damages against the National Football League. Some views this as being a long shot.

Johnathan Vilma’s attorney released a message regarding the lawsuit being filed, “Commissioner Goodell opted to enter into the public arena rather than proceed appropriately and deliberately within the confines of the NFL process,” Vilma’s attorney, Peter Ginsberg told NFL.com. “In doing that, he made a series of horrific and false accusations about Jonathan. The commissioner, having wandered into the public arena, is now being asked to answer for the damage he’s done in making those erroneous accusations. He made some serious accusations, which we will be able to prove in a fair forum, that were irresponsible.”

The New Orleans Saints had no comments for Johnathan Vilma’s decision to sue NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Johnathan Vilma issued a statement over twitter, “Maybe this will get some people’s attention,” and “As I’ve said before I’VE NEVER PAID OR INTENDED TO PAY ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY TO ANY PLAYER FOR INTENTIONALLY HURTING AN OPPONENT.” The NFL addressed a statement on the impending lawsuit they are facing, “We have not yet reviewed the filing. However, our commitment to player safety and the integrity of the game is our main consideration. We recognize that not everyone will agree with decisions that need to be made.”

The lawsuit Johnathan Vilma has filed against Roger Goodell has created a buzz around current NFL players. Click this link too see NFL players thought on this lawsuit. Johnathan Vilma is standing up for himself, and is trying to clear his name. Although he was docked an entire year salary. Vilma is more upset at the NFL for preventing him from participating in football games. Also, Johnathan Vilma understands that he will forever be remembered with bounty gate, and unfairly not remembered for his achievements on the football field. He was the defensive rookie of the year in 2004, named to the pro bowl five times, and is a Superbowl champion.

Fair or not Johnathan Vilma will forever be linked to bounty gate. I think that the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was too harsh with the punishments he gave out. One thing for suspending coaches, and fining an organization is one thing. But, bringing malice towards NFL players and preventing them from making a legal living is wrong. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison seems to agree with me. He even tweeted that the National Football League was so harsh, because of the lawsuits they face from ex players for player safety. I hope Johnathan Vilma wins his lawsuit against Roger Goodell. What do you think? Was the punishment by Roger Goodell too harsh, just right, or too lenient? What do you expect the Johnathan Vilma’s lawsuit will head towards? Do you think he will win, since the NFL has no hard evidence? Place your answers by commenting on them.

Signing off

-Mansoor Paghmani