Man. This has been a long time coming. I’m not even going to spout about Bountygate. That stuff has become so nonsensical it’s truly comical. However, Roger Goodell’s egomaniacal progression has become a beast not easily tamed.
After handing down suspensions associated with Bountygate, and admitting that bounties have been prevalent within the league for years, the commish chose not to launch a league-wide investigation. Poor decision. He stated such, and followed up by punishing the team that personally offended him because they openly lied about illegal pay-for-performance programs. While most fans will say that they agree with the punishments, it made Goodell look like his agenda was less than sincere–that there was a vendetta as opposed to a legitimate concern for players throughout the league. Again…it had been stated that bounties have existed in the NFL culture for years. No league wide investigation.
So. Jonathan Vilma, the New Orleans Saints defensive captain and strong side middle backer, appealed his suspension. After it was suggested that Roger Goodell might rule on the appeal of the suspension that he handed down (that makes a lot of sense doesn’t it…prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner…and appellate judge…), Vilma and his lawyer moved forward with a defamation suit. They have actively stated that regardless of the outcome of the appeal, Jonathan Vilma’s reputation has been damaged, and that it could affect his job pursuit after his playing career is over–that when his name is mentioned, people will always think to the bountygate scandal.
Is it frivolous? No. Is it a bit over-the-top? Absolutely. And I believe that’s the point. Vilma seems to believe that if he’s going to be sitting out for an entire season, he’ll allow this cloud to hang over Roger Goodell’s head as long as it possibly can.
The league responded to all of these appeals and threats of lawsuits by acquiring a quality trial attorney. None other than former federal prosecutor, Mary Jo White, who has stated that there is documentation, as well as witnesses who are able to back the case; however, not necessarily the case against Vilma. Just “bountygate” in general.
Regardless of the outcome for Vilma, which probably won’t be a victory in court, Roger Goodell and the NFL have been called to task. The commissioner is going to have to answer for something for a change. All this evidence that Roger Goodell claims the league possesses–he’ll actually have to release it. And there’s a very good chance that Vilma will get hammered. He may very well be lying–but if he’s going to be punished, he deserves legitimate cause–not just the commissioner’s word.
The fact that these players learned about their suspensions via ESPN with the rest of world let’s you know exactly the type of “man” that Roger Goodell is. Surely, he’s no Manolith man. He’s just a puppet for a bunch of millionaires and billionaires.