Jonathan Vilma first sued the NFL after being suspended for the entire 2012-13 season for his alleged role in the now infamous “Bountygate” scandal. Vilma is now suing again claiming Goodell did not timely ruling on his appeal.
It seems, given the relatively quick turnaround on Sean Payton’s appeal (The hearing was 4/5/12 & the rejection of the appeal was made 4/9/12), Vilma may have a point. Vilma’s initial appeal was heard on June 18th. His lawsuit claims the appeal should have been ruled on by June 25th.
Given the timeline on Payton’s ruling, that seems reasonable. As I write this, it is now July 1st and Vilma’s appeal has not yet been ruled on. Adding to the fact that Goodell not only hands out punishment, but that he also rules on appeals of his own decisions, this is a system fraught with issues to say the least.
Do I believe Vilma is 100% innocent? Probably not. But it’s clear that NFL only acted the way it did to protect against lawsuits. They knew this had been going for years in several locker rooms and they did nothing until it became a potential legal issue for them. It’s also clear that Goodell is delaying the decision on Vilma’s appeal and is acting inconsistently with his own procedures used in the Payton case only recently.
In addition to the claim that Goodell has not acted timely in the appeal hearing, Vilma’s latest suit also tries to discredit evidence used by the NFL related to the infamous “Favre” game.
Vilma believes former (fired) assistant coach Mike Cerullo provided this allegedly flawed evidence to the NFL and that he was disgruntled for several reasons.
1st, he was fired.
2nd, Vilma claims Cerullo was angry because he received a Super Bowl ring with fake diamonds when the rest of the team gets real rings.
The lawsuit claims Cerullo created the document “well after the 2009 NFC Championship Game and in an effort to gain revenge against the Saints.”
The suit further contends that a “close associate” of Cerullo has confirmed that Cerullo retracted his previous claims about the bounty program “in a communication directly with Goodell that occurred in April 2012.”
Something doesn’t quite smell right to me. Someone, if not all involved, are being less than truthful and I doubt we ever learn the real story.