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Old 06-23-2012, 01:54 AM   #31
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

Fujita to Goodell at appeal hearing: “What the hell are you doing, Roger?

Posted by Mike Florio on June 22, 2012

Lawyer Peter Ginsberg wasn’t the only one who had tough words for Commissioner Roger Goodell at Monday’s appeal hearing in the bounty case. Browns linebacker Scott Fujita was far more brief, and far more pointed.

“I saw [Goodell] in the [appeal] hearings and he offered to shake all of our hands,” Fujita told Dave Zirin of SiriusXM Radio’s Edge of Sports Radio, via SI.com. ”Some of the other players didn’t, but I went ahead and shook his hand, and I just said to him, ‘What the hell are you doing, Roger?‘”

How did the Commissioner respond?

“He had nothing to say,” Fujita said. ”His face sure turned red, though.”

So much for the draft-night man hugs.

Fujita also addressed the merits of the situation, echoing the notion that the Saints had a pay-for-performance system coupled with tough talk but no deliberate intent to injure.

“I know exactly what [happened] and what didn’t,” Fujita said. ”The problem with this whole thing is that it’s just an unfortunate situation where you have a defensive coordinator [Gregg Williams] who I like a lot, but said a lot of really vulgar, inappropriate, outlandish things. You couple that with some guys who occasionally throw in some money for big plays — which I have admitted to doing — and it becomes a perfect storm, and also it comes at a time politically when I think the league was looking for something like this.

“So, it’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate that a lot of players have been dragged into it when the reality is it’s just a kind of loose, joking around, performance-type system of motivation coupled with some really, really inappropriate language that I’m sensitive to, but again, it is just language.”

Fujita apparently wants the NFL to focus on what the program was, and to clarify what it wasn’t.

“People said I was stupid for confessing to paying for big plays. I didn’t think of that as a big deal,” Fujita said. ”Is it against the rules? Technically, yeah, it’s against the rules, but that’s the way it was done when I was a young player and I’m not ashamed of that. If that’s what I’m going down for, let’s call it for what it is. The problem is that the league has billed this thing as being this super-organized pay-to-injure scheme, which it never was.

“Now, it turns out when the evidence is getting released that there is actually very little to nothing on anything pay-to-injure related, especially as it pertains to me. So, again, if it’s pay-for-performance, let’s call it what it is, and if I have to take my medicine for that, I’ll do that, and we’ll move on, but that’s not what the league has billed this as.”

Fujita explained that the issue is about more than the money he’ll lose during a three-game suspension.

“Another thing I have a hard time with is that a lot of people just say, ‘You only have a couple games [suspension]. Just be glad with what you got. Stop complaining and move on.’ It’s more than just a couple games,” Fujita said. ”My reputation is a lot more valuable to me than three game checks. So for someone to say ‘just take your medicine and move on,’ my response is no. If you’re accused of something you didn’t do, and they were going to not only ruin your reputation, but also take a lot of money away from you, you would not just lie down. So it’s troubling. It’s been hard for me. It’s been a stress at home. I’m lucky to have such a supportive family with young kids who don’t understand any of this kind of stuff so that brightens my day, but it has been very hard for me.”

The good news is that the discussion of the actual or perceived flaws in the NFL’s investigation could be prompting the league to focus on precisely why the players are being disciplined — for contributing to and participating in a pay-for-performance system that created an incentive to inflict injury on opponents (regardless of whether they actually did) and not for deliberately attempting to inflict injury in exchange for cash.

The bad news is that it’s too late to put the bounty toothpaste back in the tube. The Saints were painted as a marauding gang of Gilloolys in March; calling it what it really was in June will do nothing to change the perception that has been cemented into the public’s collective consciousness.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...u-doing-roger/
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:22 AM   #32
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

Interesting that Florio at PFT is bonding with the Saints but continues to trash Tomlin and the Steelers for having been the first team to challenge Goodell's practices
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:40 AM   #33
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell



"... fine James Harrison $250,000!!!"
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Old 06-23-2012, 12:08 PM   #34
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

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Old 06-24-2012, 09:50 AM   #35
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan View Post
Interesting that Florio at PFT is bonding with the Saints but continues to trash Tomlin and the Steelers for having been the first team to challenge Goodell's practices
Not surprising since the toilet sniffing Florio is a well known for being a Steeler hater. I won't post or even read his crap let alone click on his website. Every time you click on a website you vote for more of the same content and I'd love to see the tool Florio driven out of the business for lack of attention.
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:34 PM   #36
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

League files grievance against Vilma for pursuing defamation case

Posted by Mike Florio on July 12, 2012



Things have quieted down a bit in connection with the Saints bounty scandal, but the present calm comes merely from a minor break in the storms.

Eventually, the lawsuits filed recently in Louisiana will heat up, with inevitable efforts to block the suspension pending the outcome to the courtroom challenges to Commissioner Roger Goodell’s exercise of power over the players. As to the defamation claim filed by Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma against Goodell, the NFL has thrown down the proverbial gloves.

Vilma has disclosed on Twitter that the league has asked him, perhaps not politely, to abandon the case.

Jonathan Vilma via twitter:

@JonVilma51
The nfl sent me a letter "demanding" I drop my defamation suit or else...lol or else wat?!?? They no likey me lawsuitey
11 Jul 12

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the more accurate description is that the NFL has filed a grievance under the CBA against the NFLPA and Vilma seeking an order forcing Vilma to dismiss his defamation suit. On Wednesday, lawyer Peter Ginsberg informed the league that Vilma will not be withdrawing the defamation suit, arguing that the grievance filed by the league has no merit.

The letter, a copy of which PFT has obtained, contends that the grievance procedure contained in the Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t apply in this case, because Vilma filed his suit not “against the NFL or any Club” but against Goodell, and because the defamation claim arises not from the suspension imposed by Goodell on Vilma but from the allegedly false public statements made by Goodell before imposing discipline.

The grievance “constitutes an improper effort to interfere with a pending judicial matter,” Ginsberg writes in his letter to Dennis Curran, NFL Sr. Vice President of Labor Litigation & Policy. “If you pursue the Grievance, we will consider seeking sanctions against the NFL [Management Council] before Honorable Helen G. Berrigan . . . based on NFLMC’s improper attempt to obstruct a pending judicial action in which it is not a party.”

So, yes, as Vilma surmises, the NFL “no likey [his] lawsuitey.” And Vilma’s lawyer doesn’t like how the NFL is voicing its displeasure.

And the end result is that the ever-twisting-and-turning bounty case has developed yet another twist and/or turn.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...famation-case/
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:30 AM   #37
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

There's a report out that the NFL has offered to reduced Vilma's suspension to 8 games if he drops the lawsuit. However, the NFL quickly rebutted that insisting that no settlement offer was made.

Herr Goodell getting nervous about something?
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:38 AM   #38
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

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There's a report out that the NFL has offered to reduced Vilma's suspension to 8 games if he drops the lawsuit. However, the NFL quickly rebutted that insisting that no settlement offer was made.

Herr Goodell getting nervous about something?
it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:51 PM   #39
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

Looks like Herr Goodell loses for now:

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...y-suspensions/

Quote:
Appeals panel overturns bounty suspensions
Posted by Mike Florio on September 7, 2012, 3:40 PM EDT

In the end, Judge Berrigan didn’t have to issue a ruling at all.

An internal appeals panel has overturned the bounty suspensions imposed on the players, a source with knowledge of the decision tells PFT. The development was first reported by Jim Trotter of SI.com.

“Victory is mine!!!!” Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma said, via Twitter.

Indeed it is. Unlike any ruling that may have been issued by Judge Berrigan, the ruling from the internal appeals panel, which overturned a prior decision from arbitrator Richard Burbank, is final and binding. The league has no recourse — unless the league chooses to file a lawsuit attacking the outcome of the internal arbitration. (Which is what the players had been trying to do before Judge Berrigan.)

As to Judge Berrigan, she may still issue a ruling adopting and enforcing the outcome of the internal appeal, giving federal credibility to the decision of the panel.

What it means, in a nutshell, is that any discipline will be imposed under Article 14 of the CBA.
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:47 PM   #40
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

Bounty players' bans overturned

Updated: September 7, 2012
ESPN.com news services


NEW ORLEANS -- The suspensions of Jonathan Vilma and three other players in the NFL's bounty investigation were lifted Friday by a three-member appeals panel and the league reinstated those players a few minutes later.

While the ruling allows Saints linebacker Vilma, banned for the 2012 season, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove to play immediately, it does not permanently void their suspensions.

The return of linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith is a huge victory for the Saints and will be significant on the field, writes Pat Yasinskas. Blog

Linebacker Scott Fujita wasn't with the Browns this week, but he wasn't far away, either. Now, he's back and ready to help the team, writes Paul Kuharsky. Blog

Still, the ruling comes just two days before the first full slate of NFL games this season and is a setback for commissioner Roger Goodell and the league.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Goodell would "make an expedited determination of the discipline imposed" for violating the league's bounty rule.

"Until that determination is made, the four players are reinstated and eligible to play starting this weekend," Aiello said.

League sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Goodell is likely to reach a new decision in the coming weeks, but it will not be before this weekend's games.

Vilma tweeted: "Victory is mine!!!! -stewie griffin."

Added Fujita: "I'm overwhelmed with all the support. Thank you so much everyone. Can't tell you how much it means to me."

The ruling does not affect New Orleans coach Sean Payton, suspended for the season, interim coach Joe Vitt (six games) or general manager Mickey Loomis (six games).

If Vilma, Smith and Fujita are now on their respective teams' rosters Sunday, their salaraies will be guaranteed for the 2012 season. Hargrove was released by the Packers in the preseason.

"I think it is an extremely strong statement that a three-judge panel unanimously ruled to lift the suspensions," Saints quarterback Drew Brees told ESPN's Ed Werder. "It makes you feel like they took a very hard look at all the evidence there and saw that we were in the right. ... Today makes you feel like justice has been served."

While the panel did not address the merits of the NFL's bounty investigation, it said Goodell overstepped his authority in hearing the players' appeals of their punishment for their roles in the Saints bounty program that paid cash bonuses for hits that injured opponents.

The panel's decision states that special master Stephen Burbank, not Goodell, should discipline players for receiving money from a pool that paid for big plays. Goodell's role, the panel said, should be limited to whether he can prove the players intended to injure opponents, which would fall in the category of conduct detrimental to the game. Players and coaches implicated in the bounty pool have testified under oath in a related federal court case they never intended to injure opposing players.

"Whether the commissioner tries to readdress the situation or not is his call," said Peter Ginsberg, Vilma's attorney. "We are certainly hoping the appeals board has made it clear the commissioner tried to grab jurisdiction and impose penalties over an area he does not have oversight. ... The factual record in the court makes it clear he has acted in a biased and inappropriate manner."

The Saints open their season at home against Washington on Sunday, while the Browns host Philadelphia.

Earlier this week, Saints interim head coach Aaron Kromer said Smith, who participated in training camp and the preseason before he began serving his four-game suspension on Monday, would be ready to play against Washington if available.

Vilma's status was not as clear. His season-long suspension began before training camp and he has been trying to work his way back from offseason surgery on his left knee.

Saints players had recently finished practice when they received word of the panel's ruling.

"It's huge," said Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, a defensive captain. "Those are two huge leaders we've got. They're great players. We've got a talented team, but you add Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma, our talent level goes up that much. For our team, it's a break."

Even if Vilma could not play right away, Jenkins said his presence in the locker room and meetings would be valuable.

"Great news and exciting to hear," Saints linebacker Scott Shanle told Werder. "It's been a long process that didn't involve a lot of facts. These guys have stood strong and stood by what was right. Glad it paid off with this ruling."

A team source previously told Werder that Vilma planned to attend Sunday's season opener against the Washington Redskins, but believed he was at least a week or two from being ready to play because of a knee injury.

The Browns were notified by the league that Fujita was eligible. They were also issued a roster exemption, which will allow them to carry 54 players.

Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson was sure the 33-year-old Fujita would be able to come back and have an immediate impact.

"I'm confident Scott has been keeping his conditioning up and he knows the system," Jackson said.

"He's got what 12 years in? He'll be fine. If he's able to come back there will be a lot of excitement in this locker room."

Fujita was barred from Cleveland's training facility this week, but he stayed in town and worked out on his own at nearby Baldwin Wallace University in the event the suspension was lifted. Fujita, who serves on the NFLPA's executive committee, had expressed confidence he would be on the field in Week 1. His return is welcome news to the Browns.

Hargrove, docked eight games, was released last month by Green Bay and was not currently with a team.

The panel consisted of retired federal Judge Fern Smith of San Francisco, retired federal Judge Richard Howell of New York, and Georgetown professor James Oldham. It met in New York last week to hear arguments from the NFL Players Association, which appealed Burbank's ruling that Goodell had the authority to hear and rule on the players' appeals of their suspensions. NFL attorneys had asked the panel to affirm Burbank's ruling, but the panel sided in large part with the union.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/83...-appeals-panel
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