As is common knowledge for anyone that follows football, Vilma is at the moment suspended for the entire 2012 season for his alleged role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, in which players were paid to make big hits on opposing teams best players.
However, very little evidence has been shown by Goodell and the NFL implicating Vilma in the scandal. Their case appears to be very thin, and is largely circumstantial.
And they know it.
The NFL was reported earlier this week to be willing to make a deal that would reduce Vilma's suspension to eight games, which would allow him to play for the second half of the season, and in the playoffs, where the Saints will likely be come January.
But Vilma declined the deal and is willing to take his chances in court, and it appears a judge may be willing to rule in his favor (via Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports).
No matter what happens, I have to commend Vilma for standing up for himself and not letting Rodger Goodell push him around, especially if he's innocent of the alleged infractions. Goodell has ruled with an iron fist, but personally I think he is a borderline tyrant.
Goodell thinks that he can just make a decision and the players will follow along with him. Vilma's showing him that isn't always the case, and hopefully he'll have his case overturned and will be reinstated. It would send a big message, and would be a big blow to Roger Goodell's ego.
Hopefully that happens. But even if it doesn't, you have to applaud Vilma for doing the right thing and standing up for himself.
In the future we can only hope more players will follow his lead.
Follow me on Twitter: @RalphLongo
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