New Orleans Saints

Jonathan Vilma, Bountygate Players File Appeal with NFL Against Roger Goodell

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma is still fighting NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to keep his good name.
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma is still fighting NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to keep his good name.Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Michael BrumaginCorrespondent IIIOctober 13, 2012

As long as Roger Goodell has his pride and Jonathan Vilma still needs to fight for his good name, "Bountygate" may never reach a conclusion.

Following up on Roger Goodell's decision to reinstate discipline against Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita, all four players have filed an appeal in court seeking to have Goodell removed from the case.

As Ed Werder reports, the players are requesting the recusal on the basis that Goodell is incapable of judging the case without bias and impartiality.

The bounty situation is wearing thin on some, including Drew Brees, who recently talked with ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" show about a letter sent from Goodell to Vilma.

In Vilma's letter, it basically says no matter if pledges were disclosed or not, up for consideration or not, or paid or not, any actions or rhetoric that encourages injuring or disabling opposing players warrants discipline. In that case, I think that just about every coach and player in the league might be a little scared right now for anything they have said. It seems like these punishments have been handed down based upon speculation and rhetoric.

Below is a tweet from Jonathan Vilma containing a link to the letter he received from Goodell.

"@lilpaula217: @jonvilma51 the blogger gave me the link that he got the pdf files from…" thanks, gave it to my atty
— Jonathan Vilma (@JonVilma51) October 12, 2012

The next key development in this ongoing dispute will most likely come with a ruling in Vilma's defamation suit against Roger Goodell. His lawsuit is being adjudicated by U.S. District Court Judge Ginger Berrigan in New Orleans.

She has previously stated that, if the case falls within her jurisdiction, she would "like to rule in Mr. Vilma's favor," because she doesn't "think the process was transparent or fair."

For New Orleans Saints fans, the resolution of this legal battle cannot come soon enough.


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