After slapping him with an entire year suspension, Roger Goodell and the NFL are backing off and are willing to lower New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s suspension to just eight games.
The willingness to lower the suspension will only come if Vilma drops his defamation lawsuit against Goodell and the league. But the NFL is denying any such offer was made to Vilma or any players, sources say. Greg Aiello tweeted this morning that all the reports of a deal are “completely inaccurate”.
But the important thing to take away from this is that the NFL is admitting they were wrong in suspending Vilma in the first place. Either that or the NFLPA and their whining tactics have finally wore down Goodell to the point where he’d rather meet them in the middle then have it all his way.
What’s more important to watch from this is not the fact that Vilma may be back mid-season, but that the NFL may have suspended a player without proper evidence to do so — at least that will be the rally cry for all the anti-Goodell fans and players out there.
The fact of the matter is, yes the suspension was insanely rough but it wasn’t because Vilma was a participant of the bounty gate scandal, but because he’s an anchor and a voice on a defense that committed one of the more atrocious scandals in recent NFL history. As a voice in the lockerroom, it’s Vilma’s job to make sure what happened doesn’t happen.
But he let it happen and that’s why his penalty was so severe. Is it worthy of a year’s suspension, no. But Roger Goodell may have known that from the start.
Perhaps Goodell knew from the start that he wouldn’t be suspending Vilma for a year but by reducing the suspension, he shows a bit of mercy — a type of mercy he’s never shown before this.
Maybe that’s wishful thinking for wanting partisanship between the NFL and the NFLPA. But the fact of the matter remains, Vilma is crying about his innocence when he’s got blood on his hands perhaps more so than the player who actually participated in the program. Yes there may not be enough evidence to implicate him directly with players who received pay for hits.
But Vilma may not have been pulling the trigger, but he was definitely holding the gun. If he’s innocent then he’s no longer the voice of a defense and he’s no longer someone who should be a captain.
Vilma’s cry for innocence is as pathetic as Goodell’s year long suspension. We get it Roger, he should have done something, but half a season away fromt he game is enough. You don’t have to cripple a guys career when the bounty system never crippled anyone else’s.
And We get it Jonathan, you’re taking being a saint a little too literal because whether or not there’s evidence against you personally, guys who were flying under your command an on your watch were part of this and if the country commits a military atrocity, the president and the general is held responsible. It’s a pitiful move to try and declare innocence in Vilma’s situation.
No one was right in this whole mess. Everyone handled it as messy as possible from Goodell’s quasi-power trip to Jonathan Vilma crying like he’s Kim Kardashian’s ugly cousin. But if the NFL is letting up on it’s penalty, then Vilma needs to admit he allowed this to happen on his watch. Otherwise his stupidity and arrogance alone is worthy of a year suspension.