So yeah, the New Orleans Saints got smacked down following their little bounty scandal. We already knew the fates of guys like Gregg Williams, Sean Payton and Joe Vitt, but today we found out what happened to the players.
The big one for the players was Jonathan Vilma, the linebacker who apparently offered $10,000 to anyone who could knock Kurt Warner out of the Divisional Playoff game, or Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship game. Vilma was suspended from just about every football-related activity you could think of for one full year.
That’s a lot and that’s unprecedented.
And as you may have guessed, Vilma doesn’t appreciate it (especially because he reportedly found out about it via the television). And he released a statement saying as much.
“I am shocked and extremely disappointed by the NFL’s decision to suspend me for the 2012 season,” Vilma said in the statement. “Commissioner Roger Goodell has refused to share any of the supposed evidence he claims supports this unprecedented punishment. The reason is clear: I never paid, or intended to pay, $10,000, or any amount of money, to any player for knocking Kurt Warner, Brett Favre or any other player out of the 2009 Divisional playoff game, 2010 NFC Championship Game or any other game.
“I never set out to intentionally hurt any player and never enticed any teammate to intentionally hurt another player. I also never put any money into a bounty pool or helped to create a bounty pool intended to pay out money for injuring other players. I have always conducted myself in a professional and proud manner.
“I intend to fight this injustice, to defend my reputation, to stand up for my team and my profession, and to send a clear signal to the commissioner that the process has failed, to the detriment of me, my teammates, the New Orleans Saints and the game.”
I think he has a point if the NFL never once told him what this evidence was against him. Whether he did it or not, you’d at least think he has a right to know why the NFL came to this conclusion.
It’s not known at this time if Vilma plans to join a bowling league with Sean Payton.