Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove caught a break last week when a three member panel overturned their suspensions handed down from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell due to the Bounty Scandal that took place in New Orleans.
During the time, the four players suspended refused to talk to Goodell, or any other league personnel to discuss bounties. During the appeals, the players showed up but did not speak their sides, therefor the suspensions remained until being overturned.
Goodell has the power to re-suspend the players as the ruling determined, if he can show evidence that said players took part in a bounty system.
Word around the league is that Goodell would likely re-distribute the suspensions sometime in the coming weeks, as he still has not talked to the players involved.
According to ESPN, Jonathan Vilma has notified his attorney, Peter Ginsburg, that he would like to hold a meeting with Goodell for the first time since being investigated by the league.
“If the commissioner feels sitting down with Jonathan and discussing matters will lead to a quick and fair resolution, Jonathan has been and continues to be willing to cooperate in any way that helps the truth come out,” Ginsberg told ESPN. “We only hope the commissioner keeps an open mind and doesn’t feel restricted by his previous and clearly erroneous conclusions.”
This is a huge step by Vilma, considering he walked out of an appeals hearing. One that will likely setup the pieces to have Bounty Gate put behind us all. If Vilma has a successful meeting with Goodell, we hope that others follow suit. Cooperation can go a long way in resolving the issue.
There is no meeting set as of now, and it likely wouldn’t happen this week. We’re sure the league office will allow for the meeting, as there are two sides to every story and Goodell has yet to hear from Vilma.
After being re-instated by the members of the panel, the Saints were given a roster exemption for Vilma who has been rehabbing a knee injury. As time ran out on the exemption, the Saints placed him on their Physically unable to Perform list.