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GOODELL MEETS WITH LB JONATHAN VILMA
Mon, 17 Sep 2012 09:28 PM EDT

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and his lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell all alone, according to a league source.

Vilma, who made the choice and decision, originally had been scheduled to meet up with Goodell on Tuesday.

The other 3 players alleged to have been involved in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal still will meet with Goodell on Tuesday in New York, a source with knowledge of the meeting said.

Vilma; Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints; Scott Fujita, a one-time member of the Saints now with the Browns; and Anthony Hargrove, a one-time Saints player who is an free agent, are facing possible renewed suspensions.

The 1st suspensions of those 4 players were left by a 3-member appeals panel. Vilma originally was postponed for the season, Hargrove for 8 games, Smith for 4 games and Fujita for 3 games.

Only Smith played on Sun., when the New Orleans Saints lost to Washington. Vilma was placed on the physically unable to perform list, while Fujita sat out Cleveland’s loss to Eagles with a leg injury. Hargrove was cut by Green Bay Packers during the preseason.

The NFL issued a declaration to explain the ruling from the internal appeals panel under the collective bargaining agreement.

“In light of some confusion surrounding the controlling of the CBA Appeals Panel, it is important to understand what the panel did and did not rule,” the league announces. “The panel didn’t overturn the suspensions and did not say Commissioner Goodell overstepped his authority.”

Ginsberg disagreed with the league’s take.

“It is interesting and illuminating that it took the NFL about one week to develop a publishable rationalization of the Appeals Board decision,” Ginsberg related in a press release. “Contrary to the NFL’s media statement, the Appeals Panel voided the suspensions — it did not ‘put the suspensions on hold,’ as the NFL now pretends. And the Appeals Board is clearly based totally on the conclusion that the Commissioner overstepped his jurisdiction.”

Vilma recounted that he was expecting a fair hearing. Vilma walked out of a June 18 appeals hearing with Goodell, refusing to participate in what his attorney Peter Ginsberg called a charade, and in August he requested a meeting with Goodell that he later canceled. Football spreads

“I’m expecting a fair meeting, unlike the June 18 appeals hearing,” Vilma expounded in the text. “We can all benefit from transparency regarding evidence and witnesses rather than using conjecture or hearsay to come to false conclusions. I’m looking forward to getting this accomplished.”

Ginsberg said that he’s not been provided any guarantees the league would allow the players and their legal members the chance to review proof or cross-examine witnesses.

Those issues prompted Vilma to walk out previously.

“We wish to see the evidence and confront the witnesses,” Ginsberg related. “When the commissioner produces less than 1 percent of the proof gathered in the investigation, it became abundantly clear we weren’t being offered a fair chance to present to him in a very strong and detailed manner what in reality took place and decided not to participate in what was obviously a charade.”


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