When Roger Goodell decided to suspend New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma for an entire season, it caused a huge uproar in the sporting community. On one side, you have people that believe he deserves the suspension for his role in BountyGate. Then, there are people who think Goodell has no proof of Vilma’s actions and therefore can’t suspend him for that amount of time.
What do I think?? I think Vilma has done nothing but lie to Goodell, the people and the courts. When the report came out about BountyGate, the one player that was mentioned by just about everyone in the media was Vilma. He was even given the opportunity to come to the NFL offices and speak with Goodell to give his side of the story. Of course, Vilma declined because, I believe, he thought he was untouchable.
While Goodell has made some questionable suspensions and decisions in the past, I don’t think he would lie about having evidence regarding a situation of this magnitude. I can tell you one thing, if I’m not guilty, I’m doing everything to clear my name IMMEDIATELY. Why wait until the punishment has been handed down to make your case known? That was a red flag to me; I can only assume it was to others as well.
Of course being suspended for a full season when you are nearing the end of your career is devastating. That’s exactly why I would have gone insane the moment I heard the verdict.
The Saints did everything they could knowing that Vilma may be suspended. They signed Curtis Lofton from the Atlanta Falcons to ensure they would have a backup. While Lofton was a great pickup for the Saints, it doesn’t replace the leadership value that Vilma brought to the locker room.
With the preseason already in full swing, it will be interesting to see the decision that is made regarding Vilma. Not many think that his year-long suspension will be reduced and I’m inclined to agree.
If he indeed slapped that $10,000 bounty down on the table, he doesn’t deserve to see the football field for a year. Why would you want to endanger someones livelihood?? One injury can ruin a players career. Now, if it happens during play and it’s not intentional, then so be it. But Vilma had no right to take that into his own hands and put a bounty on opposing players. I wouldn’t be mad if they uphold his year suspension and neither should you.