New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has decided to appeal the one-year suspension he was handed as a result of his participation in the team’s bounty system.
Four players total have been suspended for their participation in the teams bounty system. The remaining three players have until the end of Monday to appeal their respective suspensions. Anthony Hargrove (now a Green Bay Packer) was suspended eight games, Will Smith suspended four games and Scott Fujita (now a Cleveland Brown) was suspended three games. Vilma was handed the longest suspension out of the group, out for the entire 2012/13 season.
Vilma will be allowed to work out with the team until his appeal has been heard. The other three players suspensions will not take effect until the start of the regular season.
The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) filed a pair of grievances which challenge the authority of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “In connection with entering into the 2011 CBA, the NFL released all players from conduct engaged in prior to the execution of the CBA, on August 4, 2011,” the grievance says.
Nobody really knows if Vilma has any shot at winning his appeal. Fans can only hope that he is appealing not just to get back some of the money he is losing for being suspended an entire season without pay; but so that he can contribute out there on the field.
His year long suspension is a bold statement from the NFL communicating the fact that they will not tolerate this type of behaviour. Vilma appears to be the fall man they have selected to make an example out of. It will likely be difficult for him to win his appeal, however; stranger things have happened.