July 28, 2010; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma talks with the media during a press conference prior to the start of training camp at the New Orleans Saints practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Jonathan Vilma Releases Statement; Unhappy With Re-Issued Suspension

Jonathan Vilma has been the victim of a witch hunt from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as he continues to press forward and punish players who’s names were linked to the pay-for-performance scandal with the New Orleans Saints. Vilma has been the poster boy of punishment for Goodell and the linebacker is not happy with the re-issued suspension.

Today, after being re-suspended for the remainder of the season, Vilma released a statement on the punishment. Here is the full text of Vilma’s statement:

Rather than fairly and impartially evaluate the evidence, the Commissioner instead has wrapped his arms around the architect of pay-for-performance programs, Gregg Williams, and attributes Williams’ inflammatory language and bizarre slide shows not to Williams but to the players Williams coached.

Jonathan Vilma did not offer a bounty or any incentive to any teammate to injure an opposing player. Commissioner Goodell has now called every one of the dozen or more players and coaches a “liar” who has played the games with Jonathan and been in the locker room with Jonathan and who has sworn under oath to that fact. And to make matters worse, the Commissioner blatantly ignores other evidence that shows Jonathan did not do what the Commissioner, again, accuses him of doing. As but one example, Jonathan’s bank records show that he did not withdraw $10,000 from his account at any time during the 2009 playoffs (or at any other time), the time period when the Commissioner claims Jonathan offered that amount of money as a bounty on Kurt Warner and Brett Favre. Consistent with the Commissioner’s disregard of the evidence, he did not even request to see the bank records showing this fact.

As another example, in the sworn statements of Williams and Mike Cerullo, the people the Commissioner found “credible,” Cerullo swore under oath that he turned Jonathan’s $10,000 over to Williams after the Warner game when no one “earned the bounty,” and before the Favre game. Williams swears he never received any money from Cerullo or anyone else.

Commissioner Goodell has further damaged Jonathan’s reputation, compromised his career, and cast an unfair cloud over a fine and decent man. It is unfortunate that the process exhibited by the NFL has had no decency.

A very strong message from Vilma. Do you believe he was unfairly targeted throughout the process? Sound off in the comments section!

Should Roger Goodell have re-issued bounty suspensions?

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Tags: Jonathan Vilma New Orleans Saints Roger Goodell

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