May 7th, 2012
By Brett Martel AP Sports Writer
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma appealed his season-long suspension under the NFL’s bounty investigation, which named him as a ringleader of the cash-for-hits system.
In papers filed Monday, Vilma argues that Commissioner Roger Goodell should not hear the appeal and asks for a delay in the process until the matter of who should decide on it has been settled through NFL Players Association grievances filed last week.
Vilma’s appeal states the NFL has not presented evidence linking him to a system in which players were paid to injure opponents. It asks the league to provide documentation, including witness statements and the names of those witnesses.
Vilma was one of four players given suspensions of various lengths in the NFL’s bounty probe, along with Saints defensive end Will Smith (four games) and former Saints Anthony Hargrove (eight games) and Scott Fujita (three games).
The other players had until the end of business Monday to appeal and were expected to do so.