August thirtieth, two thousand and twelve; V-Day.
The date Jonathan Vilma will have to wait until to clench victory or suffer the spoils of defeat. Fighting desperately for the sake of his family name, Jonathan Vilma has taken Roger Goodell and the National Football League head on; in an attempt to show all who love the game of football that the NFL will lie to protect themselves.
Vilma, accused of being a prominent figure in the Saints "pay for performance" allegations, thinks its quite simple; the NFL is lying. He has not budged from his stance from day one and didn't bother to waiver one single bit when offered a settlement to drop his defamation suit against Goodell. Shortly after leaks that the NFL had offered this plea bargain-esque deal which was declined by Vilma, an NFL spokesman denied the existence of the deal all together. I'm sure Vilma sat on a couch somewhere chuckling at what he viewed as more lies from his employer, while Goodell and team moved to Plan B.
The facts are mounted. Or are they? If football fans across America were the jury, where would Mr. Vilma end up when the gavel lands adjourning court? Let's look at the hard evidence provided to date specifically involving Jonathan Vilma.
We've got a ledger with his pledge of $10,000 for the heads of two NFL quarterbacks. Well not really, we actually have a "reconstructed" typed ledger. That concludes the NFL's case your honor. Well unless you would like to see the other alleged 50,000 pages of evidence they have.
Now let us talk about the 50,000 pages of evidence. Where is it, and why hasn't it been released? To be fair, lets say it really exists. Perhaps there are more documents that involve the Saints, Vilma, and other players that have been named in this ordeal. Why is the NFL at the very least not allowing the players involved to see this evidence?
At this point there seems to be nothing left to hide, right? The team has been penalized, the coaches have been harshly reprimanded, and the players have been suspended. What more damage can be done by allowing the accused to see the damning evidence that sealed their fate? Unless packaged in the statements, documents, and testimonies lies information that Roger and team rather not have exposed. What could be there? We don't know, but it sure seems odd that this evidence hasn't been divulged.
It seems as if the witch hunt has been turned upside down as we approach V-Day and the regular season. There are few NFL fans, media included, that believe Goodell and team's hands are clean on this one. The smoke is clearing and it is apparent that this is what we thought it was.
The Saints, like many other teams, had a "pay for performance" system. They were asked to stop it, they didn't; and they will own the proper punishment. There was never a "pay to injure" program. If the NFL wants anyone to believe differently, they better bring their "evidence" to the table. Until then it's: Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. The burden of proof lies with who declares, not who denies.