Twelve Saints Players Swear On Vilma's Behalf No Bounty Program Existed
A dozen current Saints players who have been on the team since at least '09 swear in declarations submitted on behalf of LB Jonathan Vilma that there was no bounty program on the club. The NFL alleges there was and that Vilma himself in '09 put a bounty on Vikings QB Brett Favre before the NFC Championship. The declarations were submitted to the league this week as part of Vilma’s appeal. Vilma attorney Peter Ginsburg said, “Each of the players swears under oath that there was no Bounty Program and that Jonathan never offered any money or incentive of any kind to encourage the injury of an opposing player, including [QB Kurt] Warner or Favre. Each player was a member of the defensive team at some time from ’09-11 and attended the pregame meetings where the 'bounties’ supposedly happened.” The 12 players are DEs Junior Galette, Cameron Jordan and Martez Wilson; DT Tom Johnson; LBs Ramon Humber and Scott Shanle; CBs Jabari Greer, Johnny Patrick and Patrick Robinson; and Ss Isa Abdul-Quddus, Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins. In turning down Vilma’s appeal, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote to him, according to a press release the league issued on Oct. 9, “I also find that you engaged in conduct detrimental by offering a substantial financial incentive to any member of the defensive unit who knocked Brett Favre out of the Saints’ 2009 NFC playoff game against the Vikings. (There is also credible evidence that you made a similar pledge regarding Kurt Warner in the immediately preceding playoff game against the Cardinals, but whether you made multiple pledges of that kind does not matter for purposes of the discipline that I have decided to impose.)” Vilma and the other three players suspended as part of the alleged pay to injury program are appealing their suspensions, and have asked a Louisiana federal court to recuse former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who Goodell appointed as arbitrator.