Most all have had that moment. A period of time in our lives where we are in the middle of a debate and the other side just won’t acknowledge our point of view at all. During that time we want to just get up and walk out of the room. It could be with a judge, school principal, business associate or even the Commissioner of the NFL. Today Jonathan Vilma got his chance, and took it.
Vilma walked out of his “Bounty-gate” appeal meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Monday. In a not-so-surprising move, the linebacker and his attorney Peter Ginsberg left after only an hour and emerged from the NFL headquarters calling the process a “sham.” The other players, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith issued a release questioning the NFL’s honor and their ability to receive due process.
The entire process has turned ugly as far as public relations between the players and the league. It seems the NFL could have avoided this entire scenario had Goodell not been so drunk on power. If the league had the evidence against these players, which they say they do but refuse to present, the Commissioner should have recused himself from the appeal process and let an independent arbitrator handle the proceedings.
But no. Goodell wants to be the Judge, Jury and Executioner all in one. Yes the collective bargaining agreement between the league and players allows this. But simply for justice sake, Goodell could have taken steps to make sure there was no impropriety in such a high profile incident in the NFL’s history.
According to Ginsberg, it was he and Vilma who decided to leave the meeting and end their appeal. The league announced it attempted to adjourn for the day but Vilma and Ginsberge weren’t interested.
“He attempted to adjourn it and we closed the record,” Ginsberg said. “The hearing is over as far as we’re concerned.”
Ginsberg admitted the rest of this fight will be carried on in the courtroom. Vilma has filed a lawsuit against the league and Goodell for Defamation of Character. The other three, after today’s release, may have taken another step in joining Vilma in the courtroom. That became evident in the last paragraph.
“Shame on the National Football League and Commissioner Goodell for being more concerned about ‘convicting’ us publicly than being honorable and fair to men who have dedicated their professional lives to playing this game with honor.”
It seems to the average NFL fan Goodell could put this matter to rest simply by releasing the evidence. To ask fans of the league to trust the Commissioner for no reason is very questionable. Goodell just doesn’t have that trust with the fans.
In reality, it makes Goodell look guiltier and the players more innocent.