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Personal notes on Aug 10th hearing for New Orleans Saints Jonathan Vilma

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In a hearing today before the U.S. District Court, Judge Ginger Berrigan stated she is inclined to rule in Jonathan Vilma’s favor.  She is unimpressed with the NFL’s process that led to the suspension.  She sees the NFL disciplinary process as neither transparent nor fair.

Vilma was represented personally by Peter Ginsberg (who argued on his behalf) as well as the NFLPA. The NFLPA represented by Jeffrey Kessler argued on behalf of Vilma as well as Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita.  Greg Levy represented the NFL.

Berrigan started the hearing by stating she believed the NFL’s argument a cart off is intent to injure is valid whether hit was legal or not.  Ginsberg countered by stating this was G Williams’ system but Vilma intended no such injury and that Vilma was being punished for specifically placing a bounty on pre-designated players in the 2009 playoffs and not the generally described cart offs.

The RG charged Vilma with a very specific incident.  There is no evidence to suggest and testimony of Vitt and other players denies this took place.

Ginberg states that Article 14 of the CBA, which is Prof Burbank’s jurisdiction, covers any pay for performance or bounty issues.  Not within the RG’s jurisdiction to decide matters under Article 14.

Berrigan states the NFL proceedings were neither transparent or fair especially given the fact that no witnesses were provided and only 200 pages of documents provided much of which was redacted.  She also believes the penalties were too harsh.