The Jonathan Vilma versus the NFL saga carries on. U.S District Judge Ginger Berrigan refused to make a ruling on the case when both sides appeared in court on Friday, where Vilma was seeking to receive a temporary restraining order against the NFL, which would allow him to join training camp. The Associated Press reports that Berrigan believes the season-long suspension to be an extreme punishment, and that she would rule for Vilma. Berrigan is not sure if she has jurisdiction to do so, however, prompting her decision to urge both sides to reach a settlement on their own.
The NFL has maintained that the courts do not have any right to overturn the season long suspension handed to Vilma, stemming from his role in the bounty program of the Saints. As the league is governed by commissioner Roger Goodell and the collective bargaining agreement, the NFL believes the courts would be overstepping their boundaries if they were to overrule this suspension. Furthermore, the NFL believes a court decision in the case could open the doors to other lawsuits from players regarding fines and suspensions.
No matter what way this case goes, little to prove or disprove the alleged bounty program will be presented by the NFL, as they believe all testimony on that subject is irrelevant.
Vilma and the player’s union have continued to allege that Goodell misused his powers as commissioner of the league, as Goodell served as the arbitrator in Vilma’s case. The commissioner had made defamatory comments on the linebacker, thus making it impossible for Goodell to be impartial, which is required by the collective bargaining agreement. These comments have led to Vilma filing a separate lawsuit against him for defamation.
Still, several members of the Saints organization have come to the defense of Vilma, testifying on behalf of the linebacker. He continues to receive support from his team, including quarterback Drew Brees, who greeted his teammate outside the courthouse.
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