In an extended meeting with the NFL today, Jonathan Vilma was presented an affidavit from former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams stating the linebacker offered $10,000 to any teammate that could knock Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the game.
Vilma was meeting with the league as part of the appeals process after a panel temporarily overturned a one-year suspension that Commissioner Roger Goodell handed him.
But Vilma’s attorney Peter Ginsberg disputed the evidence from Williams, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network.
“It was a reiteration of what Gregg Williams has said before,” Ginsberg, told Breer. “And it's just flat out wrong. We don't know what Gregg Williams' motivation is, what his motives are. But we know it's inconsistent with the truth. We know Jonathan previously and today told the commissioner the truth. And dozens of other players have provided the commissioner with the same information.”
This is precisely what strikes us. Williams stands nothing to gain from creating lies about Vilma. Williams was suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Throwing players under the bus ultimately isn’t going to serve his career well if he hopes to return to coaching. It’s been pretty obvious that Williams has been the man with the evidence all along. After all, he was told he had to cooperate with the NFL in investigations if he hoped to one day be reinstated.
“We focused today on Jonathan detailing for the commissioner his side of the story,” Ginsberg said, according to Breer. “We refuted all the information the NFL had used to support the punishments. And we supported the evidence with statistics that are inconsistent with the allegations that the New Orleans Saints ever set out to injure anyone.”
Defensive linemen Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith and linebacker Scott Fujita are scheduled to meet with Goodell on Tuesday.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune