Per New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s request, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as agreed to meet with Vilma and the three other players he suspended for their alleged involvement in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.
The dates of the meeting with Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita have not been determined, but they likely will not occur before next week. Goodell has said he will determine any punishment in the case after hearing from the reinstated players.
Earlier, Peter Ginsberg, an attorney who represents Vilma, said Vilma would inform the league he was willing to meet with Goodell for the first time regarding bounty allegations. Ginsberg notified the league office via email and was to send a formal notification by the end of business Tuesday, the commissioner’s deadline for the formerly suspended players to tell Goodell they are willing to present more information.
“I’m expecting a fair meeting, unlike the June 18 appeals hearing,” Vilma said in a text message to ESPN. “We can all benefit from transparency regarding evidence and witnesses instead of using conjecture or hearsay to come to inaccurate conclusions. I look forward to getting this accomplished.”
Ginsberg told ESPN: “If the commissioner feels sitting down with Jonathan and discussing matters will lead to a quick and fair resolution, Jonathan has been and continues to be willing to cooperate in any way that helps the truth come out. We only hope the commissioner keeps an open mind and doesn’t feel restricted by his previous and clearly erroneous conclusions.”
Neither the NFLPA nor the NFL have any comment on the potential meeting between Goodell and Vilma, and despite Ginsberg’s acknowledgment that Vilma is willing to participate, there will be doubt until the player and Goodell actually speak.
Vilma walked out of an appeals hearing with Goodell, refusing to participate in what Ginsberg described as a charade, and in August he requested a meeting with Goodell he later canceled.