New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been suspended a year for his… (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images )
Writers from around the Tribune Co. will discuss the NFL's one-year suspension of New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma for his alleged role in the Saints' bounty program. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
The suspension of Jonathan Vilma was not too severe if in fact he offered $10,000 bounties to any teammate who took out Kurt Warner or Brett Favre. That’s clearly crossing the line. But the thing is, did he actually do that? That’s what the NFL needs to prove, or risk suspicion that the league rushed to judgment.
It’s time for the league to lay its cards on the table, reveal what specific evidence it has against the Saints, and put the matter to rest. The league was emphatic from the start that it had the Saints dead to rights, and the audiotape of Gregg Williams only bolstered that, but the NFL’s reluctance to provide further evidence only makes it look like it has something to hide. It’s time for the NFL to prove that it indeed has the goods.
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
Jonathan Vilma’s punishment is severe all right. Very severe. Whether or not it’s too severe is difficult to judge because the NFL has not gone public with the evidence it has against Vilma. Given what the public knows, it seems that a year-long suspension for following your bosses’ orders is pretty harsh. Unless Vilma truly was a ringleader in the Saints’ bounty program, and not just a stooge who was doing what he was told, he should not have been suspended for an entire year.
Vilma is adamant that he never paid a teammate to try to injure an opponent. The NFL is likely to have a different version of what happened in New Orleans, however. It is worth noting that Vilma’s suspension is longer than the suspensions of three teammates who also were accused of taking part in the bounty program.