Vilma lawyer: Ledger doesn't show bounties

June, 2, 2012
6/02/12
6:04
PM ET
The ledger the NFL reportedly has shows no proof that the New Orleans Saints placed bounties on opponents, the lawyer for Jonathan Vilma said Saturday.

Vilma
Peter Ginsberg used the words “misguided’’ and “irresponsible’’ to describe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the bounty situation. Ginsberg said the person who kept the ledger was interviewed by the commissioner. Although terms like “whack’’ and “cart-offs’’ were used and Ginsberg called the language regrettable, he said the terms were meant to describe clean and legal plays.

I wouldn’t expect Ginsberg to say anything different. He’s representing Vilma, who has appealed his season-long suspension and has filed a defamation lawsuit against Goodell. Ginsberg’s job is to protect Vilma’s best interests and that’s what he’s doing.

But it’s pretty clear part of the strategy Ginsberg and Vilma are using is to put all the evidence it has on the table. If Vilma’s lawsuit makes it to trial, the NFL could be forced by the legal system to do just that.

More and more, though, I’m thinking that if the NFL really does have all the evidence it says it has, why not make at least some of it public? Vilma and Ginsberg aren’t the only ones calling for the NFL to produce evidence. There are tons of New Orleans fans screaming for the same thing.

Goodell already has angered a lot of New Orleans fans. It might be in his best interest (and the league’s best interest) to put some evidence out there to justify why the NFL punished the Saints so severely.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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