NFL Nation: Peter Ginsberg
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.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the players have retained a New York-based attorney who plans to file litigation Wednesday to prevent their four-game suspensions from taking effect. In an interview with the newspaper, attorney Peter Ginsberg issued some aggressive rhetoric that indicates he will bring intense public pressure on the NFL to reverse its decision.
Ginsberg said the NFL is "fictionalizing in fact what occurred" and said it should be "sanctioned for this kind of behavior."
Moreover, Ginsberg accused the NFL of caring only about "the commercial aspect of the league" and showed "gross disregard ... for the health and safety of the players" by not specifically informing them that the StarCaps weight-loss supplement contained a banned diuretic.
(The league said in a release Tuesday that it banned all products made by the manufacturer of StarCaps and revealed the connection to the NFL Players Association in 2006. The NFL's collectively-bargained steroids policy does not require a more specific revelation, the league said in a statement Tuesday).
Ginsberg hammered the policy itself, saying: "It's not designed to protect the players. It's designed to placate politicians and protect the image of the league." He also called the suspensions "unfair to the teams involved, their fans and the players."
All of this sounds good and fair. But from a legal standpoint, it will be interesting to see if Ginsberg has a case. Is he merely trying to pressure the league into reconsidering? Or does he have a fact-based argument that could exonerate his clients?
After all, the NFL and its Players Association have collectively-bargained the steroids policy. Ginsberg would have to argue that the policy was wrongly administered. Suggesting that the policy itself is unfair or illegal might not help because the players participated in its development.
At any rate, it's clear this issue is far from over.
John Clayton weighs in on the suspensions.