Jonathan Vilma’s One-Year Suspension Is Bullshit
So, let me get this straight. The New Orleans Saints' coaching staff installed a bounty system for their defense. They instilled it in their locker room's culture -- emotionally, through locker room speeches, and fiscally, through actual stacks of cash. They harped on it, repeatedly, until it was just another tool in their motivational strategy.
The players, being players, did what their coaches said. Some of these players were young and new to the NFL. Some were older and more secure in their job status, and probably should've known better. But all of them were players, and something a player is trained to do -- from pop warner to high school to college to the pros -- is listen to their coaches.
Now, one of those players has been suspended for an entire season?
Am I missing something?
Because, if I’m not mistaken, Jonathan Vilma’s a player. He’s lower on the organizational chain of command than head coach Sean Payton. Logic would say, by virtue of being in the trenches, he doesn’t deserve the same punishment that the man who called the shots got.
When an organization -- any organization -- installs a plan that goes south or, worse, turns out to be illegal, the people with the most responsibility are the ones who are supposed to incur the highest penalties. The one-year suspension incurred by Vilma is the same one that Sean Payton got. One is a linebacker. The other is a head coach. This is akin to a bank's project manager getting the same penalty as a bank's CEO for corrupt lending practices -- corrupt lending practices that are used by other banks, too -- and it makes zero sense.
Jonathan Vilma fucked up. He did. He was told by his coaches to go for the cart-offs, and he did it, because that's what he was trained to do. Then he took it a step further, because he's fiery and cocky, and put down $10,000 on a table. He looked around at his teammates, some of whom were younger and more impressionable, and told them that the money would go to whoever knocked Brett Favre out of that week's NFC title game.
That deserves a two game suspension, no more. Jonathan Vilma is a team leader, yes, but no team leader -- not Drew Brees, not Ray Lewis, not anyone -- is going to stand up in the middle of a team meeting where bounties are mentioned and say, "Hey guys! Wait a minute! Let's stop this! We're better than this."
No one would do that. Especially the week of the NFC title game. At that point you're riding with your team, for better or for worse. At that point, you're foaming at the mouth and eating whatever your coaches are feeding you. At that point, you're doing what you've been trained to do. And Jonathan Vilma just lost a year's pay -- a year's pay in a career that's approaching its end -- for doing what he was told to do by the men at the top.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Betting Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.