Jonathan Vilma knows a thing or two about fighting a harsh punishment from the NFL. On Wednesday, he dispensed advice to a high-profile player facing a similar predicament.
The former New Orleans Saints linebacker, who originally was suspended a full season for his role in BountyGate, offered his thoughts on what New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should do in the wake of his four-game suspension for DeflateGate.
“I’d tell Brady to fight the emotion of defending himself publicly, lawyer up and begin to devise a gameplan to beat the NFL through the (court) system,” Vilma told ESPN’s Ed Werder in a text message.
After getting his suspension overturned in September 2012, Vilma took his fight even further, filing a defamation suit against Roger Goodell and taking the NFL commissioner to court. Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue was appointed as a neutral arbiter and ended up vacating Goodell’s suspension of Vilma after the season.
While Vilma’s legal battles proved somewhat successful, the 33-year-old believes Brady will have a tougher time winning his fight against the NFL. Goodell conducted his own investigation into BountyGate, Vilma points out, making it possible for his team to prove bias. Brady’s investigation, meanwhile, was headed by independent investigator Ted Wells.
“We based our argument off of Goodell being the face of the BountyGate witchhunt,” Vilma added. “He hasn’t done that this time around. I don’t know how (Brady) accuses Goodell of being too bias to be (the) arbitrator. I was able to prove he was biased and then let all the facts start coming out in a neutral setting.”
Thumbnail photo via Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY Sports Images