New York, NY (Sports Network) - New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma
has formally appealed the year-long suspension he received from NFL
commissioner Roger Goodell for his involvement in the club's bounty program.
Vilma was suspended last Wednesday, hit hardest among the four players who
received bans from the commissioner.
Goodell issued the suspension and will also hear the appeal, as stated under
the new collective bargaining agreement.
In addition to Vilma, defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with Green Bay,
was suspended eight games, defensive end Will Smith was hit with a four-game
ban and linebacker Scott Fujita, now playing for Cleveland, will sit for the
first three games of the 2012 campaign.
The NFL Players Association also filed a grievance against the NFL last week
on behalf of the suspended players. The NFLPA reportedly wants any appeal to
be heard by officers Ted Cottrell and Art Shell, who handle appeals of
discipline rulings that stem from activity on the field.
All of the suspensions are without pay and stem from the bounty system run
from 2009-11 by former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was
suspended indefinitely in March. Saints head coach Sean Payton was also
suspended for a year for his knowledge of the program.
Vilma's suspension was immediate, keeping him away from the club's training
facility, but he can now return to the team's headquarters until the appeal is
heard. The other three will begin their penalties at the start of the 2012
The Sports Network