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Vilma's lawsuit against Goodell underscores Saints' arrogance

by | CBSSports.com National NFL Insider

Until his suspension, Jonathan Vilma was by all accounts the Saints' defensive leader. (Getty Images)  
Until his suspension, Jonathan Vilma was by all accounts the Saints' defensive leader. (Getty Images)  

No one knows where this latest crazy episode in a series of crazy episodes wrapped by insanity and flanked by conspiracy theories, arrogance and paranoia will go. It seems like this Saints bounty story continues to rapidly spiral downward.

Further and further into the Saints bounty muck we go. Doesn't seem to be brakes on this ride. That scene in the movie Dr. Strangelove where Slim Pickens is riding a nuclear missile like a cowboy on a wild horse as the nuke flies to the ground? That's the NFL, that's us, as this story plummets further into the abyss.

Some of the players punished by Roger Goodell are good people who made mistakes. I know Scott Fujita is an honorable man. This is a fact. I'm sure other figures in the Saints bounty case are the same.

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The problem for the Saints continues to be their arrogance. That's been the issue for the Saints in the Sean Payton era and that arrogance is again showing its multi-faceted head with Jonathan Vilma's lawsuit against Roger Goodell for defamation of character.

I'm still wondering if this is some type of joke or if Keanu Reeves will interrupt my conscience thought and tell me the Matrix is far older than you know. Defamation? Really?

Throw in the fact that the lawyer for Vilma, Peter Ginsburg, has had some interesting allegations made against him, and you have the makings of a circus that might never end.

Vilma's lawsuit is about arrogance but it's also about a refusal to take responsibility for one's actions.

The Saints are presenting themselves as freedom fighters taking up arms against the dictator Goodell who refuses to provide proof of their crimes. The only thing missing is a soundtrack and Saints players storming the NFL offices while flying on a dragon. It's a smart tactic and plays well with the base. Saints fans, fearing their Super Bowl will be tainted by history, are clinging to anything that appears exonerating and Vilma's lawsuit is one of those pieces of straws in a superficially well-built straw man.

Saints players keep saying "show me the proof" the way Cruise said "show me the money" hoping that as long as the NFL keeps failing to produce its hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, people will claim cover-up. Again, it plays well with a Saints base that believes this entire thing is one cooked up conspiracy, but ignores the simple question of why would the NFL risk its entire reputation on a lack of proof.

Pretty soon, I expect Saints fans to ask Goodell for his birth certificate.

The Saints know the NFL could never produce everything because it would identify who ratted out the players.

The true hope of Vilma is to get Goodell deposed and tell Vilma who sold the Saints out. That likely will never happen.

There should be a point where Vilma looks inward and at least speaks truthfully to himself. We all make mistakes and have had those moments of realization where we admit no one is to blame for a screw-up but ourselves. Vilma apparently hasn't reached that moment.

Keep crying you're a victim. Keep whining about persecution. Keep calling for proof when you know the NFL can't release it. That's the strategy. It will work inside the state of Louisiana.

A less arrogant person would take his medicine like an adult but Vilma won't. He's going to keep pushing that strategy because Vilma knows he can play the base for suckers.

So this charade will continue and the arrogant players like Vilma will keep pushing this straw-man storyline now hoping he can rope a judge. "Vilma, as a captain of the Saints defense, was instrumental in leading the Saints to their first-ever Super Bowl championship in the 2009 season," the lawsuit states, "and is highly regarded as a player and individual throughout the United States and in the State of Louisiana as well as in the professional football community."

That was true.

Then came Bountygate.


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