Contact Us

Is Jonathan Vilma A Scapegoat?

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Two months ago, “bountygate” hit the press. Yesterday, the final related suspensions were made when Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita, and Anthony Hargrove received bans. In the case of Vilma, it was an entire season. Justified? That’s debatable. Is he a scapegoat? Once again, that’s debatable.

The severity of Vilma’s punishment means the commissioner is holding him to the same culpability as coaches Sean Payton and Gregg Williams. Despite the fact that Vilma was never made aware of an NFL investigation into bounties, nor was part of a cover-up, the commish found it necessary to suspend him until the end of next season’s Super Bowl.

Why? Because Roger Goodell is sending a message…not just to the rest of the league, but to the 1200 or so former players who having pending lawsuits against the league for head injuries effecting their post-playing careers. Despite Goodell’s hypocrisy in the matter (pushing for an 18 game schedule), he cares more about his perceived message in regards to player safety. If the perception is that the league cares about player safety, then the commish is doing his job. Jonathan Vilma’s suspension helps him create that perception.

Vilma isn’t innocent either. He allegedly helped fund the “bounty” program; but does his punishment fit the crime? Or is he a scapegoat?

Football writer Mark Kriedler of examines that theory. Click here to check it out.

Best of ESPN1420

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for The Locker Room quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive The Locker Room contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.