Peter Ginsberg, the attorney for New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vima, released a statement Tuesday afternoon on behalf of his client with a reaction to Paul Tagliabue's decision to vacate punishments for Vilma and the other three players involved in the bounty case.
Ginsberg's statement drives home the news that his client intends to pursue a personal defamation suit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The statement reads:
"Two competing forces have been at play since at least March of this year - Roger Goodell has been trying every conceivable maneuver to avoid real and honest scrutiny of his manufactured allegations that Jonathan Vilma engaged in a bounty program aimed at opposing players and Jonathan has been fighting to have an open and fair review of those accusations.
"We are obviously relieved and gratified that Jonathan no longer needs to worry about facing an unjustified suspension. On the other hand, Commissioner Tagliabue's rationalization of Commissioner Goodell's actions does nothing to rectify the harm done by the baseless allegations lodged against Jonathan. Jonathan has a right and every intention to pursue proving what really occurred and we look forward to returning to a public forum where the true facts can see the light of day. We call upon Commissioner Tagliabue to release the transcripts of the proceedings held before him so that they are available as we go forward. Finally, it is regrettable that the NFL continues unjustifiably to attack the New Orleans Saints, an organization comprised of decent and honest people who continue to stand strong in the face of these baseless attacks."
Players reportedly rejected an offer from the league to settle in exchange for Vilma dropping his suit. That offer was rejected. Though Vilma has his suspension vacated, he was not technically exonerated in the appeal. Tagliabue's decision said that there was evidence of Vilma's cash offer for knocking Brett Favre out of the 2010 NFC Championship game.
In short, don't expect the back and forth over the issue to fade away anytime soon.