Things are starting to get very interesting. On the heels of the reports yesterday that the NFL had offered Jonathan Vilma a settlement—a reduction in his suspension in exchange for dropping his defamation lawsuit against Goodell—comes a new report that Vilma’s lawyer is asking the court to investigate whether or not the NFL broke a confidentiality agreement in leaking news of the negotiations.
Which means: Vilma is looking at settling. Maybe not too hard, but he’s looking, all the same.
What’s more difficult to figure out is why the NFL would leak the news. Were they negotiating in good faith, or trying to set Vilma up? Was this all a ploy to make is seem that Vilma were tacitly admitting guilt? And if so: why did Vilma and his legal team fall for it?
I have trouble believing that’s the case because, first of all, it’s too pat; and besides, violating a confidentiality agreement could possibly get them in a lot of trouble. Or could it? Was the court involved in any way in these discussions? Did the NFL (if it violated anything at all) violate a court order, or merely a clause in a civil contract? Was there a clause specifying damages in the event of a violation? If not…what’s the court supposed to do?
In the end—<obligatory disclaimer>and I’m not a lawyer</obligatory disclaimer>—to me this all sounds like…hell, I don’t know. I suppose time will tell. I wonder, though, if we’ll be able to understand a word coming out of its mouth.
Kinda like Jeff Duncan, who’s still at it. Duncan has another piece at the Sometimes-Picayune extolling his superior wisdom and castigating both sides for failing to consult him. In particular, he singles out Vilma, who he says “wants the entire case vacated by the federal court and won’t stop until his record and name are completely cleared.” Okay, fine: sounds like an innocent man who wants to repair the damage done to his reputation. Oh, wait: isn’t that exactly what he’s said? So why does Duncan insist that “It’d be in his best interest to take the settlement and run”?
Oh. The money. Right. I guess when your reputation is in tatters anyway (or when you work for a doomed company), all that’s left is snatching up whatever coin you get get your mitts on. And who knows? Maybe that’s the course Vilma will choose. If he does, Jeff will nod sagely and congratulate Jonathan on his wisdom, and the rest of us will feel disgusted and betrayed. Call me old-fashioned: I’d rather feel disgusted and betrayed. As unpleasant as it may be, I could still live with myself.