New Orleans Saints  

 

Jonathan Vilma won't return to 'bounty' hearing

NEW YORK -- All four suspended players from the New Orleans Saints "bounty" scandal and their attorneys left Monday's appeal before Commissioner Roger Goodell roughly an hour after their appeal hearings began.

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Peter Ginsberg, the lawyer for suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, said after a few opening remarks and challenges, Goodell asked to adjourn the meeting and reconvene Monday at 1:45 p.m. ET. Vilma, currently suspended for the entire 2012 season, did not plan to return.

Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith, the other suspended players in attendance for the appeal, planned to return for the afternoon session, according to an NFL Players Association source. The trio issued a statement before the appeal hearing that they did not approve of the manner in which the proceedings were held and suggested that they might not be active participants.

Ginsberg called this process, including the NFL failing to provide specific evidence of player bounties when it submitted evidence to players last Friday, "a sham."

With the way things stand, it appears as if players will take other legal measures to get some resolution to a situation that became more clouded and bizarre.

UPDATE: Fujita, Hargrove and Smith arrived back for the appeals hearing at roughly 1:30 p.m. ET. Shortly after the hearing ended Monday, Fujita blasted the league.

"The NFL has been careless and irresponsible, and they've made mistakes, and at some point, I think they've got to answer some questions about that," Fujita said.

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