Will New Orleans’ ‘Bountygate’ Ever End?

Months after initial rulings, the Saints' bountygate scandal is still taking headlines. J. Lance Moose describes why this is unacceptable.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

It has been over two months since NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed down suspensions on four current and former New Orleans Saints players associated with the 'spygate' scandal.  And nearly four months since head coach Sean Payton, two other coaches and the Saints GM were also suspended for various lengths of time.  But while Payton has taken his suspension and disappeared from the NFL landscape, the suspended players and the Players Union have refused to take their punishment like men and make themselves look like whiny little children.

All the players filed appeals to their suspensions, which they have the right to do.  And I'm completely fine with them doing so.  But the reaction after their appeals were denied has been where I draw the line.

Jonathan Vilma got the ball of redundancy rolling when he filed a defamation suit against the NFL (which Goodell has filed a motion to have dismissed), then after the appeals were denied Vilma filed a second suit stating that the appeals process was not completed in a timely manner and should go to an independent arbitrator.  Now the NFLPA has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the other three players that the commissioner is "incurably and evidently biased".

In regards to Vilma, I get the lawsuit for defamation of character because the controversy surrounding bountygate could make Vilma untouchable to almost any team in the future, including the saints.  Any team he is on from here on out will have speculation of Vilma placing bounties on opponents.  But his suit claiming that Goodell wasn't timely enough?!?!?  Come on!!  If Goodell would have given an appeal ruling within a few days, Vilma would have said that Goodell didn't look deep enough into the evidence, but because he took longer than a week he didn't make a ruling in a timely enough fashion??  I'm completely done with Vilma and if I never hear his name again I'll be completely fine with that.  Let's not forget that this is a man who was "shocked" when he was suspended for the 2012 season despite speculation for months that such a punishment would be handed down.

The NFLPA isn't innocent in this either. I have never seen a bigger group of cry-babies in my life.  If you're upset that commissioner Goodell is showing a biased approach in the suspension and appeals process, then why did you allow him to become judge, jury, executioner, and appellate judge??  

This mess is their own fault — that he has this much power. They should never have signed the collective bargaining agreement last year if this is how they truly felt.  But the parties involved were too concerned with getting something done than getting it right.  There was only one team that opposed the signing of the collective bargaining because of this issue and that team was the Pittsburgh Steelers. If any other team or their players want to complain about Goodell and the player discipline process, they only have themselves to blame.

I don't know when the bountygate saga is going to end, I just know that the end can't come soon enough.

J. Lance Moose is a contributor and lead football writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JLanceMoose, and subscribe on Facebook facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.

Photo Credit: AP