NEW ORLEANS - Jonathan Vilma maintains the NFL hasn't proven anything relating to his alleged role in a bounty program, and Monday, Vilma walked out of an appeals hearing with Commissioner Roger Goodell.
NFL Analyst Mike Detillier said the suspended linebacker's frustration is justified.
"If this was a mountain of evidence, I can climb that mountain,” he said. “This basically was a sham.”
Detillier said, most importantly, Goodell hasn't proven there was an intent to injure other players.
"(Goodell) has not distinguished between what many people look at as a bounty and a pay for performance," he said. "The only thing the commissioner has to do, in his power, is to prove that money was offered, and you have violated NFL rules.”
Included in the more than 200 pages of documents turned over to the suspended players were power-point presentations and a transcript from handwritten notes, which seem to assign dollar amounts to Saints players.
There's even a picture of reality television personality, Dog the Bounty Hunter, and a to-do list that includes the message, "Now it's time to do our jobs... collect bounty$$$."
Just how damning the evidence will be is sparking heavy debate, but Eyewitness News Legal Analyst Donald “Chick” Foret said the way it's being handled -- with Commissioner Goodell handing out the punishments and handling the appeals -- is covered by last year's collective bargaining agreement between the league owners and the NFL Players Association.
"It’s a flawed system, as it relates to due process and fairness of hearing. It's a flawed process, but unfortunately, it's a process that the players agreed to," Foret said. "The four players that we're talking about today are paying the price for not getting that language out of the agreement and putting into place a different system for the imposition of penalties and for the appeals, if the penalties are deemed too harsh."
In a statement Monday, the NFLPA said the documentation provided by the NFL "can hardly be characterized as hard evidence."
Now the suspended players wait for a final decision from Goodell.