NEWORLEANS-- Saints quarterback Drew Brees is lending his support to embattled Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is fighting a season-long suspension for his alleged role in the team's bounty scandal. (See the affidavit.)
Brees filed an affidavit in federal court in support of Vilma as well as questioning the league's claim that Saints players participated in a bounty program.
The affidavit was filed in U.S. District Court Judge Helen 'Ginger' Berrigan's court, where Vilma is fighting his NFL suspension and is also seeking access to the team's facilities to rehabilitate an injured and surgical-repaired knee.
In the court document, Brees states, 'My understanding is that Mr. Goodell has accused members of our defense, including Jonathan, of engaging in a pay to injure program that involved offering financial incentives to teammates to intentionally injure opposing players. I have no knowledge of a pay to injure program existing, and have yet to personally see any evidence that would substantiate these allegations.'
Brees vouched for the character of Vilma, saying in the document, 'In my four years as a teammate with Jonathan, I have found that he is a man of integrity who passionately plays the game of football within the framework of the rules and has respect for his opponents.'
Brees also cited Vilma's commitment to rebuilding New Orleans post-Katrina and the work of Vilma's foundation to rebuild Haitian schools after the earthquake in 2010 as testaments to the linebacker's upstanding character.