NEW ORLEANS — The attorney for suspended New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma says a ledger of under-the-table cash bonuses and fines for Saints players shows no proof of bounties placed on targeted opponents.
Lawyer Peter Ginsberg said the leaking of the ledger to the media shows how “misguided and irresponsible” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been in handling the bounty investigation of the Saints.
People familiar with the ledger told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday that the document indicates payments of $1,000 for plays called “cart-offs” and $400 for “whacks,” as well as $100 fines for mental errors.
Ginsberg asserted that the commissioner interviewed the person who kept the ledger, and knows “the ‘whacks’ and ‘cart-off,’ though regrettably named, were descriptions of good, clean, legal plays, and that any dirty or penalized play resulted in fines.”
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said he had no comment on the statement by Ginsberg.
SEC DRUG TESTING: Players testing positive for marijuana in the Southeastern Conference do not face the one-year suspension that comes from getting busted by the NCAA.
Players get third, fourth and even fifth chances before they’re booted from the team; failed drug tests administered by the NCAA result in the automatic suspension.
The finding comes from an Associated Press examination of the drug policies at 11 current SEC members. Vanderbilt, a private institution, didn’t make its rules available.
All the SEC schools the AP looked at had far more lenient drug policies than the NCAA, though the penalties varied widely.
Former Auburn running back Mike Dyer testified in an April court case involving a teammate that he consistently smoked synthetic marijuana during his Tigers career, Louisiana State University star Tyrann Mathieu was suspended one game for violating the team’s drug policy last year and Georgia All-America safety Bacarri Rambo could miss a game or two next season for failing a drug test.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said a conference-wide standard has been discussed at least twice during his 10-year tenure but that league members have opted against one to this point.
Athletes at Georgia and Auburn who test positive for marijuana a second time face the prospect of losing half their season to suspension. Arkansas and Florida, by comparison, suspend athletes for 10 percent of a season for a second positive.
Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi State are the only ones with suspensions for a first positive test for marijuana, 10 percent of the season for each. Kentucky includes possible dismissal for each of the first two positives, with a (half-season suspension for No. 2).
Six of the schools have a three-strike-and-you’re-out method. At Florida, you might get a fifth strike. At Arkansas, four. And Ole Miss doesn’t have a defined number.