The attorney for Jonathan Vilma thinks we’re all just being unfair.
When faced with damning evidence that his client paid up to $1000 for hits resulting in an opponent being carted off the field, Peter Ginsberg engages in a clumsy bit of rhetorical slight-of-hand. When required to say something that is a bald-faced lie:
“The truth is that Jonathan Vilma gave no money, incentive or encouragement ever — not at any time in his eight-year career — to injure or knock out of any game any player…”
It’s a simple matter to qualify said statement just enough to make it not a lie:
“…with a dirty or unsportsmanlike hit.”
This is, of course, entirely true. Vilma (and others on the Saints) are not accused of paying bounties for hits that are illegal; they are accused of paying bounties for hits that cause injury. Whether or not the hits were technically “legal” is beside the point. By the same token, this is a true statement:
“The truth is that O.J. Simpson did not kill his ex-wife and her friend…”
If you qualify it properly:
“…with a gun.”
Sadly, Yahoo! Sports goes along for the ride:
“According to STATS, LLC, Vilma has played in 42 games since 2009 and has been penalized three times in that span. Two-thirds of NFL defensive players who played in 40 or more games during that same period were penalized more than Vilma.”
Oh, well, that’s alright, then. A slightly better than average linebacker has committed slightly fewer than average penalties. Therefore, he couldn’t possibly have paid others for knocking opposing players out of games.