Saints LB Jonathan Vilma maintained that he was not involved in a bounty program in an interview with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
“What I’ve said before, there was no bounty program in place,” Vilma said Thursday. “I never paid anybody, intended to pay anybody — that’s the truth. Never sought out to injure people. That’s the truth. That’s really about it. I can’t really go into detail.”
Vilma was suspended for the entire 2012 season for his role in the Saints’ bounty program, which took place over three seasons from 2009-11, according to the league’s investigation.
The NFL stated that sources confirmed Vilma offered $10,000 in cash to any player who knocked Cardinals QB Kurt Warner out of the 2009 divisional playoff game, and the same amount to anyone who knocked Vikings QB Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC championship game.
“How can it look so one way? Because only one guy is telling the story. Simple as that,” Vilma said. “That is true. No players have said anything. It’s all one-sided.”
Vilma has appealed and also filed a defamation lawsuit against commissioner Roger Goodell.
“We asked for evidence, and (Goodell) wouldn’t give it to us,” Vilma told Rapoport. “How can I defend myself if I don’t know what I’m defending against?”
Vilma was asked when he will publicly tell his side of the story.
“When the time is right. And it’s not a PR battle we’re trying to fight. We’re trying to fight real issues,” he said. “Whatever is being said in the media, that doesn’t concern me right now.”
The nine-year veteran started 11 games last season for the Saints and made 54 tackles.