As any Miami Hurricanes fan is well aware, the Canes are staring at the potential of being hit with substantial NCAA violations for their alleged role in the Nev Shapiro scandal. As a lifelong Hurricanes fan I am angry as could be at the former players who allegedly took money and gifts from Shapiro as many of them have moved on to the NFL and have left current and future Hurricanes players holding the bag. One such player is Jonathan Vilma, who is once again in the middle of controversy and has been banned from the NFL without pay for one year, which is leaving me with mixed emotions.
First Time Offense?
According to a report from ESPN the main reason that Vilma was banned for an entire year was due to the fact that he supposedly offered up $20,000 of his own money if defensive players on the New Orleans Saints knocked out certain quarterbacks. If this is true, then it actually adds a lot of credit to the story that Nev Shapiro has told.
Parts of Shapiro's allegations are that he paid players "bounties" for large hits. He cited one game in particular against Florida State where he offered $5,000 to any player who could knock out the quarterback and went on to say that Vilma tried to "kill" him in that game. He also says he paid Vilma $2,050 for similar hits in other games. So, was the NFL bounty case Vilma's first offense or something he learned from Shapiro while at "The U?"
Jonathan Vilma is strongly denying that he had any role in the pay for hit scandal with the Saints according to the ESPN story. However, I believe that part of what the NFL might have looked at was his alleged past while playing for the Hurricanes. Vilma is appealing the decision, but it really looks as though he may have had a history of such actions.
Being a fan of the Hurricanes I root for all former Canes that make it to the NFL regardless of the team they play for. I never like to see any Hurricane face such trouble and Vilma was always one of my favorites while playing for the Canes. On the other hand, if it does come to light that he and many other former Canes did even half of what Shapiro is accusing them of then this is, in my mind, retribution for an act that might have otherwise gone unpunished.
Jimmy Collins has been a loyal fan of "The U" since he was a child attending games at the original Orange Bowl. Still a resident of South Florida, he attends numerous Miami Hurricanes games each season and enjoys writing about NCAA Football and the Miami Hurricanes in particular.
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