Jonathan Vilma Reportedly Suing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for Defamation
Jonathan Vilma has already appealed his one-year suspension for allegedly being the ringleader of the New Orleans Saints' bounty program from 2009 to 2011.
Battista tweeted on Thursday:
Vilma v. Goodell, suing commissioner for defamation, filed in Louisiana today.— Judy Battista (@judybattista) May 17, 2012
Vilma said in the suit, via James Varney of the Times-Picayune:
Vilma says his name now forever linked with "bounty," fans forever "remember his name with ill repute."— James Varney (@jvarneyTP) May 17, 2012
During his appeal, Vilma argued that the NFL had not presented enough evidence to link him to a system in which players were rewarded financially for injuring opponents, per ESPN. His appeal asked the league to present documentation, including witness statements and the names of those witnesses.
Vilma, one of four Saints players the NFL suspended following the investigation, received the only one-year ban from the league. As a 30-year-old linebacker, that can prove rather damaging to his career. He registered 54 tackles and one forced fumble for the Saints in 2011.
Vilma's appeal came on the same day that ex-Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove's sworn statement was leaked to the media. Hargrove's statement describes how former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and current New Orleans interim head coach Joe Vitt asked him to deny the existence of a bounty program to investigators.
Do you believe Jonathan Vilma?
And while the NFL concluded that Hargrove's statement acknowledged he misled investigators, the players union denied his statement proves he lied to the NFL or that a bounty program existed.
Vilma's lawsuit is just another step in what should be a long battle between the two sides. This is beginning to get really ugly.
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