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Old 05-17-2012, 04:53 PM   #1
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Default Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

Updated: May 17, 2012
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- Suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma filed a defamation lawsuit Thursday against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

The suit in U.S. District Court in New Orleans claims Goodell has made false statements about Vilma while discussing the NFL's bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints.

Goodell has said Vilma was a leader of the team's bounty program that put up thousands of dollars for big hits on opposing teams' star players from 2009-11, including on then-Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and then-Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre during the playoffs in 2010.

"Commissioner Goodell opted to make very public and unfortunately erroneous allegations against Jonathan," said Vilma's attorney, Peter Ginsberg. "By making these false and public statements, he has significantly harmed Jonathan's reputation and ability to make a living.

"By suing commissioner Goodell in court, Jonathan opted to use a fair playing field where he has procedural rights and protections to remedy the harm Commissioner Goodell has done to him," Ginsberg added.

Vilma wrote on his Twitter account that, "As I've said before..I NEVER PAID, NOR INTENDED TO PAY ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY, TO ANY PLAYER FOR INTENTIONALLY HURTING AN OPPONENT."

Goodell has suspended Vilma for the entire season. Vilma and three other players who received shorter suspensions -- defensive end Will Smith, defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove and linebacker Scott Fujita -- all have appealed their punishments. Hargrove now plays for Green Bay while Fujita is with Cleveland.

"We have not yet reviewed the filing," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "However, our commitment to player safety and the integrity of the game is our main consideration. We recognize that not everyone will agree with decisions that need to be made."

Vilma's lawsuit, which is expected to be heard by Judge Ginger Berrigan, asks for unspecified monetary damages.

The players' association has said the league has refused to turn over what the union would view as hard evidence that Vilma or the other sanctioned players tried to intentionally injure targeted opponents or sponsored such behavior on the field.

Ginsberg has echoed those complaints and said the federal lawsuit could force the NFL's hand.

"It is certainly the case that in court, Jonathan will have a right to see whatever it is that commissioner Goodell has been hiding from us and what commissioner Goodell contends gave him a basis to make these false allegations," Ginsberg said. "We will have a fair and neutral judge to preside over the dispute rather than contending with the executioner also being the person making the final decision."

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/79...ell-defamation
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

Here is a link to the complaint

Media will forever mention his name in the context of the Bounty investigation and fans will forever remember Vilma with ill repute rather than remember his substantial accomplishments on and off the field....

Goodell’s Statements permanently damage Vilma’s personal reputation in Louisiana and around the world. Vilma will soon have to leave behind the world of professional football and will likely face difficulties in obtaining other employment and entering into new ventures as a result of Goodell’s false and defamatory Statements.


http://media.nola.com/saints_impact/...%205.17.12.pdf


I think James Harrison may no longer be Goodell's least favorite linebacker
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

League responds to Vilma suit, reiterates commitment to safety and integrity

Posted by Mike Florio on May 17, 2012



The NFL has responded to the lawsuit filed Thursday by Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma against Commissioner Roger Goodell for defamation.

“We have not yet reviewed the filing,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email. “However, our commitment to player safety and the integrity of the game is our main consideration. We recognize that not everyone will agree with decisions that need to be made.”

Goodell will have 30 days to formally respond to the complaint, once it is officially served. It will be far more detailed than the paragraph appearing above, and it likely will consist of an effort to dismiss the case, possibly under the argument that the labor agreement supersedes the litigation process, forcing Vilma to file a grievance under the CBA.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...and-integrity/
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

This is what happens when a greedy lawyer advises an idiot. Subsequently the idiot decides to dig his grave deeper.

So what is he arguing? The bounty progam never existed? Yet, The owner, gm, head coach, and coordinator all stated they were sorry and regretted their actions? If it didn't exist, what are they sorry for? If Vilma wasn't involved, might one of those who stated they were sorry have said "oh no vilma wasnt involved? Perhaps we missed that.

So Vilma a side being embaraased and now feels he can't earn an income to pay for his posse to travel with him, is pissed. So he will lie, and say, oh know it wasn't me.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtain_of_Steel View Post
This is what happens when a greedy lawyer advises an idiot. Subsequently the idiot decides to dig his grave deeper.

So what is he arguing? The bounty progam never existed? Yet, The owner, gm, head coach, and coordinator all stated they were sorry and regretted their actions? If it didn't exist, what are they sorry for? If Vilma wasn't involved, might one of those who stated they were sorry have said "oh no vilma wasnt involved? Perhaps we missed that.

So Vilma a side being embaraased and now feels he can't earn an income to pay for his posse to travel with him, is pissed. So he will lie, and say, oh know it wasn't me.
I wouldn't jump to any conclusions. I'd like to see how this plays out.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtain_of_Steel View Post
So what is he arguing? .
As stated in the Complaint

Goodell, in the March 2 Club Report, also alleged that “prior to a Saints playoff game in January, 2010, defensive captain Jonathan Vilma offered $10,000 in cash to any player who knocked [opposing quarterback Brett] Favre out of the game.” (“Favre Allegation.”)...

Upon information and belief, Goodell told others that Vilma placed $10,000 in cash on a table during a team meeting in making the alleged offer concerning Favre....

Goodell, in his March 21 Press Release, also repeated the allegation that “several players pledged funds toward bounties on specific opposing players” and that “defensive captain Jonathan Vilma offer[ed] $10,000 to any player who knocked Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship Game in 2010.”...

Vilma never paid, or intended to pay, $10,000, or any amount of money, as an incentive to any player to knock Warner, Favre, or any other player, out of the 2009 Divisional Playoff Game, 2010 NFC Championship Game, or any other game.

Vilma never placed $10,000, or any amount of money, on any table or anywhere else as part of a Bounty Program or any other program in violation of NFL rules
.


http://media.nola.com/saints_impact/...%205.17.12.pdf

Vilma is challenging the allegations regarding the $10,000 bounty on Favre, which was a centerpiece of the grounds for bounty disciplinary actions

Vilma may be lying but the complaint makes it pretty clear what he is saying

Of course the league apparently will use its all purpose defense to any challenge to The Shield and the power of Goodell by claiming the collective bargainihg agreement preempts any right to bring a libel action. It also could disclose its sources regarding the $10,000 offer to take out Favre but that might cause soime other problems

The NFL will seek to dismiss the claim as frivolous or, alternatively, pre-empted by the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFLPA and the Uniform Player Contract. The league has expansively interpreted the collectively-bargained Personal Conduct Policy to include any conduct detrimental to the league's image. The policy commands that Goodell has final say on player discipline and that there is no right of appeal or review of his decisions. From that perspective, Vilma's anger should be with his union, which assented to Goodell having such sweeping authority. In response, Vilma could argue neither collectively-bargained nor language contained in the Uniform Player Contract contemplates defamation lawsuits between players and the commissioner, and thus any pre-emptive language would not apply to his specific dispute....

The league's best argument may be the simplest: truth is an absolute defense to defamation. The problem for the league in making such an argument is that, through the discovery process, it would likely have to disclose information it does not want to reveal. For instance, the league may have to divulge it's sources of information, including the identifies of players and coaches who were informants. The backlash of such disclosures could be considerable.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...2_a4&eref=sihp

Pete Rozelle was riding high until litigation beat him down in the 80s. The concussion lawsuits and actions such as that brought by Vilma to challenge his power may do the same to Goodell

Last edited by Atlanta Dan; 05-17-2012 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

i like vilma now, i hope he wins
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

They are full of it. They read it. And re-read it. And read again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawaii 5-0 View Post
League responds to Vilma suit, reiterates commitment to safety and integrity

Posted by Mike Florio on May 17, 2012



The NFL has responded to the lawsuit filed Thursday by Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma against Commissioner Roger Goodell for defamation.

“We have not yet reviewed the filing,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email. “However, our commitment to player safety and the integrity of the game is our main consideration. We recognize that not everyone will agree with decisions that need to be made.”

Goodell will have 30 days to formally respond to the complaint, once it is officially served. It will be far more detailed than the paragraph appearing above, and it likely will consist of an effort to dismiss the case, possibly under the argument that the labor agreement supersedes the litigation process, forcing Vilma to file a grievance under the CBA.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...and-integrity/
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:23 AM   #9
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell

Most legal experts i've heard comment on this say they don't likely see the lawsuit going very far, but what Vilma and his attorney are doing is making sure Vilma's voice gets heard and this makes a media splash.

Until the NFL releases transcripts or exact documentation of what they have, we can all speculate 'til the cows come home, but in reality, they surely have some hard evidence in hand, as they wouldn't dish out a 1-yr suspension without having anything to back it up, as they're fully aware of legal ramifications if they didn't.
If Vilma is wrong, the NFL could further embarrass him with the "proof", which could backfire on Vilma.

On the other side, the NFL is completely setting themselves up for this kind of thing with a reigning dictator and Czar, making godly decisions as though he's God himself. I figured after all the James Harrison stuff, that someone would eventually step up, take it to the next level, and not put up with it anymore. The firing back of Vilma could force the NFL to modify the ways it dishes out discipline and such.
One thing's for sure : There will without question be changes in all of these processes when its all said and done. What they will be will be interesting to see.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: Jonathan Vilma sues Roger Goodell




Vilma right to take on dictator Roger

UPDATED MAY 18, 2012

Hell, yes, Jonathan Vilma should sue Roger Goodell.

Someone has to stand against the NFL's well-intentioned, but wildly out-of-control, dictator. The elite NFL media, seduced by access and/or high-paying jobs on the television networks partnered with the national pastime, won't dare chop down Goodell to appropriate size, power and influence. And the NFL Players Association seemingly lacks the courage and resolve to regularly tussle with a commissioner corrupted by absolute power.

So, yeah, in an effort to get justice, Jonathan Vilma has no choice but to drag Goodell into a courtroom. On paper, Vilma is suing for defamation. In reality, Vilma is suing to overturn a grossly excessive yearlong suspension for his limited and largely unproven role in the Saints bounty scandal.

Sean Payton, Gregg Williams, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt — the New Orleans power structure that orchestrated, cultivated and embraced the bounty culture — confessed to and apologized for their email-documented and/or player-corroborated roles in the forbidden activity. Vilma has offered no confession or apology, and Goodell has yet to counter with hard and public evidence. Even if he has it, the yearlong suspension of Vilma is unfair, devoid of common sense and sets a dangerous precedent.

Vilma — a 30-year-old player — is being punished far more harshly than Goodell's peers: Payton, Loomis and Vitt. A player has a short earning window. Vilma has played eight seasons. Knee injuries limited him last year. His career is winding down. He took a significant pay cut this offseason. The Saints signed several free-agent linebackers. Vilma's suspension could be career-ending.

Payton, who also received a year-long suspension, can be an NFL head coach for the next 15 years. Vitt (six-game suspension) can be a high-paid assistant for the next 15 years. Loomis (four-game suspension) can hold a high-paying front-office job for the next 15 years. Goodell's peers — with the exception of Williams (suspended indefinitely) — can easily recoup their losses.

The architects and the primary benefactors of the bounty scheme, the men who permanently enhanced their coaching resumes with a Super Bowl title, received lighter punishments than the defensive captain who has been trained since childhood to follow the lead of his coaches.

Hell, yes, Jonathan Vilma should sue. Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove — the other suspended players — should join Vilma's lawsuit.

Football is militaristic. Adherence to chain of command is strictly enforced. Groupthink and submission to the will and values of the coaching staff are rewarded.

Vilma reflected his leaders. Does Goodell understand the culture he polices? I don't think he does. I think Goodell lives inside the cocoon of delusion we in the media and public have created for him. It's a cocoon that says professional athletes are stupid, irresponsible, lawless, spoiled, unworthy of their lofty salaries, undeserving of common respect and in desperate need of a law-and-order commissioner willing to discipline them.

Kernels of truth do not form the foundation for a sophisticated, mature and fair leadership strategy of a position as powerful as NFL commissioner. Kernels of truth often mislead. Vilma was a three-time Academic All-Big East player at Miami. Of Haitian descent, he started a charitable foundation in support of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Vilma shouldn't be defined by his role in the Saints scandal.

Last July, in the aftermath of Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison's anti-Goodell rant in Men's Journal magazine, I wrote about the foolishness of Goodell electing himself as the front man for the NFL's player-conduct policy and crackdown on dangerous hits.

Goodell set himself up as the target of player animosity. His supporters might argue it's a courageous decision by a leader who is trying to implement historic change. They're wrong. It's bad business. It's the immature action of a man in love with his press clippings and intent on establishing himself as the modern-day Pete Rozelle. It's vanity, not integrity.

Goodell wants us — media, fans, players, coaches, executives — to blindly trust that his motives are pure and just. No way. Trust the man/woman who tells you to solely trust his/her level of transparency and his/her willingness to have his/her actions vigorously questioned and reviewed.

Goodell is a self-appointed Supreme Court justice. He makes all the rulings in the lower courts and then allows the men he governs to file appeals in his Supreme Court.

Hell, yes, Jonathan Vilma should sue Roger Goodell. Vilma has no choice. The NFL doesn't have a system of checks and balances in place to oversee the commissioner. Goodell potentially delivered a death knell to Vilma's career.

Even if he got caught up in the bounty culture fostered by the Saints' leaders, does Vilma deserve that, a suspension far more punitive than the one received by Payton?

Hell, no. I hope Vilma wins his defamation lawsuit or Goodell is forced in a court of law to reveal the evidence that justifies such harsh punishment.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/j...rogance-051812
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