In New York, we call it’s chutzpah. I don’t know what you call it in the Big Easy.
Suspended New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has filed a libel and defamation suit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, according to the Associated Press and many other media outlets..
The Saints, of course, were found to have had a despicable bounty system in place, to reward players who hurt their rival teams. Vilma was among several players, as well as the head coach and general manager, suspended for the scheme. Vilma can’t play the whole 2012 season.
The suit filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans alleges that “Goodell had no reasonable grounds for believing the truth of his statements. Goodell relied, at best, hearsay, circumstantial evidence and lies in making the statements.”
So, according to Vilma’s lawsuit, “the 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,” The Atlanta Constitution reported.
The NFL commissioner named Vilma as the one in charge of the Saints’ bounty program, which awarded money to those who injured key players on opposing teams. For example, there was reportedly a $10,000 bounty on Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre at the 2010 playoffs, AP reported..
“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,” the lawsuit says.
In the bounty scandal, an NFL probe determined that the Saints had a system where roughly two dozen players would get rewards for hurting rival players. But according to Vilma’s lawsuit, he “never ‘pledged,’ made or received payments of any kind encouraging or resulting from an opposing player being injured.”
Perhaps Vilma is in fact innocent. I guess this suit will help determine that or not.