The NFL has filed a grievance against the NFL Players Association demanding Jonathan Vilma drop his defamation lawsuit against Commissioner Roger Goodell on the grounds that it violates the CBA.
The NFL also demanded Vilma compensate the league for any money spent on legal bills defending Goodell, according to Ryan Jones of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Goodell suspended Vilma for the entire 2012 season for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal. Vilma has denied participating in it and has sued Goodell for defamation.
“Clearly, League Discipline, and the Commissioner's responsibility for upholding that Policy, is 'conduct permitted by the CBA' and under the NFL's Constitution and Bylaws. Because all challenged communication occurred in furtherance of the Commissioner's responsibility, such conduct falls squarely within the protections of Article 3's no-suit provision,” a letter the league sent reads, according to Jones.
Peter Ginsberg, who is representing Vilma, strongly denied the league’s claims and pointed out Vilma is suing Goodell and not the NFL.
Ginsberg maintains that Goodell is being sued in this matter “for his wantonly false and irresponsible public accusations and allegations against Mr. Vilma apart from from any conduct as Commissioner.”
So, basically Vilma is going after Goodell 1-on-1 here but there is no way the league is going to have the commissioner out on an island on this matter.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune