Vilma sues Goodell
After hiring New York attorney Peter Ginsberg, it came as no surprise to me that New Orleans Saints LB Jonathan Vilma has filed a defamation lawsuit. Did anyone really think that Vilma retained the services of Ginsberg just to plead his case before the kangaroo court of appeals in the NFL?
Since the news broke this afternoon, most of the legal experts I've heard are saying Jonathan Vilma's chances of winning his defamation lawsuit against Roger Goodell are slim. But keep this in mind. Peter Ginsberg is the attorney who defeated the NFL when he defended Minnesota Vikings players in the "StarCaps" case.
Benefits of Vilma's defamation lawsuit
From the perspective of a Saints' fan, Jonathan Vilma's federal defamation lawsuit against Goodell has two positives. First, now that it's in the courts, the judge could issue a restraining order against Roger Goodell's suspension of Vilma. The Vikings' players in the "StarCaps" case played for years until their case finally ended.
Second, in a court of law, discovery rights demand that a defendant be allowed to see the evidence being brought against him. It is preposterous that Roger Goodell has yet to release any of the alleged tens of thousands of pages of evidence against the New Orleans Saints in the bounty scandal.
Of course, Jonathan Vilma's defamation lawsuit comes down to whether or not he was a leader in the Saints' bounty system. If Roger Goodell is correct and Vilma really did put down $10,000 in the Saints' locker room, then it's not defamation. But without releasing the evidence against the Saints, it's hard to argue with Jonathan Vilma's position.
Roger Goodell has already shown how reckless he is in the handling of Anthony Hargrove's signed statement. That document should have never been released to the public and it has certainly damaged Hargrove's reputation among fellow NFL players. I wish Hargrove could afford to hire Peter Ginsberg as well.
Roger Goodell is intent on destroying the New Orleans Saints franchise in the name of protecting the shield. I also believe Goodell doesn't want the Saints playing in the Super Bowl in New Orleans. To these ends, Goodell has no qualms about abusing his authority to irreparably harm people like Sean Payton and Jonathan Vilma.
Lawsuits like Jonathan Vilma's defamation case against Roger Goodell are often determined by who has the best lawyer. So far, Peter Ginsberg is undefeated versus the NFL. I would love to see a judge rule that Goodell is not the king of the world and there are severe consequences to his abuse of power against the New Orleans Saints.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of the New Orleans Saints. Patrick's favorite Saints season was 2009 when New Orleans won Super Bowl 44. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
Brett Martel, "Saints' Vilma sues Roger Goodell for defamation," yahoo.com
Jason Cole, "Courts could delay player suspensions in Saints' bounty scandal for months, if not years," yahoo.com
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