New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Suspended New Orleans Saints linebacker
Jonathan Vilma filed a defamation lawsuit against NFL commissioner Roger
Goodell on Thursday in the District Court of the Eastern District of
Vilma is suspended for the entire 2012 season for his alleged role in the
Saints' bounty system.
"By this action, Vilma seeks to recover damages for defamatory statements made
by Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League ("NFL"),"
the complaint reads. "Vilma is a professional football player for the New
Orleans Saints ("Saints"), a Member Club of the NFL. Goodell, speaking
publicly about certain Saints executives, coaches and players, in relation to
purported efforts designed to injure opposing players, made public statements
concerning Vilma which were false, defamatory and injurious to Vilma's
professional and personal reputation."
Vilma was among four players who received bans from the commissioner.
Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with Green Bay, was suspended eight
games, defensive end Will Smith was hit with a four-game ban and linebacker
Scott Fujita, now playing for Cleveland, will sit for the first three games of
the 2012 campaign.
Vilma filed a formal appeal earlier this month. In addition, the NFL Players
Association filed a grievance against the NFL on behalf of the suspended
All of the suspensions are without pay and stem from the bounty system run
from 2009-11 by former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was
suspended indefinitely in March. Saints head coach Sean Payton was also
suspended for a year for his knowledge of the program.
The Sports Network