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Vilma files new lawsuit against the NFL

Jonathan Vilma AP

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has huffed and puffed on Twitter regarding Commissioner Roger Goodell’s failure to issue a ruling on the appeal of Vilma’s one-year suspension for involvement in the Saints alleged bounty program.  Now, Vilma once again will try to blow the league’s house down, via a lawsuit.

According to the Associated Press, Vilma filed a civil action Saturday night in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, attacking among other things the 13-days-and-counting delay in the issuance of a decision after a hearing in which Vilma didn’t present a substantive defense.  The complaint specifically states that a decision should have come by Monday, June 25, the first business day after the record of evidence was closed.  (The league gave the players until 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, June 22 to submit written materials in support of their positions.)

The lawsuit also attacks the evidence on which Goodell relied in making the initial suspension decision, claiming that Goodell “undermined ‘the integrity of the NFL and the Commissioner’s office” by relying on flawed and/or unsubstantiated evidence.  Vilma points out that the players have seen less than one percent of 18,000 documents (consuming 50,000 pages) that the league claims it has accumulated.  Vilma also contends that the creation of a typewritten version of handwritten notes constitutes “alteration” of documents, proving that “the NFL cannot substantiate the suspension, and undermines the integrity of the process.”

Vilma contends that the handwritten notes, which the NFL claims have been withheld to protect the identity of their author, were created by former Saints assistant coach Mike Cerullo.  Vilma alleges that Cerullo had been fired by the Saints after the 2009 season, and that Cerrullo “resented that the Super Bowl ring he received had been made with imitation (cubic zirconia) diamonds.”  The notes, per Vilma, were created “well after the 2009 NFC Championship game and in an effort to gain revenge against the Saints.”

The suit also contends that Cerullo has retracted his claims “in a communication directly with Goodell that occurred in April 2012.”  (If true, that’s obviously huge news.)

Vilma also claims that the NFL has ordered former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams not to speak with suspended Saints players, coaches, or officials as a condition of his reinstatement.

The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order (and, presumably, a preliminary injunction), which would allow Vilma to continue to practice and play if the suspension is upheld, and until the lawsuit is resolved.

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18 Responses to “Vilma files new lawsuit against the NFL”
  1. joetoronto says: Jul 1, 2012 7:35 AM

    This guy deserves everything coming his way, and more.

  2. realtimeeyes says: Jul 1, 2012 7:45 AM

    Vilma also claims that the NFL has ordered former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams not to speak with suspended Saints players, coaches, or officials as a condition of his reinstatement.

    If this is true, and Williams testifies to this under oath, The NFL is in trouble.

    Goodell’s face is turning red again!

  3. jason49er says: Jul 1, 2012 9:03 AM

    Another couple offseasons like this and the NFL’s lawyers are gonna have enough green to purchase Apple from Tim Cook.

  4. stayclassyasheville says: Jul 1, 2012 9:41 AM

    Only 28 days until training camps open!

  5. ilikefootball75 says: Jul 1, 2012 3:07 PM

    Vilma needs to man up, he got caught now pay the piper. Williams isn’t fighting the ruling, why not because he knows he is guilty.
    There were 22 to 27 players that participated and only 4 to 5 players are fighting this because the others know they are guilty. Coy Wire came out and said that Williams had a bounty system in Buffalo; Williams didn’t get caught there, so why would he change in New Orleans.
    Football players have a lot of pride, so why would Vilma walk out of the courtroom, I know Goodell was the head of the ruling but you would defend yourself no matter what, if you were innocent, a guilty man would walk out. They have tape on this, just take your medicine and move on.
    In that game against there were so many late and cheap shots on Favre, it looked like the Saints players were paid to hurt Favre.

  6. silentcount says: Jul 1, 2012 3:19 PM

    Goodell makes false accusations against a linebacker in the NFL who’s trained to attack without fear. What did he expect? When you talk tough, you have to be able to back it up. Vilma saves his hardest LEGAL HITS for someone who truly needs admit his mistakes before his face gets even redder.

  7. jvw1982 says: Jul 1, 2012 3:20 PM

    Good for you Vilma…….the process and results stink…..make them produce the evidence against you and then give you chance to defend yourself…..they havent done this……

  8. bigball1 says: Jul 1, 2012 3:31 PM

    Why is it that Vilma is trying so hard to bring the evidence into the open, and Goodell and the NFL is trying so hard to keep it hidden?
    Just maybe the evidence does not justify the penalties.
    If you were guilty of something don’t you think the last thing you would want is the evidence (proof) to be displayed?
    Sorry, but this is just the NFL saying it’s their ball and you can play the game if you want, but they have already decided that you have lost….

  9. gingerkid2000 says: Jul 1, 2012 5:18 PM

    Vilma is counting on Goodell not releasing all the evidence. He’s going to tell the judge there is no concrete evidence. Goodell will give the judge the evidence. Vilma will say it’s all bs. The judge is going to ask Vilma to prove the evidence is false. Goodell will then back up the evidence with statements from coaches & players. Vilma will then say that Goodell should not be the one who has the only & final say on appeals. Goodell will then bring out the CBA agreement and show if Vilma & the Saints voted for it. Unfortunately for Vilma he is now the one who has to not only provide proof that Goodell is lying, tampering & fabricating evidence but also has to explain why the CBA is not valid in regards to his case. Vilma is going to need the witnesses to admit they lied to the NFL and the NFL acted outside of the CBA. And if there is any evidence that proves the NFL gave him opportunities to cooperate to reduce his punishment or provide proof that he wasn’t involved and he knew about it but chose not too, no judge will look at this law suit as anything but a frivolous waste of time. His attorney is taking the NFLPA to the cleaners and Vilma is just too stupid to know it. Also, the fact that these guys & the NFLPA use Twitter & Facebook to air their grievances as part of their forum is not too bright either. Considering that screen grabs of their previous posts before they were deleted conflict with one’s they’re making now that they’re being punished.

  10. docschoolie says: Jul 1, 2012 5:22 PM

    Vilma should be banned from football for life. He’s a scumbag who took money to hurt his fellow players. “nuff said!

  11. pallidrone says: Jul 1, 2012 5:45 PM

    bigball1 says: Jul 1, 2012 3:31 PM

    Why is it that Vilma is trying so hard to bring the evidence into the open, and Goodell and the NFL is trying so hard to keep it hidden?
    Just maybe the evidence does not justify the penalties.
    If you were guilty of something don’t you think the last thing you would want is the evidence (proof) to be displayed?
    Sorry, but this is just the NFL saying it’s their ball and you can play the game if you want, but they have already decided that you have lost….

    ——————————————————————————-

    Or maybe that the NFL is trying to protect the identity of those that blew the whistle on the Saints. That the NFL knows if this information gets out that it will most likely stop anyone from speaking up in the future, knowing that their privacy is not safe.

    Vilma is fighting hard because he also knows this and knows that the NFL will not jeopardize its long term growth for one whiny player.

  12. buccaroo989 says: Jul 1, 2012 5:47 PM

    buccaroo989 says:
    Jul 1, 2012 2:37 PM
    I think the nfl should have let the authorities take care of Vilma and the entire criminal enterprise known as th New Orleans Saints.

     

  13. silentcount says: Jul 1, 2012 6:22 PM

    Vilma has come up with proof that the evidence was falsified. Former Saints assistant coach Cerullo was mad that he got fired after 2009 season and was the “witness” Goodell used. It’s reported that he fabricated the written note only recently. He has since recanted what he told Goodell which is what Vilma has been referring to, that Goodell denied. Vilma also has a witness that may testify that Goodell changed what Greg Williams admitted to. Goodell started this mess, and Vilma is the hero not afraid to take him on and bring out the truth. In the end, don’t be surprised if Red-face Goodell has to lift all suspensions, including the coaches. Vilma is the man!

  14. ashleenaome says: Jul 1, 2012 7:48 PM

    When they file a lawsuit you know they’re guilty … and unrepentant.

  15. rubbernilly says: Jul 1, 2012 9:01 PM

    14 days and counting?

    I begin to wonder what deal the NFL is trying to negotiate with the NFLPA on the back of this lawsuit. You know, like the benefits the PA got by signing off on the salary cap penalties for the Cowboys and Skins.

    I wouldn’t doubt there is something in the works… and judging by the salary cap penalties, the NFLPA probably isn’t smart enough to examine all of the ramifications before they agree to it.

    Still… let’s just see if something comes down the pike a within the month that follows Goodell issuing a ruling on this… some sort of quid pro quo for the NFL and PA.

    You heard it here first.

  16. chatham10 says: Jul 1, 2012 10:55 PM

    Vilma should check with Williams of the Vikings who fought his suspension and what did it do for him? Nothing, but his lawyers made a fortune.

  17. bigball1 says: Jul 1, 2012 11:31 PM

    Or maybe that the NFL is trying to protect the identity of those that blew the whistle on the Saints. That the NFL knows if this information gets out that it will most likely stop anyone from speaking up in the future, knowing that their privacy is not safe.

    Vilma is fighting hard because he also knows this and knows that the NFL will not jeopardize its long term growth for one whiny player.

    To: Palloidrone
    Actually I appreciate your argument on this. But the reality is that just because the “whistle blower” tells his tail it does not mean it is true. There is likely a unhappy ex-employee tied up in this mess. And if that is true, then the NFL has tied their case to a person that will fold if questioned “under oath”.
    While the NFL is OK with sacrificing 4 players for the sake of their long term growth….the 4 players are not too keen on this idea!

  18. panamon says: Jul 2, 2012 1:24 PM

    Vilma is going to just throw everything at a wall and see what sticks isn’t he? Not going to work, some of his arguments even contradict each other.

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