Jonathan Vilma going ahead with defamation case against Goodell


The decision from former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue that Jonathan Vilma will not be suspended for the Saints’ bounty case does not mean Vilma is done fighting.

Vilma’s attorney has already confirmed that the defamation case the Saints linebacker filed against current NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will move forward.

“Jonathan intends to continue to pursue the defamation lawsuit in order to reclaim his reputation. We’re pleased that the unjust penalties have been overturned, but this is only one piece in remedying the situation for Jonathan,” attorney Peter Ginsberg told Albert Breer of NFL Network.

That’s no surprise: Tagliabue’s ruling that Goodell was wrong to suspend Vilma is really a separate issue from the question of whether or not Goodell defamed Vilma with his public comments about the bounty case.

And so, while the four players suspended in the bounty case can declare victory in their fight to have the suspensions overturned, the bounty case itself isn’t over. Vilma isn’t backing down from his ongoing fight with Goodell.

44 responses to “Jonathan Vilma going ahead with defamation case against Goodell

  1. And Vilma has less ground now to stand on.

    Tags said he was guilty, just not responsible. This comes from arguments in the appeals hearing. If this is the case, when Vilma tries to say in the defamation case that Goodell defamed him by saying he was guilty of bounties, then it means either Goodell is innocent OR Vilma lied in the appeal hearing where it was found that he was guilty but not responsible. That means that he would have had to of disobeyed direct orders from his coaches not to participate while stating that he was following orders earlier.

    You can have it both ways.

  2. Vilma restored the integrity of the game, and the lame way the NFL has been running things of late. When he retires, he should be the front man for the NFL players and fans. I really respect this guy for his resolve. High five Jonathan.

  3. J.V. should back down…He won! Continuing the litigation just looks vindictive, & everyone wants to see this darn thing over with already, especially his Team.

  4. Vilma doesn’t have a chance in Hell. In order for statements to be considered defamatory they must be made with malicious intent and must be false. Good luck proving that one.

  5. Good, the more against Goodell the better. I don’t want to watch the London Silly Nannies opt to convert a 4th and 15 against the Patriots to lock up the game.

  6. You go Vilma – I hope you win big time and the fans case aganist the NFL cost the league such big money that they fire Godell.
    Geaux Saints!

  7. Good. This case was decided by a member of the law firm that represents the NFL and would represent Goodell in the defamation lawsuit. No way that wasn’t a conflict of interest and didn’t influence his decision. He wouldn’t be human if it hadn’t. While I’m happy that the players aren’t suspended and Fujita was exonerated, this decision makes no sense.

  8. Take Godell to the woodshed Vilma! I hope the NFL is sweating bullets now, and ultimately the powertripping Godell is released from his position as NFL commissioner. They picked the wrong person to be their scapegoat for this concussion lawsuit!

  9. I was hoping that Vilma and his lawyers need to continue to pursue the truth, via their defamation lawsuit.

    We are a nation of laws and Roger Goodell and the NFL are not above the law.

    I would not be surprised if Goodell and the NFL already have an offer on the table to Vilma, hoping to settle the defamation case.

    It is time that the NFL owners take stock of Roger Goodell’s record as NFL commissioner and consider replacing him.

    The NFL has been in a state of turmoil since Goodell was voted in as NFL commissioner and IMO, it time for Goodell to go.

  10. If Tagliabue’s ruling means that Vilma was guilty but wasn’t responsible, then Vilma is going to win his defamation case against Goodell.

  11. tjh9985 says: Dec 11, 2012 2:28 PM

    SO sick of this story already.


    Yet you keep reading, THEN you continue to post.

  12. mancave001 says: Dec 11, 2012 2:31 PM

    Vilma doesn’t have a chance in Hell. In order for statements to be considered defamatory they must be made with malicious intent and must be false. Good luck proving that one.
    Goal is not to win in court, goal is to force Goodell to be deposed and show the “evidence” he has hidden up to now. That goal is well within reach.

    “If there was no hit, you must acquit.”

  13. Tagliabue should get the business in handling this case now that he assisted him by ruling that no punishment is warranted. Nice move Vilma sticking to the man and kicking him in the ribs while he’s down. Not very friendly or nice, but from a competitive standpoint to squash your enemies, it works out quite well!

  14. OK – let’s say Vilma wins the defamation suit.

    What are his damages?

    Aren’t actual damages effectively zero because he never actually served any of the suspension (and thus lost no pay).

    And, are there really punitive damages given the fact that he was allegedly (not sure if it was proven) that he was involved with a bounty program at the U. I mean, how much did this really hurt his reputation.

  15. YES!! The league has no evidence and yet they still spout off at the mouth even when in retreat that the Saints did something wrong. Oh Yeah? Where is the evidence Tags, transcripts of the proceedings? anything to support you clever little statement to try to help your law firms client in the defamation suit?

    There has been to this day no credible evidence that Vilma or anyone else paid any money to any player for any bounty-related hit on an opposing player in the Vikings game or any other game.

    Until you put up NFL you can expect this to go until the bitter end. Order in the court!

  16. Thank you NFL for giving us men our very own soap opera! Let the women have “Days of our General Hospital” or what not. Thanks to the NFL we have our soap opera ” Truth or Dare”.. The only question I have is if there is any way there will public access to the legal precedings? I will like nothing more than to hear a judge refer to Roger as the defendant!

  17. I cannot believe the comments of some of these readers….Put yourself in the shoes of Vilma, He maintained all along that he was falsely accused of this entire mess. He was dragged through the mud and made out to be an evil headhunter. He begged and pleaded for evidence so he could save what is left of his reputation and the NFL comes out and says…ya, you are still guilty but we just won’t punish you because your coaches and organization tainted the evidence. What a CROCK!!!! I would spend every penny I had to make Goodell put his pathetic mug in front of a camera and say I’m sorry I put Mr. Vilma through this “SHAM”.

  18. Way to go Paul! I always liked Paul Tagliabue! He was way more qualified to be the commissioner of the best sport on the planet than Goodell was. Goodell has what i call a “God Complex”. He thinks this planet is his and all us citizens are his pawns. Goodell has now officially been cut down to size by John Vilma and his attorney. Ha Ha! I laugh in Goodells face! Now, give us back our draft picks, get off our backs and let “coach” go! I always knew Goodell would lose and the Saints would win. Geaux Saints!

  19. Goodell has to quit. If he makes any type of ruling against a player, the player will fight it. Roger has zero respect from the Players and in alot of cases the fans.

    The league needs a commish who doesn’t want to be a celebrity. Roger got caught up in fame and power and it has taken him down. His judgement was clouded while he tried to make himself the face of the league.

  20. Vilma was accused of being a brute in a brutal sport. He wasn’t accused of rape. Let’s take it easy on the shock and horror of his “reputation” being ruined. Goodell didn’t prevent him from getting that CEO job Vilma applied for.

  21. It’s not like he had a great rep to salvage to start with!! He was still found guilty, just had suspension lifted. Big difference!! It’s like saying you’ve been grounded long enough son, but you still misbehaved.

  22. I’ll believe it when I see it. Win or lose, taking this to court will cost Vilma hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Every single Saint employee will be deposed by Goodell’s attorney and any hint that Vilma was involved with the bounties gets Goodell off the hook. There is no way this would go to trial.

  23. I am glad to see they are all worried about this supposed case, go ahead and go after the commish as we all enjoy watching your team suck to a record of 5-8 and NO second round pick next year!!!!

    This has been a comedy show, and hopefully it will end when the aints are 5-11 with no second round pick….lol

  24. The elements of a defamation claim are pretty basic: (1) an untrue defamatory statement concerning the plaintiff published to third parties whhich causes damage; (2) the statement must be untrue or without reasonable basis in fact; and (3) the standard is harder to reach with public personalities, requiring malicious intent. From even the scant evidence shown to date, there is at least some basis in fact for Goodell’s statements, and it will be tough to find a commissioner performing his disciplinary function (agreed to in the CBA) as malicious. Vilma should save his money and quit while he’s gained some measure of vindication.

  25. Goodell deserves to have this situation turned on its head and have his career at stake, but unless Vilma is a totally benevolent hero he will ultimately settle with the league/Goodell for some combination of legal fees paid, monetary settlement, and/or statement that somewhat clears his name and not push to a final judgement that could cost Goodell his job and make Goodell testify.

  26. The Saints GM, head coach and other coaches were suspended due to a bounty program; but the acknowledged leader of the defense had no involvement ?

    Can’t imagine any player accepting any discipline from the NFL in the future; players can now simply lawyer up and stonewall. Have a feeling we’re not far from seeing Peter Ginsburg winning Player of the Year honors…..miss the days when football was played by real men instead of liars crouching down behind their lawyers…..

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