With Commissioner Roger Goodell ordered to testify in the lawsuit arising from the Rams-Saints NFC Championship debacle, the NFL is throwing a Hail Mary. And the Saints are trying to tip the ball in the league’s direction.
David Hammer of WWL-TV reports that the NFL has filed an appeal with the Louisiana Supreme Court aimed ostensibly at dismissing the case but as a practical matter at pulling the plug before Goodell is forced to answer questions under oath. The league’s lawyer argues that the case, if allowed to proceed, would open the floodgates for more lawsuits from disgruntled fans.
The Saints, per Hammer, have joined in the effort to get the case dismissed, filing a brief that supports the league’s motion — and that points to the expansion of replay review to include pass interference as a sufficient outcome to the situation. But the Saints, like the league, fear that this will be the first domino in an endless series over the outcome of a wide variety of sporting events.
Ultimately, the question becomes whether the Louisiana Supreme Court will entertain the effort to dismiss the case before the case is resolved by the lower courts. Without getting too deep into the legal weeds (I don’t want to put anyone to sleep before lunch), appeals courts typically look for reasons not to get involved until they have to. With the lower courts ruling that the lawsuit filed against the league contains a sufficient legal foundation to proceed, the Louisiana Supreme Court could see this for what it is — an effort to insulate Goodell from the obligation of testifying — and decline to get involved until the case proceeds to a final judgment in the lower courts.
And if Goodell ultimately is ordered to testify, the smartest move would be to make the case go away. With the plaintiff wisely limiting his demand to $75,000 in order to avoid federal-court jurisdiction and already indicating that proceeds will go to Steve Gleason’s foundation, it would be a simple and relatively inexpensive check to cut.