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Vilma Files Defamation Lawsuit vs. Roger Goodell

In what should be to the surprise of no one, Saints LB Jonathan Vilma, suspended for the entire 2012 season by the NFL, has filed a defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans claims Goodell has made false statements about Vilma while discussing the NFL’s bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints.

Goodell has said Vilma was a leader of the team’s bounty program that put up thousands of dollars for bounties on opposing team’s star players, including on then-Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and then-Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre during the 2009-10 playoffs.

Goodell has also suspended Vilma for the entire season. Vilma and three other players who received shorter suspensions all have appealed their punishments.

Vilma denies putting up money to knock any player out of a game.

His lawsuit asks for unspecified monetary damages.

The lawsuit is “Jonathan Vilma v. Roger Goodell.” Vilma alleges that Goodell in “speaking publicly” about the linebacker “made public statements concerning Vilma which were false, defamator and injurious” to Vilma’s reputation.

“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.”

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