The news keeps on coming on this Thursday afternoon:
You can read the full complaint here.
Here are the major claims:
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.
In reference to personal damages suffered by Vilma:
Goodell’s Statements forever falsely taint and permanently damage Vilma, in the eyes of NFL Clubs, media, fans and sponsors, as a player who brazenly disregards NFL rules and intentionally attempts to injure his opponents. Vilma has devoted four years of his personal and professional life to the City and community of New Orleans. Goodell’s Statements permanently damage Vilma’s personal reputation in Louisiana and around the world. Vilma will soon have to leave behind the world of professional football and will likely face difficulties in obtaining other employment and entering into new ventures as a result of Goodell’s false and defamatory Statements.
How Jonathan Vilma and his lawyers will prove Roger Goodell intentionally sought out to destroy Vilma’s reputation remains to be seen. He will have a large amount of free time on his hands and filing a lawsuit is the American dream.
The lawsuit pinpoints two statements made by Goddell. One, made on March 21st refers to the Saints leaders amongst the defense – Vilma was a team captain:
I am profoundly troubled by the fact that players – including leaders among the defensive players – embraced this program so enthusiastically and participated with what appears to have been a deliberate lack of concern for the well-being of their fellow players…. While all club personnel are expected to play to win, they must not let the quest for victory so cloud their judgment that they willingly and willfully target their opponents and engage in unsafe and prohibited conduct intended to injure players.
Vilma will have to prove these comments were not true in a court of law. The lawsuit also states Goodell never provided any evidence or sources that corroborated a bounty program existed.
The second statement – included in a March 2nd report – stated Vilma offered $10,000 in cash to any defensive player that knocked Brett Favre out of a playoff game in January 2010. The lawsuit claims that because Goodell knew these comments would be publicly disseminated, he intentionally defamed Vilma’s character.
In case we didn’t know how Vilma truly feels: