Translated from legalese, Roger Goodell is actually saying those words. He’s probably saying a few others too, but this is a PG-13 blog. Sometimes.
It’s hard to find anything that’s remotely surprising about bountygate now. We knew Goodell would dismiss the players’ appeals because they essentially didn’t appeal, and that happened. And we assumed the NFLPA would take the matter to court, and that happened earlier today.
Now we assumed–or at least I did–that Goodell would try to make Jonathan Vilma go away after he filed his lawsuit separately. And look, that’s happened too. When a process is becoming completely and utterly predictable, you’re forgiven for struggling to muster the energy to care deeply anymore.
There are serious questions about Goodell’s extremely flawed evidence and process that need to be answered, and those answers may come through the lawsuit led by the other three players. But for now, we’re left with legal bickering and belittling. You thought that was reserved for playgrounds and sandboxes, didn’t you?
Goodell wants Vilma’s defamation lawsuit dismissed because he claims that it’s impossible to prove malice. Vilma’s primary point of contention is that Goodell made false public statements about him with malicious intent, and those statements have forever damaged his reputation and ability to obtain and maintain NFL employment. He also thinks Goodell entered the bounty investigation with a pre-determined outcome, which then made the appeals by the four players useless, and a futile waste of time. Well, they were already useless when the appeals were being heard by the same guy who made the rulings, but that’s another matter for another lawsuit.
I paid attention for about a week in high school law, and I seem to remember that proving malice in a case of this nature is always extremely difficult. The plaintiff (Vilma) has to demonstrate through indisputable facts and evidence that Goodell’s statements were not only false, but said with the intention to cause harm.
That requires mind reading, and cases that require psychics are usually only heard by Judge Sapp.
I’m beginning to think that the bounty dispute should be solved XFL coin toss style. Vilma and Goodell should line up, and sprint to get a ball on the ground, but Vilma will give the commish a five-yard head start. It’s the only fair way.