This is the latest on all the New Orleans Saints news. There are additional resource links at the end of the article.
The saga of the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal continues. On July 23 a conference before Magistrate Judge Daniel Knowles of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has been scheduled in an attempt to resolve the New Orleans Saints bounty suspensions.
Jonathan Vilma has filed a case that has been combined with the case filed on behalf of Saints defensive end Will Smith, Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita who were also suspended.
The problem is there is little middle ground for negotiations. The NFL is not likely to dismiss the suspensions completely. The players on the other hand believe there is no ground for any suspensions.
The deadline for contract negotiations with Drew Brees are getting closer. July 16th is the day when Drew Brees will have to accept the franchise tender of $16.371 million. This would on the surface be a hard deadline however it is not.
Brees has options even after than date. Brees can hold out which he has said he will not do. He could also simply show up continue to negotiate and put pressure on the New Orleans Saints to come to some agreement before the season begins. Both Brees and owner Tom Benson have said a deal will get done. Time will tell
The New Orleans Saints have been the target of an investigation by the National Football League. This article talks about Jonathan Vilma’s decision to sue Roger Goodell.
Just when you thought the season could not get any crazier for the NFL, Roger Goodell and The New Orleans Saints it does. Jonathan Vilma, New Orleans Saints linebacker, has decided to sue Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner. This lawsuit is historic on many fronts.
Jonathan Vilma has what would seem to be a basis for his lawsuit. The punishment that Goodell has handed down to Vilma is based on facts received by third parties. Vilma did not provide any information since he was not interviewed in the investigation. Goodell says there are 50,000 pages of information but this information has not been made public. Goodell alleges that Vilma made an offer to give anyone who knocked Brett Favre out out of the 2010 playoff game $10,000 in cash.
How much Vilma will receive in damages in terms of how his career has been impacted will be difficult to determine. It does not have an impact on Vilma’s ability to perform on the field, if allowed to play whether for the New Orleans Saints or another NFL team. However, the statements made by Commissioner Goodell are very specific which will play in Vilma’s favor.
The most likely responses by the NFL are as follows:
1. It is frivolous suit and should be dismissed.
2. It can not move forward because it falls under the collective bargaining agreement. This means the suit should be dismissed.
3. Vilma is a public figure so actual malice must be proven if the suit goes forward.
4. The truth is not defamation and the statements regarding Vilma are true. The danger with this defense is that it will lead to discovery which the NFL wishes to avoid.
5. The NFL could also claim that it did not release any information to the media thus no real damage.
Vilma’s attorney’s could argue the following:
1. There is no language that allows the NFL or the commissioner to defame any player.
2. Goodell’s statements are so egregious that there would be no need to examine them any further and the court should rule in Vilma’s favor.
3. Vilma could say that the NFL impacted his ability to gain employment by releasing false information to potential employers, the other NFL teams.
This lawsuit is a challenge to a commissioner who has acted with more power than any other in U.S sports history. Goodell has wielded power to control the entire process when there has been any issue or complaint. The results will have a large impact on the sports industry whichever way it goes.