Like most football fans, I have been following the coverage of the Saints bounty program very closely. For those who don’t follow the NFL as closely as I do, the New Orleans Saints allegedly had a bounty program in which defensive players were to be paid for big hits that knocked opposing players out of the game. Jonathan Vilma is alleged to have participated in the bounty program and have also contributed $10,000 of his own money to the program. For his involvement in the bounty scheme, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Mr. Vilma for one full year. In response, Jonathan Vilma has filed a defamation lawsuit against Roger Goodell and the NFL based on their statements regarding his involvement in the bounty scandal. I can’t remember any other time when a player of a major sport sued the commissioner of that sport. It will certainly be a tough road for Mr. Vilma as he will have to prove that Roger Goodell knew his statements were false, acted with malice, and caused damages and personal injuries to Jonathan Vilma. If Jonathan Vilma is successful, it could totally change the relationship between the players and the commissioners office. Stay tuned to see what happens.
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