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Vilma's argument that the statements were

Posted Jan 18 2013 6:43am


A judge laid off New orleans saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma's defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello announced.

In her ruling, U. S. District Court Judge Sally Berrigan criticized how Goodell follower of rules New orleans saints players active in the team's bounty program, but said the claims made by Vilma did not support his lawsuit. Jacoby Jones Jersey

"Vilma's argument that the statements were made in Goodell's individual capacity is unpersuasive as Goodell was sued as Commissioner of the NFL and all of the statements attributed to Goodell were made in connection with the NFL's investigation of the pay-per-performance/bounty accusations, inch Berrigan wrote in her ruling. "Therefore, Vilma's claims are preempted and must be laid off.

"While the Court is extremely displaced by the fundamental lack of due process in Goodell's denying the players the identities of and the right to encounter their accusers, that was substantially rectified later in the process, inch Berrigan added. "So while the process was initially procedurally problematic, the statements were ultimately found to have enough support to defeat the defamation claims. inch

Berrigan made clear her decision by writing: "Even though this matter has been pending only since May of this year, it feels as protracted and painful as the New orleans saints season itself, and calls for closure. The Court nonetheless believes that had this matter been handled in a less heavy handed way, with greater fairness toward the players and the constraints they face, this litigation and the related cases would not have been necessary. inch Randy Moss Jersey

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said neither he nor Goodell would have any comment Thursday about Berrigan's ruling. Ray Rice Jersey

Vilma's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, released the following statement: Joe Flacco Jersey

"We are obviously disappointed, strongly believe that the CBA does not give anyone -- including a commissioner -- a license to misrepresent and to manufacture facts, especially at the expense of another person's reputation -- and are considering our options. inch

Goodell initially suspended Vilma for all of the 2012 season for his role in the New orleans saints bounty program. He wound up being able to play while appealing, and three other players received shorter bans: New orleans saints defensive end Will Smith and two former New orleans saints, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove. But John Tagliabue, Goodell's predecessor as Commissioner, heard a final round of player appeals and vacated the suspensions last month. Michael Crabtree Jersey

Ginsberg said Vilma wanted to continue the lawsuit even after his season-long suspension was demolished. He originally filed the lawsuit against Goodell in May. Goodell filed a motion in August to give the lawsuit laid off.

Tagliabue dropped the suspensions but backed the findings of Goodell's investigation. Joe Flacco Jersey


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