- Obama asks Central American leaders for help
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
Vilma’s defamation suit against Goodell dismissed
Question of the Day
U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan in New Orleans ruled in favor of Goodell’s motion to dismiss Vilma’s complaint, which was filed in May and set out 11 claims. Vilma had argued that Goodell made false statements, tarnishing the player’s reputation, in connection with the league’s investigation of what it determined was a system that offered cash bonuses to Saints players for big hits from 2009-11.
“Even though this matter has been pending only since May … it feels as protracted and painful as the Saints season itself, and calls for closure,” Berrigan wrote in her decision. “The Court nonetheless believes that had this matter been handled in a less heavy handed way, with greater fairness toward the players and the pressures they face, this litigation and the related cases would not have been necessary.”
Goodell initially suspended Vilma for all of the 2012 season _ although he wound up being able to play while appealing _ and three other players received shorter bans: Saints defensive end Will Smith and two former Saints, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove. But Paul Tagliabue, Goodell’s predecessor as commissioner, heard a final round of player appeals and threw out the suspensions last month.
Peter Ginsberg, a lawyer for Vilma, wrote in an email: “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.”
Berrigan wrote that “Vilma maintains that Goodell is responsible for the allegedly offending statements in his individual capacity.” The judge rejected that as “unpersuasive,” saying: “The Court finds that all of the allegedly offensive statements were made by Goodell as Commissioner of the NFL in conjunction with the investigation resulting in the now well-known discipline against Vilma and others associated with the Saints.”
“While the Court is extremely disturbed by the fundamental lack of due process in Goodell’s denying the players the identities of and the right to confront their accusers, that was substantially rectified later in the process,” Berrigan wrote. “So while the process was initially procedurally flawed, the statements were ultimately found to have enough support to defeat the defamation claims.”
Connect with Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- White House readies for House GOP impeachment push: 'Foolish' to ignore
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq