There’s only going to be one winner that comes out of Bountygate. The litigation lawyers. As of Thursday, suspended Saints Lineback Jonathan Vilma has filed a defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, challenging him to produce hard evidence of what the NFL has claimed: that Vilma was part of a “pay-for-injure” policy at the Saints, reportedly led by former DC Gregg Williams. Vilma has always protested his innocence, and the Commish has come under criticism from numerous quarters (not least from the NFLPA), for not presenting the evidence they have that presumably firmly points the finger at Vilma and co.
The announcement from Vilma that he has filed suit against Goodell has split opinion, with some players coming out vocally in support of his decision, and other members of the NFL community taking a more critical approach. As Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier today, an offensive player from the NFC, and a defensive player from the AFC (both wished to remain anonymous) are fully in support of Vilma.
"What a badass," said one, "He's the man. I think it's nuts, but I love it. He's going after Goodell. He should, too."
“I'm excited to see what happens. I love the sound of 'Vilma v. Goodell.' This is gonna cement Vilma's name forever" said the other.
Of course, the modern day litmus test for any news story that garners opinion is Twitter, and plenty of players took to cyberspace to voice their opinion. Vilma’s former teammate, Bucaneers offensive lineman Carl Nicks tweeted to Vilma just after the news broke:
However, the support for Vilma wasn’t unanimous. Mike Freeman for wrote for CBSSports last night “The Saints haven't learned. They just haven't learned and the ridiculous, over-the-top lawsuit by Jonathan Vilma proves that.” And his thoughts have been mirrored by a lot of NFL fans and journalists since the new broke, here’s just a few fan tweet reactions:
Roger Goodell isn't stupid. Probably knew lawsuit possible -- probably has damning piece of evidence up his sleeve, could embarrass Vilma.
Lmao Jonathan Vilma is gonna TRY and sue Goodell..... Yeah see you in Arena football next year bro.
Vilma suing Goodell is the equivalent to a 5 year old mad at his parents and threatening to run away. Sit down and take your timeout
But maybe this guy gives the biggest food for thought...:
The fact that some NFL players won't publicly comment on Vilma's lawsuit for fear of reprisal from Goodell should tell you everything.
You can find a copy of the lawsuit filed by Vilma against Roger Goodell HERE, via CBS Sports.
- Phil Gaskin (@sosayitisaid)
- The Pulling Linemen