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The next step in Bountygate: Federal court

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08:03 AM ET 07.04 | So, after Roger Goodell upheld the suspensions handed down in Bountygate, what happens now? The next step for the players will likely take place in federal court. Vilma, who has already filed a defamation suit against Goodell, filed a second suit in the Eastern District Court of Louisiana against the NFL on Saturday which said that the commissioner failed to make a timely decision and that the appeals process was fundamentally unfair. Vilma's most recent suit has been assigned to Judge Helen Berrigan, who is also presiding over his defamation case. The NFL has until July 24 to file an answer to his complaint. Goodell's answer to Vilma's complaint in the defamation suit is due July 5. Berrigan consolidated the two cases on Tuesday.

The Times-Picayune

Gregg Williams, Icon Sports Gregg Williams, Icon Sports
Comment #1 has been removed
Comment #2 has been removed
July 4, 2012  08:10 AM ET

If there is a potential unintended consequence of all this litigation, it could be that if Vilma loses, the results will solidify Goodell's position and power even more. This does not seem like a good test case for determining the limits of the NFL commissioner, because the evidence appears to be stacked pretty much against Vilma.

July 4, 2012  08:13 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

RIP BEN DAVIDSON

Copy that

July 4, 2012  08:14 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

RIP BEN DAVIDSON

Yes, I just read that. I remember watching the Raiders-Chiefs game where he hit Dawson. To me it looked like he dove on Dawson head first - his feet were sticking up in the air. I've been a lifelong Giants fan, but I really liked the old Raiders, and Davidson especially.

July 4, 2012  08:17 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

If there is a potential unintended consequence of all this litigation, it could be that if Vilma loses, the results will solidify Goodell's position and power even more. This does not seem like a good test case for determining the limits of the NFL commissioner, because the evidence appears to be stacked pretty much against Vilma.

But is it really? I mean we all saw and heard the "smoking gun" with the video of Greg Williams so fair enough. If they have something equally damning on Vilma, then it's time to show it to us. Is anybody else feeling that this has gone past slimy on both sides and there is no possible winner here?

July 4, 2012  08:29 AM ET

I'd love to see him take a big chunk out of Chiorboy's bank account. Besides what has evidence got to do with Federal Court. Or any other court for that matter. It's about which lawyer makes the most money.

July 4, 2012  08:31 AM ET

When the federal courts find Vilma guilty, I hope they double his penalties.

July 4, 2012  08:39 AM ET

Goodell needs to start reconsidering having an independent commission handling these issues including appeals. Trying to play all the roles in disciplinary actions is going to catch up.

July 4, 2012  08:44 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Besides what has evidence got to do with Federal Court. Or any other court for that matter. It's about which lawyer makes the best argument.

Amen to that.



It's High School debate all over again. You don't get justice, you just win the argument.

July 4, 2012  08:47 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

Goodell needs to start reconsidering having an independent commission handling these issues including appeals. Trying to play all the roles in disciplinary actions is going to catch up.

I would had to see arbitrators rule on this type of disciplinary, but an independent commission of NFL Officials may be the way to go.

July 4, 2012  08:47 AM ET

HAPPY 4th To ALL!!

July 4, 2012  09:15 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

.... Is anybody else feeling that this has gone past slimy on both sides and there is no possible winner here?

No, not really. It goes back to being found out in 2009, told to stop it, saying they did but continuing with it. It is about the "cover up" on the part of Payton, the DC, the GM and a few others. They all remain very quiet.

No player or coach has retracted any statements given to the League office. Vilma is making the NFLPA walk a fine line. They want Goodell to look like the villian, but the last thing they want is those 8,000 pages of testimony given by players made public in court.

If I am Goodell I call their bluff. I offer to make public "all" of it. Then you will see some some serious lawyering up.

July 4, 2012  09:56 AM ET
QUOTE(#8):

When the federal courts find Vilma guilty, I hope they double his penalties.

They didn't throw all 1,700+ players names in to a hat and pull his out.

July 4, 2012  10:17 AM ET
QUOTE(#13):

If I am Goodell I call their bluff. I offer to make public "all" of it. Then you will see some some serious lawyering up.

That's what I'm saying 50, come on Roger if you have the stuff show it and end this nonsense. Once we all saw and heard the tape of Williams it was totally clear he was guilty. Do the same with the players and I'm onboard with league 100%. This crap of having some nigh priced lawyer come on TV and tell me that she's seen the evidence and they're guilty for sure does not work for me. It's too much like the sleazy used car salesman saying "Trust me"

July 4, 2012  10:29 AM ET
QUOTE(#15):

They didn't throw all 1,700+ players names in to a hat and pull his out.

XD

That's a funny image.

Vilma actually denies that a bounty program even existed. Which is a pretty ridiculous denial at this point. So I find it impossible to believe anything he says.

July 4, 2012  10:48 AM ET
QUOTE(#16):

That's what I'm saying 50, come on Roger if you have the stuff show it and end this nonsense. Once we all saw and heard the tape of Williams it was totally clear he was guilty. Do the same with the players and I'm onboard with league 100%. This crap of having some nigh priced lawyer come on TV and tell me that she's seen the evidence and they're guilty for sure does not work for me. It's too much like the sleazy used car salesman saying "Trust me"

That's my take. I guess the only real issue is putting the info out there and allowing the defense to build a case but if it's solid evidence then there's little to be concerned with.

July 4, 2012  10:50 AM ET
QUOTE(#17):

XDThat's a funny image.Vilma actually denies that a bounty program even existed. Which is a pretty ridiculous denial at this point. So I find it impossible to believe anything he says.

I agree with you on that. I think Vilma's best defense was to keep his mouth shut and just address it through the legal system. Even Brees has said too much in my opinion.

July 4, 2012  11:10 AM ET

The League has an obligation to defend the other 1500 Football Players, its obious the Union doesnt or didnt care. If Vilma Loses, it just cost him his career rather than a 1 Years suspension, If he wins, he gets to write a book and get some money back from the league, in any event its dirty laundry and nobody, I mean nobody likes dirty Laundry!

 
July 4, 2012  11:40 AM ET
QUOTE(#20):

The League has an obligation to defend the other 1500 Football Players, its obious the Union doesnt or didnt care

Good point. The union is being reactive and pretty short sighted.

Regarding Goodell's power, I think it is awarded to him by the owners and the CBA. The CBA is good for 9 more years I think, so not much hope of modifying that; that leaves the only option as persuading the owners to reign him in a bit. Maybe an argument--presented behind the scenes of course--that it would be better PR for the league to present the appearance of a less autocratic and dictatorial governance. But I suspect the owners hired Goodell to be their hatchet man, and don't mind in the least that everyone is focused on him.

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