Players sue NFL, Goodell
NEW ORLEANS – The NFL Players Association filed a lawsuit against the NFL on behalf of three players suspended in connection with the bounty investigation, calling commissioner Roger Goodell “incurably and evidently biased.”
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove on Thursday in federal court in New Orleans, highlighted a flurry of legal activity surrounding the punishment of four players for what the NFL says was their roles in a program that paid cash bonuses for hits that injured opponents.
Suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is suing separately, asked a judge to overturn his suspension while also requesting a temporary restraining order and injunction that would allow the linebacker to quickly return to work and keep working while his case is pending.
Goodell, meanwhile, filed a motion to dismiss defamation claims that Vilma made in his initial lawsuit against the commissioner in May. The motion states that Vilma is barred from making such claims by the dispute resolution process outlined in the NFL’s labor agreement, which also includes a provision barring lawsuits by players against the NFL.
But Vilma’s attorney, Peter Ginsburg, said the defamation claims focus “exclusively on statements Mr. Goodell has made publicly and outside the confines of the CBA (collective bargaining agreement).”