The NFL has filed a grievance with the players’ union asking Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma to drop his defamation lawsuit against commissioner Roger Goodell.
The league claims Vilma’s suit violates the collective bargaining agreement reached last August to end the lockout. A clause in the CBA, which the NFL says the union agreed to, bars NFL Players Association members from suing the league or any clubs.
Vilma has been suspended for the 2012 season by Goodell for his role in the Saints’ bounty program that the NFL says was conducted for three years. Vilma also is seeking an injunction to stop that suspension from taking effect.
In its grievance, the NFL says “imposition of discipline against Vilma” is covered by Article 46 of the CBA. “Clearly, league discipline, and the commissioner’s responsibility for upholding that policy, is conduct permitted by the CBA and under the NFL’s constitution and bylaws.”
Vilma’s defamation suit accuses Goodell of making “very public and unfortunately erroneous allegations against Jonathan,” said Vilma’s attorney, Peter Ginsberg. “By making these false and public statements, he has significantly harmed Jonathan’s reputation and ability to make a living.
“By suing commissioner Goodell in court, Jonathan opted to use a fair playing field where he has procedural rights and protections to remedy the harm commissioner Goodell has done to him.”
U.S. District Judge David Doty has agreed to listen to arguments in the NFL Players Association’s collusion lawsuit against the league.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed that the hearing in Doty’s federal courtroom in Minneapolis is scheduled for Sept. 6.
The NFLPA filed a petition May 23 to reopen the Reggie White settlement, overseen by Doty since 1993 until last year’s lockout. The union claimed the owners imposed a secret $123 million salary cap during the uncapped 2010 season that cost the players at least $1 billion in lost wages.
Cleveland took former Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon in the second round of the NFL’s supplemental draft. He was the only player selected; the Browns must forfeit their second-round pick in the 2013 draft. He was suspended for marijuana as a junior in 2011 at Baylor, but caught 42 passes for 714 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010. … A new trial date has been set for the man accused of fatally shooting Redskins safety Sean Taylor during a 2007 burglary in Miami. A Miami-Dade Circuit judge set the murder trial of Eric Rivera Jr. for Nov. 5. The trial was delayed after Rivera fired his attorney. … Steelers linebacker Larry Foote claims he is the victim of a scheme to defraud him out of more than $400,000. The suit claims Foote was approached in 2010 by one of the defendants, who indicated he had recently acquired major valet contracts and needed an investor to provide capital.