Thursday, 17 May 2012

New Sports Illustrated column: Jonathan Vilma v. Roger Goodell

Jonathan Vilma, suspended for one-year because of his alleged role in Bounty Gate, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Roger Goodell. I have a new column on the lawsuit.

Here's an excerpt:

The league's best argument may be the simplest: truth is an absolute defense to defamation. The problem for the league in making such an argument is that, through the discovery process, it would likely have to disclose information it does not want to reveal. For instance, the league may have to divulge it's sources of information, including the identities of players and coaches who were informants. The backlash of such disclosures could be considerable. Moreover, much like the Mitchell Report has been criticized for relying on disreputable persons, expect similar critiques if the same proves true of the NFL's Bounty Report.

* * *

Vilma v. Goodell is more than just a defamation lawsuit. It is a direct challenge to a commissioner who, until now, has acted with more power than any commissioner in U.S. sports history. It is also an attempt to import judicial review of an individual who, until now, has been judge, jury and executioner of NFL justice.

To read the rest of the column, click here.

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