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Vilma sues NFL commissioner in bounty scandal

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This Oct. 30, 2011 file photo shows New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma on the sideline during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams, in St. Louis. Vilma was suspended by the NFL for the 2012 season. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

By BRETT MARTEL

The Associated Press

First published May 17 2012 01:58PM
Updated May 17, 2012 11:39PM

NEW ORLEANS • Suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has filed a defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans claims Goodell has made false statements about Vilma while discussing the NFL’s bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints.

Goodell has said Vilma was a leader of the team’s bounty program that put up thousands of dollars for bounties on opposing team’s star players, including on then-Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and then-Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre during the 2009-10 playoffs.

Goodell has also suspended Vilma for the entire season. Vilma and three other players who received shorter suspensions all have appealed their punishments.

Vilma denies putting up money to knock any player out of a game.

His lawsuit asks for unspecified monetary damages.

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