NEW ORLEANS – Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has informed Judge Helen G. Berrigan that he will file an injunction of his suspension should NFL commissioner Roger Goodell “not rescind” it.
The notice was filed in federal court Wednesday, more than a week after Vilma's June 18 appeal hearing. (See letter to Judge Berrigan.)
The move would put his playing future in the Berrigan’s hands, asking the court to step in and allow him to play.
Already Vilma has filed a defamation lawsuit against Goodell, claiming the league’s commissioner has ruined his reputation as well as his ability to make a living playing the sport.
Per Wednesday’s notice of injunction, Vilma is alerting Berrigan that he would seek the injunction in her court because his defamation lawsuit was assigned to her. The latest move is separate from the defamation suit.
The injunction says, in part, “Mr. Vilma intends to seek injunctive relief in a separate action filed in this District which we believe would be considered a related case and assigned to your Honor …”
It continues, “Since such an action would require immediate review, we are simply writing in advance to advise the Court and all known interested parties of our anticipated actions.”
Vilma vehemently denies the allegations.
Goodell hasn’t hinted at when he’ll announce his decisions on the players’ appeals.
Vilma was one of four current or former Saints suspended by Goodell for what the NFL said were roles in a bounty system the Saints allegedly ran from 2009-11. Vilma was suspended for the entire 2012 season.
Current Saints defensive end Will Smith was given a four-game suspension, former defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (now with Green Bay), was suspended eight games and former linebacker Scott Fujita (now with Cleveland) was docked three games.
The NFL said its investigation determined Vilma offered $10,000 for any player who was able to take out then-Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner or then-Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre in the 2010 playoffs. Additionally, the NFL believes Vilma was a leader in a program it says paid players for injurious plays over a three-year period.
Eyewitness News investigative reporter Mike Perlstein contributed to this report.