New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma's decision to sue NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for defamation was an unprecedented and unexpected step in the aftermath following the Saints' "bounty" scandal.
It feels like a legal Hail Mary. Vilma will have a difficult time proving Goodell lied or demonstrated "actual malice" in regards to Vilma, which is the legal standard for proving defamation. If nothing else, Vilma's bold move won some respect from his fellow players.
We present a collection of quotes from players to our insane friend Michael Silver:
"What a badass," one NFC player said. "He's the man. I think it's nuts, but I love it. He's going after Goodell. He should, too."
"It's aggressive, and I love it. I'm excited to see what happens. I love the sound of 'Vilma v. Goodell.' This is gonna cement Vilma's name forever," another player remarked.
"If Vilma wins? Oh, then he's God. They should just put him as commissioner if that happens."
Vilma getting a corner office at 345 Park Avenue sounds somewhat unlikely. (Heck, it's unlikely I'll get an office. Although I am excited to announce DirectTV was installed at my desk yesterday.) Vilma getting far in his defamation suit also sounds like a long shot to this non-lawyer.
This lawsuit seems more about making a statement, and a potentially expensive one. Vilma feels wronged, and he's not going to take his suspension lying down. He's taking the aggressive attitude he carries on the field to his fight with the NFL.
Successful or not, that's an attitude fellow players can respect.