NEW ORLEANS (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has filed a motion to dismiss defamation claims made against him by suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma in connection with the league’s bounty investigation.
The motion filed Thursday comes in response to claims Vilma made in a lawsuit filed in May in federal court in New Orleans.
Vilma has claimed that his suspension is without merit and that Goodell has made false public comments that have damaged Vilma’s reputation and hurt his ability to continue to make a living by playing football and through related endorsement deals.
Goodell’s motion says Vilma’s claims are barred by dispute resolution procedures laid out by the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement.
The motion also says Vilma’s claim would fail under a Louisiana law that protects statements about matters of public importance.