Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 12/13/12

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stands on the field prior to Super Bowl XLIV between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jon Vilma urged a federal judge Friday to reject NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's motion to dismiss the defamation lawsuit filed against him by the Saints linebacker. Vilma's request to U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan argues Goodell acted with ''reckless disregard for the truth'' when basing initial allegations about Vilma upon one fired Saints assistant, Mike Cerullo, whose testimony has been inconsistent and challenged by other witnesses in the NFL's bounty probe of the Saints. The motion centers on Goodell's public comments that Vilma held up $10,000 cash in a team meeting in 2010, offering it to anyone who knocked Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner out of a playoff game. During recent NFL appeal hearings in the bounty case, former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams testified he never saw any money. ''Williams has always told Goodell, and continues to state, that there was never any cash put up for a bounty on any player. It was `just talk.''' Vilma's motion reads. ''Nonetheless, Goodell irresponsibly chose to contend that Vilma walked around with $10,000 before the Cardinals game.'' Vilma's season-long suspension and with various shorter bans for three other players were thrown out Tuesday by former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who Goodell had appointed to oversee the appeals of player punishment. After Tagliabue's decision, the NFL Players Association dropped claims in federal court on behalf of Saints defensive end Will Smith and two former Saints: Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove. Vilma dropped his claims against the league concerning the disciplinary process, but moved forward with his defamation case against the commissioner, asking Berrigan to allow discovery, which consists of the collection of evidence and deposing of witnesses. Berrigan has so far delayed discovery while the Goodell's motion to dismiss the case is pending. In their effort to highlight how unreliable Cerullo was, Vilma's attorneys, Peter Ginsberg and Duke Williams, cite hearing testimony from Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt, who said Payton once arranged for police protection at his former suburban family home while he was away at league meetings because the head coach feared Cerullo was emotionally unstable and might harm his family. While the lawsuit does not quote the testimony from the closed-door hearing directly, it appears in transcripts obtained by The Associated Press. ''An email was sent to the League about Mike Cerullo long before these (bounty) charges were brought up on our football team saying that Mike Cerullo was crazy, that Sean Payton had to have a police escort or, excuse me, police protection at his house because he was going to the owners' meeting, and he was worried about his family with Cerullo,'' Vitt testified. ''This is the kind of guy we're dealing with. Allright?'' Vilma's motion also notes that the NFL subsequently dropped Goodell's initial allegation about Vilma physically holding up money in the meeting before the Arizona game. ''There can no longer be any doubt that Goodell acted with malice ... in making this quasi-criminal accusation against Vilma,'' the motion said. The NFL continues to allege that Vilma offered a $10,000 to anyone who knocked then-Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2010 NFC title game, which followed the Arizona game. Williams testified that he recalled such an offer for that game, but never saw any money change hands and suggested the offer represented nothing more than tough talk in an emotional meeting that he allowed to get out of hand.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for contact with official

Report: Rockets fear Chris Paul could miss a month with knee injury

15 key questions for NFL Week 7

Vin Scully will not make appearance during World Series

Leonard Fournette still not practicing ahead of Week 7

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dusty Baker calls Nationals dismissal ‘hard to understand’

Draymond Green feels ‘big relief’ that knee injury was minor

Bradford ruled out of Week 7, expected to play again in 2017

NFL on Ezekiel Elliott: ‘We’re not looking to make a deal’

Brad Stevens: Hayward 'pretty positive' following surgery

Panthers LB Luke Kuechly ruled out for Week 7

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker