The NFL punched, and now one of the New Orleans Saints has counterpunched.
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma is suing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for defamation, claiming the executive lied about him when making statements about the Saints' alleged bounty program. The suit was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Vilma, a team captain, is accused of being one of the leaders of the program, and twice offering teammates $10,000 to knock quarterbacks out of playoff games — first Arizona's Kurt Warner, then Minnesota's Brett Favre.
Vilma has denied ever offering such a bounty, and the NFL Players Assn. is protesting the league's one-year suspension of him, the longest suspension of the four Saints players sanctioned.