- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter
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A federal judge has dismissed Jonathan Vilma's defamation suit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, league spokesman Greg Aiello announced via Twitter on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan in New Orleans had been holding off ruling on the case while awaiting for Vilma to go through the process of appealing his season-long suspension by the NFL.
Goodell initially said the linebacker was a ring leader in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal. In announcing its investigation of the bounty program, the league said Vilma offered cash to teammates to injure opponents.
"Even though this matter has been pending only since May of this year, it feels as protracted and painful as the Saints' season itself and calls for closure," Berrigan said, according to WWL Television in New Orleans.
Vilma appealed the suspension issued by Goodell, and the commissioner upheld it. But Goodell recused himself from a second appeal. Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue stepped in as the appeals officer.
Although Tagliabue said he didn't disagree with Goodell's finding of the facts related to Vilma, he vacated the suspension.
A federal judge has dismissed Jonathan Vilma's defamation suit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, league spokesman Greg Aiello announced via Twitter on Thursday afternoon.