Goodell, 3 NFL officials to face queries under oath on “no-call”
New Orleans — A Louisiana judge ordered that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and three officials from January’s NFC title game be questioned under oath in September about the controversial “no-call” that helped the Los Angeles Rams beat the New Orleans Saints in January’s NFC title game, a lawyer said after a status conference Monday.
Attorney Antonio LeMon, who filed a lawsuit over the game that advanced the Rams to the Super Bowl, said he and league attorneys will pick a mutually agreeable date for depositions in New Orleans – barring any league appeals that might delay or cancel the questioning.
“I think the city of New Orleans and the Saints organization and the fan base, they deserve to know what happened in that NFC Championship game,” CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL-TV quotes LeMon as saying. “So we can get some level of truth, some information, so we can all heal a little better.
“As far as I’m concerned, we can’t move on until there’s been some reparation and some consequence for what happened.”
A league spokesman declined comment.
LeMon’s lawsuit seeks $75,000 in damages – to be donated to charity – over the failure to flag a pass interference or roughness penalty against Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman for his helmet-to-helmet hit on receiver Tommylee Lewis well before a pass arrived. The no-call came at a crucial point in the game. The Rams won and advanced to the Super Bowl.
State Civil District Court Judge Nicole Sheppard of New Orleans ruled earlier this month that LeMon’s lawsuit could proceed. She also ruled then that LeMon could request documents and ask questions of NFL officials. She said Monday that depositions should take place in September. She also set Aug. 22 for the next hearing in the lawsuit, according to LeMon.
Other suits dealing with the blown call have wound up in federal court, where they have failed. They included one long-shot effort to have the game or a crucial part of it played over before the Rams met the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, which the Patriots won.
LeMon, whose lawsuit alleges fraud by NFL officials, has crafted the suit to avoid having it taken over by a federal court, in part by keeping the damages it is seeking low.
He said Monday that he intends for any money won to go to former Saints star Steve Gleason’s charity to aid people with neuromuscular diseases. Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.
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