On Wednesday, arbitrator Shyam Das will hear appeals on behalf of four players suspended for their role in the New Orleans Saints bounty program. One point of contention from the NFL Players Association and the players themselves has centered on the league's evidence in the case, which they claim has not been fully shared as part of the due process in the matter. The New York Times reports that the NFL may decide to release some of its evidence in the case once the appeal process has concluded.
Whatever evidence the league does eventually release is likely to be heavily redacted in order to protect sources who provided testimony implicating players and coaches involved in the Saints' pay-for-performance program that ran from 2009 through 2011, according to the NFL's report.
The Players Association has argued that the players have yet to see any "specific, detailed" evidence of player participation. Damage to the reputation of players involved has also been cited as a reason to release the evidence.
The NFL maintains that releasing the evidence could bring retaliation to sources interviewed in the process. Taking away the availability of sources to remain anonymous could compromise future investigations, says the league.
Jonathan Vilma's attorney, Peter Ginsburg, called the league's desire to protect anonymous sources "an excuse." Ginsburg submitted a written request for all documentation related to his client's role in the matter. The collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011 allows the NFL to use confidential sources of information in investigations like this one.