By Nate Davis, USA TODAY
As the NFL, NFL Players Association and New Orleans Saints continue to spar over the bounty program the team apparently utilized from 2009-2011, the league is reportedly ready to reveal more evidence it obtained while laying out its case over the past few months.
Per The New York Times' Judy Battista, the NFL is weighing the option of releasing more of its findings to the public, though it continues to prioritize the protection of the sources used in its investigation, an approach that will likely keep much of the documentation under lock and key.
"If people hadn't been willing to come forward on the reliance of some commitment of confidentiality, we would never know about that," an unidentified league official told The Times.
Arbitrator Shyam Das is listening to a union grievance Wednesday claiming NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell cannot retroactively mete out player discipline for actions occurring prior to the collective bargaining agreement that was signed last summer.
A separate hearing to determine whether the bounty program falls under off-field conduct, i.e. Goodell's jurisdiction, or should be classified as action occurring on the field -- NFL employees Art Shell and Ted Cottrell handle those appeals -- is set for May 30.
Saints MLB Jonathan Vilma (entire 2012 season) and DE Will Smith (4 games) along with former New Orleans OLB Scott Fujita (3 games) and DL Anthony Hargrove (8 games) have all been suspended by Goodell for their roles in the program.
"Jonathan is fighting on two fronts -- he's fighting legally and to get his reputation back," Vilma's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, told The Times. "It's important to get evidence or what Roger Goodell says is evidence."
The commissioner previously suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton (entire 2012 season), GM Mickey Loomis (8 games), assistant/interim head coach Joe Vitt (six games) -- their appeals have been heard and denied -- and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who's been indefinitely suspended from serving in the same role for the St. Louis Rams.