Before Commissioner Roger Goodell decides what to do about the four players whose suspensions were vacated, he’ll meet with them.
Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that the meeting will take place next week in New York, with Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove making the trip.
It’s not the first time meetings have been scheduled. And so it’s possible that the meetings will be scuttled, again.
“We expect that no obstacles will get in the way of this one,” Vilma’s lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, told Breer. “We’re prepared to move ahead.”
Still, how will they be moving? The players previously declined to participate because the NFL refused to share evidence of guilt. It’s possible, then, that the NFL has decided to put some cards on the table in the hopes of getting the players to do the same.
And while it’s easy to say that the players, if the truth is on their side, shouldn’t worry about the league’s evidence, the reality is that situations like this routinely involve the employer asking subtly loaded questions and taking responses out of context in the hopes of cramming the evidence obtained into the pre-determined narrative. The more the players know about the specific evidence against them, the easier it will be to ensure that the answers are clear and unambiguous.
Of course, nothing about this situation is clear or unambiguous. One of these days, hopefully it will be.