On Thursday, Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt suggested that the league office fired a “scud” in his direction by leaking to the Associated Press the transcript of the bounty testimony of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
The NFL denies leaking the transcript, citing an email sent by former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s attorney, directing the parties to keep the transcripts under wraps. The league has sent the email to PFT.
“Dear Counsel,” the message states, “Mr. Tagliabue has reviewed the question regarding the release of the transcripts of the appeals hearings he conducted. He considers the transcripts to be confidential and not for public release.
“It should be noted that the transcripts contain certain information not relevant to the matters before him related to third parties who have no involvement at all in the issues here. The release of such information could be unnecessarily harmful to these third parties.”
Several of the transcripts nevertheless have been released. (It’s our understanding that there’s not one full transcript, but a separate transcript for each witness who testified.) Both NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and attorney Peter Ginsberg, who represents Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, have argued that the transcripts should be released.
At this point, it’s not clear who leaked the transcripts. For now, all we know is that the league has denied that they supplied the documents to the AP, or to anyone else.