A lawyer for the local Roman Catholic archdiocese defended the New Orleans Saints’ role in addressing fallout from the clergy sex abuse crisis, claiming those pushing for the release of emails between the church and the NFL team were trying to shame those with the “audacity” to support them. According to the Associated Press, the lawyer—E. Dirk Wegmann—also said claims the team’s help to the church was improper were “nothing more than a clear attack on the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church for wrongs of the past that the church has acknowledged.” Wegmann spoke before the court in a hearing over the Saints' request to keep 2018 and 2019 emails between team officials and the church private.
Attorneys for two-dozen men are currently suing the archdiocese, and they have suggested the emails may show the Saints had a hand in deciding which priests would be named in a 2018 list that featured those “credibly accused” of sexual assault. The team has insisted its involvement with the sex abuse scandal only extends to helping church leaders handle publicity surrounding the list. The Saints' team owner, devout Catholic Gayle Benson, previously said the help they extended to the church was an effort to “heal the community.”