Filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, who captured controversial audio of former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams talking to his team about injuring opposing players before a playoff game last season, did not have the authority to release that material, says former Saints player Steve Gleason.
A source told PFT’s Mike Florio that Gleason, who has been diagnosed with ALS, had joined up with Pamphilon to make private recordings that could some day be given to Gleason’s son, so that he could get to know his dad after he was no longer alive.
Gleason plans to issue a statement saying that Pamphilon was not authorized to publicize what he recorded.
UPDATE: Thursday, April 5 at 2:39 p.m. ET
Pamphilon released a statement on Thursday explaining his decision to make the audio public.
"If this story hadn't broken and been made public, I would not have shared this it," the statement read, according to The Times-Picayune. "I would not have compromised my personal relationships and risked damaging Steve Gleason's relationship with the Saints. I would have crafted these words and sentiments for another forum, perhaps years down the road."
"If it weren't for the fact I feel deeply that parents of children playing football MUST pay attention to the influence of men who will sacrifice their kids for W's, I would not have written this," the statement went on. "Some will call me releasing this audio for fame or money grab. True haters will call it exploitation.
"People of character and conscience call it was it is: tru."
WARNING: Content below contains strong language. NSFW
The consequences of this audio being released could be severe. Williams was suspended indefinitely by the NFL last month for his involvement in the team's bounty program, which ran through the 2009-11 seasons.
Should Pamphilon have released the audio?
One of the unwritten rules in sports, although it's broken by many different people, is that what's said in the locker room stays in the locker room. Those conversations are private. For Pamphilon to release this audio if he didn't have permission to do so is really unfortunate for the Saints.
It also has the chance to severely damage Pamphilon's ability to gain access into locker rooms around professional teams if he in fact wasn't authorized to release the Williams audio. No team is going to trust him after this.
Some players certainly won't, either, especially Saints cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, who took to Twitter on Thursday to voice his opinion of Pamphilon.
Sean pamphilon is a coward and should be ashamed for taking advantage of Steve Gleason! How much did u get paid for that audio?— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) April 5, 2012
People who are saying the Saints are dumb for being mad at a documentarian for reporting what went on need to realize that Pamphilon's job was to work with Gleason, not get audio on information related to the bounty program.
If Pamphilon really wanted to release this audio, he should have given it to the NFL and allowed league officials to examine it. Going public with it was the wrong move.
The NFL might have heard the audio already when they were investigating the Saints, but the league refused to comment on the audio Thursday, according to NFL.com:
It's unknown if the NFL got a hold of this audio during its investigation of the Saints' "bounty" program. The NFL declined comment to NFL.com's Steve Wyche on whether the audio recording in the Yahoo! story or any other information in the article was evidence it previously had or if it was new.
Now the whole bounty fiasco that's taken over the headlines won't die anytime soon, which is exactly what commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't want.
The story of the Williams audio, which was first reported by Yahoo! Sports' Michael Silver, came out just a matter of hours before the NFL was to hear the suspension appeals of Saints head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant coach Joe Vitt.