By now, you’ve likely heard the recording.
The chilling audio of former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams encouraging his players to target specific players on the San Francisco 49ers ahead of their NFC playoff game is everywhere. And the fact that it surfaced Thursday — the same day Saints coach Sean Payton and other members of the organization were in New York to appeal their suspensions from the team’s bounty scandal — further magnified what has become the story of the NFL offseason.
Steve Gleason, a former defensive back and special teams player, suffers from ALS and has been working with filmmaker Sean Pamphilon to chronicle his fight against the disease. It was Pamphilon who made the audio excerpts public, and Gleason is furious.
In a statement posted on his website Friday, Gleason said he feels betrayed.
The Saints trusted me and gave us unlimited access in filming, and I, in turn, trusted Sean Pamphilon.
Sean Pamphilon and I have an agreement that all recordings ultimately belong to me and my family. Nothing can be released without my explicit approval. I did not authorize the public release of any recordings.
A multitude of feelings have passed through me. I feel deflated and disappointed. I feel frustrated and distracted. Nevertheless, these feelings will pass, and I will continue steadfast in my mission.
If this story hadn’t been broken and made public, I would not have shared this it (sic). I would not 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 that 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.
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 (sic) it is: tru.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is reviewing suspension appeals from Payton and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis. Williams has been suspended from coaching indefinitely.
Hard Hits: Gregg Williams tape proves nothing