The Washington Post

Release of Gregg Williams audio recording was not authorized by former Saint

View Photo Gallery: Former Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams ran a bounty system that paid out cash bonuses for big hits during his time in Washington and most recently with the New Orleans Saints.

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.

But one former Saint now says the recording never should have been leaked.

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.

On his Web site, Pamphilon explained his decision to release the audio Thursday, knowing there would be considerable backlash.

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.


Report: Williams told Saints players to injure 49ers

Hard Hits: Gregg Williams tape proves nothing

Goodell hears appeals in bounty case from Payton, Loomis

Carlos Rogers defends Redskins on bounties

Matt Brooks is the high school sports editor for The Washington Post. He's an Arlington native and longtime District resident and was previously a high school sports reporter, editor for several blogs and Early Lead contributor with The Post.


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