The public release earlier this month of the infamous audio of former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams ordering his players to injure their 49er opponents before last season’s playoff game reportedly came as no surprise to the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).
The NFLPA already had "detailed knowledge" of the video and audio before independent filmmaker Sean Pamphilon posted his tapes on the internet April 4, ESPN reported Monday.
Sources claimed that Pamphilon, who recorded Williams’ inflammatory speech on the eve of January’s game, made the tapes accessible to former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, who is a member of the players’ union’s executive committee. It was not known whether the NFLPA received copies of the recordings.
Fujita, now with the Browns, is among a group of more than 20 players facing disciplinary action from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for taking part in the team’s bounty system, which awarded players financially for injuring opposing players. Fujita denies being involved in the scheme.
A union source said the NFLPA discussed whether to use the tapes as evidence in the players’ defense, claiming that the play on the field in the Saints’ defeat the following day showed that Williams’ instructions to target a host of 49ers were ignored.
Pamphilon said Sunday that the NFL, which learned of Williams’ speech the same way as the fans, was making repeated requests for him to hand over his full recordings.
He told Yahoo Sports that he was asked "four times" Friday and expected the tapes to be subpoenaed.
Goodell last week upheld the NFL’s suspensions for members of the Saints organization over the bounty system, including a one-year ban for head coach Sean Payton, who tried to cover up the payments after the league began an investigation.
The Saints, who also were fined $500,000 and stripped of two second-round draft picks, announced Thursday that assistant coach Joe Vitt will replace Payton for the 2012 season.
Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams, received an indefinite suspension but did not file an appeal.