Former Saints special teams player Steve Gleason said filmmaker Sean Pamphilon was not authorized to release the now-infamous recording of Gregg Williams urging Saints players to injure top 49ers.
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Pamphilon posted the damning audio recording, which he made at the team hotel on the eve of January’s playoff game, on his website as the Saints staff prepared to appeal the suspensions handed down by the NFL in the wake of the bounty program scandal.
Pamphilon gained regular behind-the-scenes access with the Saints during the 2011 season through his work on a film about Gleason, who suffers from ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
But Gleason said the filmmaker had not sought his approval before releasing the explosive clip.
"Sean Pamphilon and I have an agreement that all recordings ultimately belong to me and my family," Gleason wrote in a released statement. "Nothing can be released without my explicit approval. I did not authorize the public release of any recordings."
Gleason, whose career ended in 2006, said he was "deflated and disappointed" and "frustrated and distracted" by Pamphilon’s decision to go public.
"Since my retirement, and specifically this year, the Saints have opened their doors and included me in countless team functions," Gleason added. "I included Sean Pamphilon in some of these activities, because I felt my relationship with the Saints was an integral part of my overall journey. The Saints trusted me and gave us unlimited access in filming, and I, in turn, trusted Sean Pamphilon."
Pamphilon was immediately slammed on Twitter by Saints cornerback Malcolm Jenkins for apparently compromising Gleason.
"Sean Pamphilon is a coward and should be ashamed for taking advantage of Steve Gleason! How much did u get paid for that audio?" Jenkins wrote before deleting the message from his Twitter account.
Pamphilon told The New Orleans Times-Picayune he was compelled to make the tape public because of the bounty scandal, and also was concerned about violent play filtering down to youth football.
"If this story hadn’t broken and been made public, I would not have shared this," he said in a statement. "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."
He added, "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."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell heard appeals Thursday to the unprecedented suspensions handed down to Saints head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant coach Joe Vitt after discovering Williams was paying players from 2009-11 for hits that injured opponents. Williams, who was suspended indefinitely, did not appeal.