- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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As you might expect, a lot of Saints fans are angered at filmmaker Sean Pamphilon for releasing tapes with former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams talking about injuring members of the San Francisco 49ers the night before a January playoff game.
This is coming on the same day New Orleans coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt are appealing their suspensions to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Ever since news of the Saints’ bounty program broke, some New Orleans fans have blamed everyone from Goodell to the media for having it out for the Saints. Now, that blame is shifting to Pamphilon.
I’ve gotten notes from several Saints fans questioning Pamphilon’s motives for releasing the tapes and the general mood is best summarized by New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins on his verified Twitter account.
“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 tweeted. Jenkins' tweet has since been deleted from his page.
Pamphilon reportedly was given access to the team as he worked on a documentary about former New Orleans player Steve Gleason, who is battling ALS.
In a statement to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Pamphilon explained why he released the tapes. Here's the statement:
"If this story hadn't broken and been made public, I would not have shared this it. 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. 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(e)."
What remains unclear is if Pamphilon also gave the tapes to the NFL. The league’s security department is filled with former FBI agents and others who have strong law-enforcement backgrounds and that’s the branch of the league office that conducted the investigation. It’s possible the security department had the same tapes that were released to the media.
It’s also possible the tapes are news to the NFL, just like they were to the rest of us. If that’s the case, I don’t think Payton, Loomis and Vitt will have any chance of having their suspensions reduced. If anything, Goodell could issue even stiffer punishments.