Was filmmaker’s release of audio right thing to do?
Let me get all of this stuff straight.
An independent film producer, working in cooperation with former Saint Steve Gleason, is allowed into a meeting before the Saints-49ers playoff game. In that meeting, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, according to audio recordings that the filmmaker said are authentic, talks of a “take out of the outside ACL” of wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
The audio recording that the filmmaker says is Williams’ talks of going after the head of running back Frank Gore and the ankles of tight end Vernon Davis.
It is pretty graphic stuff. It is also audio that should have never been released. The filmmaker, Sean Pamphilon, said he released the audio (much to the dismay of Gleason) because the “public had a right to know.”
If this whole mess wasn’t so sad, I would say it is laughable.
The reasons Pamphilon released the audio are simple: (1) It drives thousands to his website; (2) he makes money and (3) he gets his 15 minutes of fame.
That Pamphilon chose to release this audio – and put a good guy (Gleason), who is battling Lou Gehrig’s disease, in a predicament – is very bad baseball.
Several times over the years, our crews at WGNO-TV have been invited into pre- and post-game meetings with coaches and players. When we go in, we understand that the head coach is doing us a favor and we won’t show anything that portrays the organization in a negative light.
That isn’t a lack of journalistic acumen. That is professional courtesy.
But, there’s more. How about this whopper from David Cornwell? He’s the attorney for Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt. After he and Vitt made their appeal to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Cornwell threw Gregg Williams under the bus.
And, according to Cornwell, Saints head coach Sean Payton was in agreement. Said Cornwell, “I think it was around the Detroit game that the Saints were advised that the investigation was being reopened. Mickey Loomis and Payton told Williams that there is no place for this in this organization or this league. Sean will tell you this was a rogue coach who was about to get fired.”
First, to say that Payton wasn’t aware is hard to fathom. Payton, an excellent coach, is also a total control freak with rabbit ears about everything in his organization. He knows everything said about the Saints by the media, local and national. And, even if he didn’t know, it is his responsibility to know.
On April 5 something happened that I didn’t think possible. The Saints, reputation in tatters, looked even worse.
I wonder how much more Saints owner Tom Benson can stomach. He may be forced to do something Saints fans want, but with a twist: “Free” Sean Payton.