Since the day that Sean Pamphilon released the audio of Gregg Williams’ pre-playoff game speech a little more than two months, the filmmaker has been the target of about as much criticism as Williams himself. Pamphilon went out on the media circuit this week to try and clear his name going forward.
Pamphilon decries any notion that he released the audio for any personal gain, noting that he has not made any money off of the situation. He also tries to break down exactly how the releasing of the audio occurred, including discussions with Drew Brees and Scott Fujita about the subject. All of this came after he posted an essay on his website regarding the whole situation. I don’t think coming out like this is going to necessarily help his case, but he’s at least gone about trying to tell his side of the story.
Sean Pamphilon joined WWL in New Orleans with Bobby Hebert to discuss why he’s making more information available now, if the Saints knew he was recording the Williams speech, if Steve Gleason gave permission to release the audio, if Drew Brees or Scott Fujita ever encouraged its release and if Drew Brees knew anything about the bounty system.
Why are you making more information available online now?:
“I tried for a long time to see if this could get resolved behind the scenes. I wanted it to go away. As time passed by, I realized it wasn’t. And it’s impacted myself, my family and my business to a huge degree. So I wanted to make sure that the truth is out because we live in the modern age of Google and my career is important to me. The thing that allows me to do the kind of films that I do is people trust me. If they Google me and a lot of the information that comes out is false, that directly impacts my ability to take care of my family. It’s no different than if a football player has his knees taken out.”
Did Gregg Williams and the Saints know that you were recording the audio that you released?:
“That I’m not sure of. The Saints knew that I was recording in general. Anytime that I showed up to a Saints event or was on the premises and there were other people around I’d always show up with Steve and with my cameras around. … In that situation, when I walked to the hotel that night and into the area where everyone was, people saw me. … I never tried to make my presence unknown.”
Steve Gleason has basically said he did not give you permission to release this audio. Do you dispute that?:
“Steve did not give me verbal permission on the day I released it. There were several points throughout the process where Steve was very much adamantly opposed to the releasing of the audio. On March 18, he made it known that he was still not in favor of it, but there were certain circumstances that he would be comfortable with. Those circumstances would be in the Saints and Drew Brees would be comfortable with it and Scott Fujita would be comfortable with it. There would have to be a plan in effect that would not expose him to damage by the city and by the Saints. By the last week in March, I had dropped it. … On April 3, after I dropped it for a week, that conversation was re-initiated by Scott Fujita. He got Drew Brees involved. He told me specifically through texts that he was on board, that the National Football League Players’ Association — which was sort of driving the ship without telling me to do it. … [Fujita] told me that Drew was on board and that Drew had contacted Steve and Michelle and everything was good. … The problem happened when I would not allow my essay to be looked at by these guys, which made me believe that they were going to want to change it. … I did agree to let Steve and Scott and Drew hear me read the essay over the phone. Scott, at that point, declined to be part of the conversation. At that point, I declined to be part of any further conversation.”
Did Scott or Drew ever encourage the release of the audio?:
“Absolutely. Scott was a huge cheerleader for that. He actually told me that he was excited that myself and the writer, Michael Silver, were going to get famous. … My reply to that was, ‘That’s what I’m afraid of.’ Everyone that sits here and talk about, ‘You’re just using this as a spotlight, as a platform, for your personal self,’ … that is ridiculous. Why am I speaking now? A few reasons: One, I want to clear my name and make sure that, as I go forward as a professional, people have a clear idea of how I conduct myself as a person and as a professional. And two, the fact is Steve has a very worthy cause. … He is taking this moment and the notoriety that’s surrounding this controversy, and is spreading his message, which is a very valid message, and I get it and I support that.”
Did Drew Brees know anything about the so-called bounty system?:
“Did he know about it during the time it was happening? That I’m not sure. I’m not sure about that at all. I wasn’t around the team enough to know that and I wouldn’t never speculate on that. Did he know that there was meaningful evidence on April 17 when he said there was no meaningful evidence? Absolutely, because he had heard this audio before it was released.”