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Filmmaker defends release of Saints audio

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By The Associated Press
Sunday, April 8, 2012
 

NEW ORLEANS -- A documentary filmmaker says he had the right to release a recording of then-Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams exhorting his players to physically punish targeted San Francisco players.

In a statement posted on his promotional website, Sean Pamphilon says he and former Saints special teams standout Steve Gleason "have a production agreement that I have followed."

Gleason, who has ALS, had been allowing Pamphilon to document his struggle against the incurable disease. The Saints, who've supported Gleason's efforts to raise awareness about ALS, gave Pamphilon behind-the-scenes access, which allowed him to record Williams speech ahead of New Orleans' 36-32 playoff loss to the 49ers in January.

Gleason said Friday that the Williams recording should not have been released without his permission, which he never gave.

Williams is suspended indefinitely for his admitted role overseeing a bounty system that rewarded Saints defenders with cash for painful hits during his tenure with the team from 2009 to 2011. The assistant coach left New Orleans after the playoff loss and was hired as defensive coordinator by the St. Louis Rams.

The recording purports to capture Williams telling players to "put a lick" on 49ers receiver Kyle Williams to see if he had lingering effects from a concussion. Williams also tells his players to "beat (running back) Frank Gore's head," and "lay out" quarterback Alex Smith. The coach also reminds his players that receiver Michael Crabtree "becomes human when we ... take out that outside ACL," a reference to the anterior cruciate ligament in the receiver's knee.

Pamphilon, who said he received no money for releasing the audio, posted it on the promotional website for one of his films on the same day that Saints coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and other team officials appeared before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for an appeal hearing of their punishment stemming from the bounty scandal.

"It is true that from the beginning Steve and his wife were opposed to releasing this audio and I felt strongly that the public had a right to hear this material and judge for themselves," Pamphilon said.

Pamphilon added that both he and Gleason agreed to let a third-party they both trust "mediate and advise us on the final decision," and that person, whom Pamphilon did not name, said to release the recording.

"I can't understand why Steve would think it's in his best interest to prevent me from releasing the truth about Gregg Williams," Pamphilon wrote. "I feel as strongly today as I have from the beginning that the audio speaks for itself and that the public had a right to hear it."

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