MDS pointed out earlier tonight the new comments from filmmaker Sean Pamphilon to Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports regarding Pamphilon’s contention that he had the right to release the audio recorded during a Saints defensive meeting the night before the team’s playoff loss to the 49ers.
Pamphilon contends he complied with the production agreement between himself and Gleason. Fine. Then produce the contract, so that we all can see what it actually says.
Silver, who apparently has seen the agreement, writes that “[t]he four-page contract does not specifically prohibit either party from posting footage – audio or video – prior to completion of the film.” Fine. Then produce the contract, so that we all can see what it actually says.
Silver also acknowledges that “[t]he contract does state that once the film is completed and sold, the Gleason Family Trust owns the footage,” which could be interpreted to mean that, before the film is completed, the Gleason Family Trust also owns the footage. The best way to resolve that would be to produce he contract, so that we all can see what it actually says.
Making the situation more intriguing is Pamphilon’s new contention that the public release of the audio came only after Gleason and Pamphilon attempted to resolve their differences. “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 says in a new statement on his website. “To this end we agreed upon a 3rd party, a person of high character who both Steve and I trust implicitly, to mediate and advise us on the final decision. When I received a call from this person saying to release the audio ‘the sooner the better’ I did just that.”
Whoa. This gives rise to even more questions. Who is the third person? And how did the third person “mediate” on a “final decision,” given that a mediator” never actually has the authority to make a final decision? And why would Gleason complain publicly about Pamphilon’s actions if Gleason believed that he agreed with Pamphilon that some third party would be issuing a “final decision” of some sort?
The bigger question is what were the terms of Gleason and Pamphilon’s access to the Saints’ meeting rooms? Did the Saints simply give them access without asking any questions about how the footage would be used?
Regardless of the contents of the audio, which are troubling, Pamphilon’s methods give rise to legitimate concerns, as does the willingness of the Saints to invite a guy into the inner sanctum who seems, based on some of the things he’s written on his website, more than a little half-cocked.
Yes, it appears that the Saints are getting precisely what they deserve. But it’s hard to throw an American flag around Pamphilon. He’s not “Deep Throat,” and these aren’t the Pentagon Papers. Pamphilon’s effort to justify the behavior by citing some vague notion of parental responsibility grossly overstates the situation. This isn’t something that happened at the high school or pee-wee level. It was pro football, and these were grown men.
And until I see the production agreement and understand the terms of Pamphilon’s access to the Saints’ meetings, I’ll continue to suspect that he may have done a good thing for reasons that were wrong and self-serving, in a way that grossly breached Steve Gleason’s trust.