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Gleason says he was misquoted by HBO

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Saints icon Steve Gleason, who will be profiled on tonight’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel (9:00 p.m. ET) has clarified in advance of the debut of the piece a key quote that has been attributed to him via subtitles used by HBO.

In an email to Peter King of SI.com, Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and PFT, Gleason calls HBO’s effort to characterize his words the “misquote of the week.”

When talking about the notorious pregame comments of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from January’s postseason loss to the 49ers, the HBO subtitles applied to Gleason’s words from the “rough cut” of the show indicate that the former Saint was bothered by the reaction of the current members of the Saints to Williams’ “kill the head” rant.

As subtitled by HBO, Gleason said:  “The real problem was no one seemed shocked.  There as no discussion of ‘Wow, did we just hear that?’”

Gleason says in his email that his actual words were, “The group I was with . . . no one seemed shocked.”  Obviously, this would dramatically narrow the breadth of the response, exempting Saints players and coaches and other team employees who were in the room.

Though it’s not our desire or role to defend HBO, the network’s characterization seems reasonable in light of the context.  Gleason was responding specifically to this:  “Was there any discussion afterward when the meeting was over and those players saw you, did anybody say, ‘Wow, that was kind of tough Steve, I’m sorry you had to hear that.’?”

And then after Gleason’s response the question was, “Nobody seemed shocked to hear that come out of the coaches mouth?”

Said Gleason:  “No, there was no discussion of, ‘Wow, did we just hear that?”

That said, listening to the words that Gleason uttered without reading the subtitles, it appears that he said, “The group I was with . . . no one seemed shocked.”

With the show debuting later tonight, this is something that HBO and Gleason need to get worked out.

Gleason also adds in his email this observation regarding the Williams speech:  “In my opinion, speeches like the one given by Gregg Williams are not the cause of increased rate of  brain disease in the NFL population.  The increased rate of brain disease In the NFL population is caused by the way the game is played within the rules.”

That may be a more significant comment than anything Gleason told HBO on camera.

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31 Responses to “Gleason says he was misquoted by HBO”
  1. careerender56 says: Aug 21, 2012 7:52 AM

    Yeah, that or he realized his previous comments made his saints buddies look bad at a time when they need to look like victims of the “coach made us do it” defense, and altered his comments accordingly

  2. gtodriver says: Aug 21, 2012 8:02 AM

    Gleason’s correction is a distinction without a difference.

    If none of his immediate group were “shocked” – doesn’t change the fact that none of the players or coaches were shocked.

    Evidently – in Louisiana anyway – this type of behaviour is normal.

    I hope that I never consider this “normal”, or have to try and convince intelligent people that is “normal”.

    Because it isn’t.

    And yes, I’ve played the game and been in the meetings in the locker room.

  3. uncletuna says: Aug 21, 2012 8:04 AM

    I feel for the guy and his immense physical challenge before him…

    The stress of what he is going through is seems to be affecting his judgement…

    He’s caused his former team and teammates nothing but difficulty; he should, quite honestly, limit the scope of his activities to bringing attention to his disease which, in the bigger picture, should be more important than one NFL team being exposed for what 31 other NFL teams have done or still practice…

  4. geauxjay says: Aug 21, 2012 8:09 AM

    John Barr is shocked and disgusted by this.

    I’m telling you, it’s shameful that Florio is the only person searching for (and finding) problems with the investigation instead of piling on and trying to bury the Saints in the court of public opinion on behalf of commissioner Goodell and high ratings.

  5. tomnickle says: Aug 21, 2012 8:09 AM

    If you were misquoted, file a lawsuit against HBO. I’ve had enough of this crap. “My comments were taken out of context”, “I was misquoted”. I want to start seeing broadcasting companies, print media and otherwise go to great lengths in standing by their reporting and if they aren’t willing to do it, I want to see some of these misquoted people take them to court.

    There’s my rant for the day. Either the people who feel misquoted should do something about it other than backtrack or the media corporations or journalists who stand by their reporting should publicly and aggressively take these people to task for spinning their side well after the heat comes down on them.

  6. bunjy96 says: Aug 21, 2012 8:09 AM

    Am not sure, now, whether to believe anything he says he said or didn’t say.

  7. cwwgk says: Aug 21, 2012 8:10 AM

    A distinction without hardly a difference. Gleason is a former NFL player on the Saints. He heard Gregg Williams implore the current Saints’ defense to injure the opposition. This is something Gleason had not heard before during his NFL career. It concerned and bothered him. As such, he expected a reaction from others in the room. There was none.

    This fact serves to contradict the contention that Williams was just spewing hyperbole heard in NFL locker rooms every day. According to Gleason it’s not, and he was taken aback by the lack of his former teammate’s reactions.

    In other words, Gleason felt Williams was serious and actually instructed his players to injure the opposition.

  8. jbaxt says: Aug 21, 2012 8:11 AM

    No one was shocked because everyone hears that kind of pregame speech since they’re in high school. The pussifucation of our society needs to stop. It’s like they think people can’t handle “R” rated movies. We’re grown ass adults.

  9. righton989 says: Aug 21, 2012 8:22 AM

    The Stains coaches created and maintained a culture of maim first and apologize later and to make sure that the players “got it”, they kicked in cash for hits that were intended to maim and cripple opposing players. Where’s that Gregg Williams tape to with these updates?

  10. nolafireguy says: Aug 21, 2012 8:25 AM

    It was recorded, he can’t change his words. If you’ve heard him speak lately, his speech is sometimes unclear. If you read what this says, he is only speaking for who he was with and not speaking for what anyone else was thinking. He doesn’t appear to be defending anyone, but just clarifying.

  11. acetw says: Aug 21, 2012 8:27 AM

    Hey PFT, can you install a system by which people can block ignorant users like the one above? (careerender56)
    I’d prefer not to have to read stupidity like that.

  12. geauxjay says: Aug 21, 2012 8:27 AM

    And all you “thumbs down” people realize that Saints fans realize that Williams’ rant was over the top, but was not the “smoking gun” for bounties, right? I never heard him say in that rant “I’ll give a thousand dollars if you hurt Alex Smith” and neither did you.

  13. learysdisciples says: Aug 21, 2012 8:27 AM

    These pretzels….are making me thirsty.
    These pretzels are making me thirsty!
    These pretzels, are making me, thirsty.
    These pretzels! Are making me! Thirsty!

  14. sb44champs says: Aug 21, 2012 8:29 AM

    careerender56 says:
    Aug 21, 2012 7:52 AM
    “Yeah, that or he realized his previous comments made his saints buddies look bad at a time when they need to look like victims of the “coach made us do it” defense, and altered his comments accordingly”
    ———————————-
    OK Saints-hater, what part of the story did you not comprehend…. obviously, you need to know the definition of ‘misquote’ to understand, lol!!!

  15. cakemixa says: Aug 21, 2012 8:35 AM

    The guy is dying of ALS and not once, but twice now, he’s dealing with scumbag producers trying to get something controversial out of him. Classy.

  16. saints4evah says: Aug 21, 2012 8:39 AM

    You just can’t take it can you? A guy comes and defends himself from serious charges and you and people like you just jump in and smear them as hard as you can this whole time, this whole ridiculous witch hunt. Since the beginning of this pillory, people like you…”careerender” have jumped in and slanted, misquoted anbd straw-manned debated good people who were caught doing nothing more than playing football with a money pool for big plays. College players get helmet stickers, pro ball millionaires throw noney around like it’s hay.
    Greg William made a fiery speech full of trash talk to fire his team up, injuries are printed everywhere, and if you don’t know where your opponent is weak then you ain’t playing football.
    It is obvious where so many of you “hard nose journalists” are weak….and it gets more obvious every word of this drivel people like you write.
    I am sick of our guys being treated as if they woke up one day and decided to be evil. You, careerender. are a shining example of what has been wrong with this whole thing from the beginining.

  17. bc1906 says: Aug 21, 2012 9:31 AM

    I am so sick of the all the Saint’s fans saying how everybody is coming down on them. Grow up and stop whining. Your team members made a mistake. Just own up to it and take your licks and move on. But nooooooo, you just can’t stand the fact that the NFLPA signed a deal giving the power to Roger and now he is using it to punish players. Hmmmmm, YOU SIGNED THE DEAL!!!!!! You could have held out and missed a few game checks, but you didn’t want to do that. So you signed a bad deal. Too F-ing bad!!! Grow the F up and sit out your year and come back strong next year. I actually like that the Saints have been doing well. But I am sick of people not taking responsibility for their actions. They knew about this for 3 years and still didn’t eliminate it. You were warned repeatedly…..

  18. realitypolice says: Aug 21, 2012 9:37 AM

    All due respect to his illness, but it’s time for Steve Gleason to either accept the fact that life in the public spot light will occasionally be uncomfortable, or to step out of it and stop doing interviews.

    Whatever actual words came out of his mouth in his answer, it is clear that the question pertained to everyone in the room, not just “the group he was with” whatever that means. How does he distinguish who was and wasn’t in his “group” if if everyone was in the same room? And it is equally clear in context that he meant to say that no one was shocked.

    Own your words, or stop talking.

  19. nolafireguy says: Aug 21, 2012 10:01 AM

    Realitypolice, you might try keeping up with the story. He has always maintained he was there with 2 people in the back of the room. He has said he didn’t see everyone in the room, because he was in the back. It would be dangerous to speak to what you don’t know. He likely knows this, but you do not. Knowing a little about the guy, I doubt he has a problem with being uncomfortable in the spotlight, but if I was mis-quoted, for whatever reason, I would want it corrected too. Oh and it’s not “equally clear” to everyone because it is to you. Take Gleason’s example and don’t speak for others.

  20. bigbluedeadhead says: Aug 21, 2012 10:12 AM

    OK, Gleason, you had a great story, were seemingly a great guy, now I think you really need to stop talking b/c you’re ruining it.

  21. musicman495 says: Aug 21, 2012 10:28 AM

    bc1906 says: Aug 21, 2012 9:31 AM

    I am so sick of the all the Saint’s fans saying how everybody is coming down on them. Grow up and stop whining. Your team members made a mistake. Just own up to it and take your licks and move on. But nooooooo, you just can’t stand the fact that the NFLPA signed a deal giving the power to Roger and now he is using it to punish players. Hmmmmm, YOU SIGNED THE DEAL!!!!!! You could have held out and missed a few game checks, but you didn’t want to do that. So you signed a bad deal. Too F-ing bad!!! Grow the F up and sit out your year and come back strong next year.
    ———————————-
    Since you are an expert on the CBA and the negotiations that produced it, perhaps you should read the part where it restricts the cases where the commissioner can act as sole authority, and places certain responsibilities on the commissioner that he did not meet. I assure you Jonathan Vilma’s attorney has read that part, and so has the federal judge who is about to rule in Mr. Vilma’s favor.

    I also suggest you reread your own post and think again about who needs to grow up.

  22. realitypolice says: Aug 21, 2012 10:32 AM

    Let me rephrase myself. It was “clear” what both the intent of the question was and what Gleason meant to say to everyone in the world who is not a hopeless Saints homer.

  23. purpleguy says: Aug 21, 2012 10:44 AM

    Once again, the NFL, the media, the US government and God (via the weather) have engaged in the largest conspiracy in the history of the world just to ensure the new Orleans Saints are not a success.

  24. musicman495 says: Aug 21, 2012 10:45 AM

    righton989 says: Aug 21, 2012 8:22 AM

    The Stains coaches created and maintained a culture of maim first and apologize later and to make sure that the players “got it”, they kicked in cash for hits that were intended to maim and cripple opposing players.
    ———————————
    And if any of that actually happened on the field, boy would you and Roger Goodell have a great case.

  25. cowboycjn says: Aug 21, 2012 11:26 AM

    As for the people so tired of hearing about this stuff it surely doesn’t stop em from coming in to real all the details. They must like something about it that an article’s title catches their attention so easily.

    As for no one being shocked and all those saying thats how people in Louisiana are – well its the same ole hit em hard crap that every locker room pep talk uses in every state and yes as someone pointed out it starts in high-school – yours too. I hear that same sort of rant while I played HS football back in the early 70’s. If you ever played sports you heard it too.

  26. macbull says: Aug 21, 2012 11:49 AM

    When I first read the quote attributed to Gleason, this…

    ” the show indicate that the former Saint was bothered by the reaction of the current members of the Saints to Williams’ “kill the head” rant.”

    …I questioned if it was correct. As a former football player, no way would I be shocked with Williams’ “kill the head” rant.

    Football players at every level hear coaches make comments such as the “kill the head and the body will fall”, routinely and do not take the comments literally.

    I once played against a defensive tackle who, before each play, would say to me that he was going to kill me…did I take his words seriously…hell no.

    To someone who has not played football, they might believe this individual was a threat…but I knew he just spouting crap, attempting to intimidate their opponent.

    What I find amusing, after the game, the same players who were talking trash, will shaking hands and talking as if they have been friends forever.

    What we have here is a case where most have never experienced the game of football trying to judge those who have played as well judging the game itself.

  27. jazz321 says: Aug 21, 2012 12:49 PM

    Glad to see HBO is taking the responsible journalistic role and correct any discrepancies before it actually airs. I agree with the end of the story about the filmographer. Why, if he was “so upset” that he needed to release the audio months after the fact, when at the time of the taping he showed no signs or mention anything to Gleason. The man saw an opportunity to get a little notoriety and hopefully be seen as a “saving the world from harm” journalist. Instead he looks like a money grabbing fool. Not for releasing the audio but the way he went about it.

  28. miamisaint3255 says: Aug 21, 2012 12:58 PM

    HBO changed the subtitles, agreeing with Gleason that he was misquoted. Doesn’t matter – the Goodell PR machine is at work and headlines exist all over the place saying that Gleason slams Williams and Saints and had a big problem with Williams speech and with no Saints player or official standing up to Williams at the time. Even though the “quote” from Gleason that HBO released does not say nearly what these headline news stories say re Gleason’s feelings and meaning behind the “quote”, now we find out that HBO is changing subtitle due to misquote, that it added an entire sentence out of nowhere in the original subtitle. It is very inconvenient for the PR machine of Goodell, which includes bad online “journalists” that want big headlines that are eye catching, but that is ok – these journalists and the NFL Radio and NFL Network simply ignore the news that HBO has changed the subtitle and admitted a misquote happened. The headlines will continue.

  29. miamisaint3255 says: Aug 21, 2012 1:17 PM

    realitypolice says:
    Aug 21, 2012 10:32 AM
    Let me rephrase myself. It was “clear” what both the intent of the question was and what Gleason meant to say to everyone in the world who is not a hopeless Saints homer.

    Yes, it was clear that Gleason meant to add the extra sentence to his quote, which changed the meaning. Yes, I know that Gleason meant something different than what he actually said, especially when I listen to the question asked to him, but I am a Saints fan and can’t get my homer blinders off. Sorry.

  30. electionconfidential says: Aug 21, 2012 1:24 PM

    The only story here is the contents of the Greg Williams speech. Gleason’s reactions or the reactions of those around him are mere distractions from the real story. The real story is that the Saints Defensive Coordinator instructed players on where and when they could further injure the opposition.

    Whether the players did it or not is also a distraction. The real story here is that Greg Williams encouraged gratuitous blows to the head and reminded his defense of existing or recently healed injuries of opposing players. Williams should be banned for life regardless of how anyone SEEMED to react to his speech.

    In that world not seeming to be shocked or appalled probably doesn’t mean you weren’t shocked and / or appalled btw.

  31. phil325 says: Aug 21, 2012 2:00 PM

    Bull. Gleason is trying to save face in front of his ex-teammates to save face and stay in the club. I still cannot believe the number of Saints homeboys who actually believe they didn’t do anything to deserve punishment. Shoeless Joe got the shaft, these are the guys that should be banned.

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