Pamphilon should release his contract with Gleason

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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.

70 responses to “Pamphilon should release his contract with Gleason

  1. Regardless of what the contract says, to take advantage of the trust of a guy who is dying is despicable.

  2. Headline should read “Florio does not trust Michael Silver to know his ass from his elbow when reading a contract.” Pretty balsy. Of course, this comment will ‘never’ be posted.

  3. This guy is a scumbag for doing this The tapes were owned by gleason and he says he never gave the man permission to release them Mr gleason is suffering from als and this is upsetting him and his family very much and in his condition that could be dangerous. We still love you gleason and you are in our prayers. The saints allowed access because this film was to raise awareness of the disease and they were more than glad to help. Don’t try to add your personal dislike for the saints to discredit there noble actions

  4. As a writer, I’ve been given access to incendiary information off the record. Those can be challenging situations to navigate in terms of personal ethics, but if people give me an “off the record” window into their lives for my work, that is an unbreakable trust. However, filmmaking is a different animal. No matter how much you trust people or what agreements have been reached, as long as audio or video recordings exist, your information could go public.

    Did Pamphilon break his agreement with Gleason? I don’t know. But regardless, the Saints still have no one to blame but themselves–first, for engaging in this activity, and second, for doing it on film. How stupid is that?

  5. Didn’t the guy just release it on YouTube? If he didn’t profit off of it, then I have no problems w it.
    For all the people acting like Gleason is some kind of victim here, the audio released had nothing to do w Gleason, he isn’t even mentioned. Pamphilon was clear from the beginning it was his decision alone to release it, not Gleason’s, so how is he harmed?

  6. Sounds to me like Gleason was probably getting some nice treatment by the saints still treating him like one of the guys and now he feels like his ride might be over since his film guy made this public.

    Don’t get me wrong, Pamphilon sounds like a money-grubbing, self promoting opportunist who is looking out for #1 in all this, But illness or not I don’t get warm fuzzies for how Gleason comes off in all this either.

  7. B.s. If I had a contract with a film maker and he witnessed me offer money to hurt someone that doesn’t violate a contract to release that info. I would have been committing a crime which wouldn’t be protected.

  8. Regardless of whatever motivated Pamphilon to release the tapes, he shed light on conduct that is possibly criminal in nature. So what if he stands to benefit from it? It was a business deal to begin with, one he “probably” wasn’t doing for free. It’s not unusual to provide a (statutory) financial incentive to promote whistleblowing behavior. If there was no incentive, very few people would come forward with evidence of criminal behavior. And @dohpey28 is absolutely right, if the contract is so clear, then Gleason should publish the contract. If it was so clearly in his favor, one would think he would have already done so.

  9. And while we’re busy shooting the messenger, let’s not forget the REAL issue which is how the NFL addresses this thorny issue going forward.

  10. Totally and completely agree (for once). This guy stinks of a total d*&(hebag. The end doesn’t justify the means. I mean here’s a guy who gains the trust of a dying man, gains access to information on a false premise, and then tries to wash his hands of the potentially egregious violation by appealing to an unidentified “third part” allegedly of the highest character. Who’d he ask? Larry Flynt? This guy stinks and I hope his reputation and film making career die along with the coaching career of the man he claims to detest. I hope there’s a nice place in hell for this clown.

  11. PFT and the media are getting more out of this saga than anyone. The bottom like is how stunning the words coming from Williams mouth sound on tape.

    It’s the kind of bounty system and mentality that is going to end up killing more players in their later years of brain injuries too. Or Knees that no longer support playing when they reach the 50’s and 60’s.

    Getting hurt is part of the game, but the intentional malice heard on the leaked audio says more than anything about how sick it is and that’s what matters.

  12. It’s sad that Steve Gleason has been dragged into this at all. If Pamphilon felt a moral obligation to turn over the audio, then he should have given it directly to the NFL, not Yahoo.

    It’s a shame that Gleason has to spend his precious time and energy on something that really has very little to do with him. Besides, even if the contract was broken, what is Steve going to do? Sue the guy? Sadly, he’ll most likely be gone by the time anything would be settled.

  13. Gleason has bigger fish to fry than to worry about protecting scum like Williams. Pamphilon’s tape makes it crystal clear how outside the bounds of humanity this guy coached. Gleason should be on board with reminding us of that.

    Plus, if Pamphilon breached the contract then sue him. Otherwise, be quiet and move on.

  14. What’s the big deal anyway? The released audio has absolutely no bearing on Gleason or his family nor his career. This all just simply Saints fans trying go mis-direct attention from the matter at hand. BOUNTYGATE AND INTENT TO HARM opposing players. Morally I beleve he was obligated and legally could br a potential accessory to a crime if he didn’t. To wit-Paterno/Sandusky, Penn St. But there again, do whatever it takes to take the heat off Payton, Loomis, VITT and Vilma. Youre beating a dead horse with Williams, he’s Kentucky Fried other than to focus on and throw under the bus as with Papchon or whatever his name is. Saints are dead meat, cry all ya want this aint Katrina, nobodys feeling sorry for ya. Dat what

  15. Would you please quit take off your lawyer cap on occasion for god sakes? What Pamphilon did is in the best interest of the sport you cover, lets leave it at that.

  16. wow, sounds like a bunch of upset saints fans. they got caught, tough sh*t, and even if it was a violation of a contract to release the tapes, it was still the right thing to do.

  17. What if, during the filming, Williams set fire to a building? Should Pamphilon have kept quiet then.
    If so, lets make a list of acceptable things to keep silent on.

    Williams and the Saints deserve what they get here. They were playing with people’s careers.

  18. Frankly, I taint think it matters how the video came out, the fact that it came out is a good thing.

  19. This reminds me of the big cigarrette companies trying to silence whistle blowers by using corporate confidentiality agreements.

  20. I wouldn’t be surprised if the contract didn’t contemplate the rights involved in this kind of a situation. Most contracts are going to deal with use of the footage for profit.

    Pamphilon is not distributing the recording for money. It is available for free on the internet.

    There are interesting issues here, namely that copyright law is conflicting with fair use rules regarding use of the documentary footage as well as privacy laws. I’m not a copyright lawyer but I would get it probably gets more complex than that.

    What about Williams? Did he consent to the recording? Did he need to? Shouldn’t he have been aware that professional football teams often have cameras and microphones around?

    Does Williams actually own the copyright to the speech he gave?

    I would argue that copyright law would allow someone to disseminate the recording as a journalist under the fair use rules. I actually do not think this is going to help Pamphilon’s career, as any future subjects may be wary of letting him record them. With that said, maybe people respect him for the choice he made and will not hold it against him.

    What I think could be the proper analysis would be under privacy and contract law. Much if not all of that depends on the contract.

    While you can blame Pamphilon for not releasing the contract for publication, there’s nothing stopping Gleason from doing the same. And perhaps it will be moot as a lawsuit could easily be filed.

  21. One more thing….its the coach’s fault you have nothing to root for this year. Take your brigade to Payton’s house and chastise him. Maybe beat on Williams too. They are the ones that screwed you and your ugly jerseys.

  22. Getting hurt is part of the game, but the intentional malice heard on the leaked audio says more than anything about how sick it is and that’s what matters.
    Actually, what is heard on the tape is talk. To my knowledge, nothing that Williams talked about regarding Frank Gore or Michael Crabtree actually took place.

  23. 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

    Not necessarily in the least. Pamphilon is a film maker not just some camera man hired to shoot footage. The “footage” in this portion of the contract most likely pertains to the final product since it refers to “completed and sold”. Many speculate this film isn’t just for Gleason’s kid but, as noted in the contract as “sold”, something that will be used as an attempt to produce revenue (for Gleason’s family after he’s gone or for ALS). This portion of the contract would simply secure any profits for the Gleason Trust and prevent Pamphilon from obtaining any of it.

    Film makers in the documentary field, quite often have control over the footage shot and/or edited. In this case it seems, and makes sense, that Gleason has the rights to the final film to use as he sees fit, but edited material and info on the making of the documentary could very well be in the hands of Pamphilon.

    Pamphilon has no obligation to produce any portion of his contract with Gleason for anybody else’s satisfaction. Nor does he need to justify who did the mediation.

    Pamphilon wasn’t someone who took advantage of his relationship with Gleason to find dirt on the Saints, but rather someone who stumbled upon information he felt needed to be made public.

  24. Anyone who has worked with film would understand that the guy holding the camera often owns whats on the tape. Contracts vary so what Silver says is most likely true. Besides, what GW was spewing on camera is a smoking gun and should be brought to light to confirm what a D Bag Williams is and put an end to all this.

  25. Mike, don’t miss the forest for the trees – I don’t disagree with your comments about the specifics of the contract probably clearing up (one way or another) who was wronged here (if anyone), but let’s be realistic.

    1) Lots of contracts made between parties are extremely poor and non-specific. Not everyone hires a lawyer to make a contract, especially when it seems at face value to have no legal ramifications.

    2) Access to organizations is often OKed by people other than lawyers. A PR person or some other middle management type could well have given permission to Gleason for a private documentary without asking a lot of questions – even at very large organizations these sorts of decisions are often based upon personal relationships rather than boiler plate when it comes to trusted ex-employees.

    3) What do you expect Gleason to say at this point? He’s a dying man with great love for the Saints and most likely conflicted about the situation. That doesn’t lessen the wrong done to him at a contractual or personal level if Pamphilon has hurt Gleason’s relationship with the team, but if they did in fact ask for advice from a third party (you realize that not everyone asks for legal mediation when the question is one of ethics, right?) and the person did side with Pamphilon, wouldn’t you expect Gleason to act to protect his personal interest in the Saints after the fact?

    I certainly don’t mean to cast Gleason in a negative light – nor should Pamphilon be made a hero for possibly violating the trust of a dying many. But sometimes in life you must pick the better of two bad choices, and I think Pamphilon did so in this case. He may have done it for the wrong reasons, but that’s hardly an unusual circumstance in history, wouldn’t you agree?

    I can heartily endorse the “let’s not make a hero of Pamphilon” sentiment, but I’m not convinced that releasing the contract would actually settle this to anyone’s satisfaction, unless the only question at stake is “was Pamphilon’s release of the audio actionable?”

  26. @Mike – Since you’re bring up several questions that you would like answered, allow me to suggest one more. Since this recording took place in California and that State has a “two-party consent” law for making audio recordings, the question is – Was everyone in that room aware that a recording was being made? If not, Pamphilon might possibably be facing criminal charges. As an attorney, you might like to know.

  27. He shouldn’t have been the one to post it in the first place . He saw Mr. Gleason chose not to so he did . Mr . Gleason or whoevers in charge should’ve been posted the video . So everyone saying he was wrong need to kiss his a.. , and Mr. Gleason has not been wronged by no means . Their just mad because they probably didn’t recieve any money for the video. Now if they did what other way can they keep peace other than to say he was rogue . Huh sounds familiar don’t it ? Clowns

  28. Regardless of whether someone is a fan of the saints or Greg Williams , hate it or love it , Gleason should not have to produce anything he is a man that held an organization (the saints) to be a model of how a retired player should be treated especially in a time of need ! The saints will still stand by him his free ride as someone so crassly put it earlier will never be in jeopardy the whole organization is 100% behind his “No white flags ” cause , this scumbag blatantly took advantage of a seriously Ill mans trust for his own agenda ! And please a crime , what world are some of these people living in , the reality is why do they even release an injury report ? Just say the player will or will not be available to play , easy fix , but if they are goin to release what is essentially a shopping list of the weaknesses of an opponent do you realistically think it will not be taken advantage of , as it always has been and always will continue to be albeit in a far more secret way , the methods will change to appease GODell and sniveling masses but the son will remain the same !

  29. Good luck with those appeals and player suspensions. Where and who was the NFLPA rep when this was going on?
    Gleason, you wanted to make a memory for your son…you got it.
    Never heard of you before special team ace.

  30. What’s ironic is, concussions have been linked to causing ALS. You’d think Gleason wouldn’t be so worried about protecting the Saints, and more worried about making sure the younger generation isn’t facing unnecessary risks.

    He probably feels really foolish now, because he inadvertently let this happen. But the reality is, Gleason was not harmed in any way by the disclosure of the audio.

  31. Wow, someone does the “right” thing by releasing the tape, and the supporters of the dirtbag formerly known as gregg williams and this guy. Stop trying to take attention from the issue, that the Saints and the their coaching staff had an “official” system in place to injure other players and that some of those funds came from outside sources. Not to mention that those funds, because they were “administered” by the Saints, violated the salary cap. Personally, I think the Saints are getting off easy here.

  32. Did the Gleasons own all of the footage or just the produced final product? Is it possible that the clip in questions didn’t make it into the final cut?

  33. These guys all the same posters who wanted to see the spygate film?

    If this guy gives the tape to Goodell… and it disappears… then what?

  34. And the notion the Saints players were forced to pay in to the kitty and this audio will help limit fines/suspensions is ridiculous. This only confirms the money paid in/out related to specific targets. NFLPA – what’s more important? Player safety or small fines/suspensions for players targeting a concussed head?

  35. Everyone should realize, of course, that MJF is always taking controversies to new levels, and in various creative directions. It’s part of his job, and not necessarily a bad thing, to enhance rhetorical conflict, engage in verbal taunting, etc., because PFT is not just informational…it’s a form of ‘reality’ entertainment. Sometimes it crosses the line into exploitative, but on the other hand, often it exercises our brain. In this case, I think we should focus on the greater good: the release of the tape, regardless of what the contract says.

  36. Who cares about Gleason and a filmmaker’s contract? This is all about Gregg Williams’ despicable behavior. Maybe people would act more like human beings if daily life were being videotaped.

  37. Bottom line….Gleason was in no way “harmed” by the release of the portion of audio that we have all heard…that’s the standard for any law suit. Williams is exposed as a total POS and the apologist just need to shut up and go away!

  38. Sorry….there’s a little too much sympathy for Gleason goin’ on here. I feel for the dude and his illness but he was a party to bountygate by having knowledge of it and refusing to do anything about it. Florio…..if I had an agreement with you that we were going to rob a bank and you ratted me out, does that make you the bad guy? I don’t think so. What Payton and the Taints* were doing was not just poor sportsmanship, it was arguably illegal, offering money to someone to assault another person. Even the NFLPA has advised some of the involved players to seek outside counsel in case criminal charges are bought against them. Gleason may be dying but that doesn’t absolve him from doing the right thing.

  39. Forget the he said he said….

    Given the gravity of the audio versus Steve’s crusade, what are Steve’s thoughts on Greg Williams’ words. I think Steve should’ve been repulsed while hearing it live in the locker room let alone later on with time to reflect on it.

    This is Steve’s business, but his his silence deafens his crusade. Steve needs to speak out on the content of the audio more than the legalise of the release of the audio.

  40. Isn’t Gleason suffering from a condition that could have been caused by football-related brain injuries? And here you have Pamphilon recording a documentary about the poor guy, and Gregg Williams is talking about “killing the head” and targeting a specific player with a recent concussion, as well as offering up cash money for injuries/cart offs.

    There was a clear moral obligation to act here, so the contract can suck it.

    Pamphilon did the right thing by going public. Give it to Goodell and it’s an ashpile on top of the Spygate video ashes.

  41. I love how the focus has been taken off the conduct of the New Orleans Saints, and put on a party who absloutely PROVES they broke the rules and lied about it.

    Pamphilon didn’t do anything wrong here …. the New Orleans Saints did.

    A man is somewhere he shouldn’t be, and witnesses a murder. The accused man’s lawyer doesn’t prove his client’s innocence, instead he puts the witness on the defensive for having seen what he saw.

    Love it.

  42. Pamphilon is a scum bag i mean who would do this to a dying man? In high school we heard dennis northcutt had a broken hand & our coaches told that to us all week& i swear i missed him about two or three times tryin to get that hand & maybe bang it alittle, my point is even when you want to do something on the football field it most times does not end up like u planned, kids who play football at all levels know who is hurt & who has an injury so was i surprised about gregg wlliams sayin hit that outside acl? Well since ROGER has took over where can you hit them at? Most lineman cut block on that outside acl, has no one seen that houston texan O_LINE?

  43. I think what’s being lost is there was a purpose for the film and it was to be released at a future time. The arguement is that this was not the time for the release, not that it could not be released.

  44. Classic sour grapes from Florio. Why don’t you request your own private viewing of the contract? Did you do so and get turned down?

    It would be entirely foolish to release the contract….especially if there is no explicit provision to release material. It only adds more eyes and more opinions to the issue that can conjure up reasons for the 2 parties to fight.

    If I released the audio….I’d tuck away the contract for the court of law instead of releasing to the court of public opinion.

    BTW- I like the previous poster question: why not have the other party release the contract?

  45. Why don’t you get a copy of the contract from The Gleason Family Trust? I assume THEY have a copy as well. Why shouldn’t they have to prove to YOU the basis of THEIR assertion THEY made FIRST?

    Biased much?

    This indignation is rich coming from a parasite whose living is made on trafficking rumor and innuendo. Let’s see YOU be transparent.

  46. “Pamphilon did the right thing by going public. Give it to Goodell and it’s an ashpile on top of the Spygate video ashes.”

    Absolutely correct. Give the tapes to Goodell, and then he buries them in a quid pro quo move to get Gleason’s cooperation to not sue the NFL for his injuries. The last thing the NFL needs is Gleason saying he never authorized the NFL to release the tapes publicly. The public would have never heard them. For all we know, Goodell discovered the existence of this audio during his Saints investigation, and privately encouraged Pamphilon to release this info that he would not have been able to do so easily.

  47. Why is Gleason so opposed to this being released? He’s got a disease that potentially could be related to playing football yet he’s basically defending a guy who is purposely trying to give people head injuries, potentially ending up in the same situation as Gleason.

  48. So sick of hearing people defend Gleason. If he was such a great guy then why did he fire the head of security. Oh yeah, because he caught the head coach stealing pain killers..

  49. Anyone who thinks the NFL people didn’t see this before it was released publicly are underestimating them. I would go so far as to opine that the third party they both trusted had something to do with the NFL.

  50. I can’t believe people are trashing pamphilon in this. Regardless of any contract he was witness to something that was borderline illegal. It is his moral obligation to report it.

    The only thing different he could have done is to report it to nfl rather than public. But then nfl could have swept it under the rug.

  51. I agree with those saying morally Pamphilon did the right thing in releasing it.

    I would also suggest that Pamphilon could have divulged the speech without providing the recording of it.

    Perhaps Pamphilon did just that and went to the NFL to share his concerns? Maybe Pamphilon is the whistle blower?

    And maybe he couldn’t help himself but release it at the thought of Payton, Williams and co. winning their appeals.

  52. There are legit things for court. This is one of them.

    He doesn’t have to show us a damn thing to amuse our rabid curiousity.

    If Gleason feels wronged but on the right side of this and damaged from it, it’s his choice to sue.

  53. Pamphilon betrayed a dying man…it does not get any lower than that.

    Pamphilon would not have had access to the Saints meetings had it not been for Gleason and even when Gleason told Pamphilon, he did not want the tapes released, Pamphilon released them.

    It is obvious the tapes were being made for the Gleason family trust and Pamphilon not only betrayed a dying man, Steve Gleason, but Steve’s wife and young son.

    Pamphilon is the lowest form of life on earth…media scum.

  54. Yes, Steve got betrayed, but what are Steve’s thoughts on the contents of the audio??

    Steve can leave behind a tape of the inner workings of a team for his kids or he can leave a legacy of change that his kids can be proud of and possibly benefit from if they play football – time to speak out Steve – your silence speaks volumes and at the same time deafens your crusade

  55. Pathetic that this writer attacks the messenger. It happens all over. Pamphilon did nothing wrong (Silver checked the contract). Pamphilon gave the public proof that the Saints were doing something very bad so Florio jumps the messenger. Seriously???? We should be thanking Pamphilon for his integrity and shaking our heads at writers like Florio who assail people for relaying an honest message.

  56. macbull says: Apr 7, 2012 3:23 PM

    Pamphilon betrayed a dying man…it does not get any lower than that.

    Cry me a river. There was no betrayal there at all. First, Gleason only had the rights to the finished product.

    Second, both Gleason & Williams are celebrities…which means, by law, they are fair game to any form of reporting…and that they sacrificed privacy when they chose to follow the career they chose.

    “Dying man” is a stretch. We’re all dying in some way.

  57. Sorry about Gleason’s health, but that doesn’t weigh into any decision to release audio tapes. Is the audio strictly property of Gleason or is it the finished product? Pamphion says “not”.

    I understand that Gleason was against the release, just not sure why based on what they show and the brotherhood of players. Anyway, we now know that Pamphilon discussed it with him and when they couldn’t agree, they got a 3rd party to decide on its’ release. The unbiased, mutually agreed upon 3rd party said, “do it”. That seems to be the end of any suit against Pamphilon by Gleason or the Saints.

    Lets move onto the real issues and leave this episode as an * to the bounty-gate story.

  58. One last point: It is Gleason’s responsibility to show Pamphilon didn’t have permission to release the audio. Until he does, Pamphilon can do what he wants with his product. All Gleason has done so far is say that Pamphilon didn’t have authority to release the audio. If it was Gleason’s interview, I might agree. It isn’t, so I don’t.

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