When audio surfaced from a defensive meeting the night before the Saints’ postseason loss to the 49ers, much of the conversation regarding former Saints defensive back Steve Gleason — whose unique access to the team allowed the tape to be made — centered on whether his desire for discretion should have been honored by the filmmaker who captured the words of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Gleason, whose blocked punt that will echo in eternity is now memorialized in bronze outside the Superdome, now addresses the substance of the remarks in an interview with HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
And the man whose ALS may have been caused by a career in football that entailed having his bell rung “hundreds” of times took exception to Williams’ directive to attack certain body parts of specific offensive players.
“[W]hen he specified the other players’ injuries, that to me, was over the line,” Gleason said in a rough cut of the show, which PFT obtained from HBO.
Gleason had an even bigger concern. “The real problem was no one seemed shocked,” he said. “There as no discussion of ‘Wow, did we just hear that?'”
And that’s the closest any current or former member of the organization has come to criticizing the manner in which the Saints conducted themselves over the past few years, allegedly or actually.
The fact that the comments come at a time when a federal judge is wrestling with the question of whether to overturn the suspensions imposed on four players for a pay-for-performance program that the league regards as a bounty system could tip the scale toward the NFL, if Judge Helen G. Berrigan currently is on the fence regarding the question of whether the crime justifies the punishment meted out by an internal process she believes was unfair. (And before anyone expresses outrage that a judge would consider a comment made out of court and well beyond the confines of the official “record” of evidence, please remember that judges are not robots, but human beings. Most of them, at least.)
The new episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel debuts on Tuesday, August 21 at 9:00 p.m. ET, right before the third episode of Hard Knocks.