Steve Gleason believes that his words were misinterpreted via subtitles in a rough cut of his Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel profile, which debuts tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET.
And HBO will be changing the subtitles to reflect the words Gleason says that he said.
The subtitles on the rough cut claims that Gleason said: “The real problem was no one seemed shocked. There as no discussion of ‘Wow, did we just hear that?’”
Gleason contends that he actually said: “The group I was with . . . no one seemed shocked.” (Listening closely to the words without looking at the subtitles, Gleason’s interpretation seems accurate.)
The move comes, we’re told, after a Monday night discussion between Gleason and producers from the show. As a result, the subtitles will reflect a more narrow view of Gleason’s perceived reaction to Gregg Williams’ cartoonish rant the night before the Saints faced the 49ers in the 2011 postseason.
In context, the change may not matter. The questions come off as broad, even if the answer (as revised) comes off as narrow and focused on the people who were with Gleason at the meeting, and no one employed by the Saints.
Hee’s the reality — whether the “group” Gleason was with seemed shocked by Williams’ words depends in many respects on the reaction by the rest of the room. If players and coaches and team employees seem shocked, Gleason’s “group” likely would have picked up on that. If, in contrast, the Saints personnel were flabbergasted by Williams’ words, Gleason’s group likely would have caught some of that, too.
In a roundabout way, Gleason’s quote as narrowed is a slap at the stated motivations of the filmmaker who has claimed that he ultimately released the audio against Gleason’s wishes because the filmmaker was so troubled by what he heard. In the immediate aftermath, per Gleason, the filmmaker wasn’t even shocked.
We’re not shocked that Gleason would be inclined to walk a fine line. The Saints have been very good to him. There’s no reason for him to gratuitously turn on the organization.
Still, the distinction between what he said and what HBO thought he said ultimately may reflect no practical difference.