April 07, 2012

Former Saints Player: Filmmaker Betrayed Me: When documentary filmmaker Sean Pamphilon taped coach Gregg Williams telling the New Orleans Saints to injure opposing players, he was there with former Saints player Steve Gleason to cover his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). "The Saints trusted me and gave us unlimited access in filming, and I, in turn, trusted Sean Pamphilon," Gleason writes. "Sean Pamphilon and I have an agreement that all recordings ultimately belong to me and my family. ... I did not authorize the public release of any recordings."

posted by rcade to football at 09:58 AM - 12 comments

As bad as the bounty system was, Pamphilon's betrail will be just as damaging in the long run. How many NFL teams will now refuse to allow documentary filmmakers into their meetings which will result in how many stories, like Steve Gleason's battle with ALS, to not be told or heard.

Sad outcome for a filmmakers 15-minutes of fame.

posted by gscheetz at 11:26 AM on April 07, 2012

The other side of the story of the "betrail" [sic]

"According to the Yahoo! report, however, the four-page contract between Pamphilon and Gleason does not specifically prohibit either side from releasing audio or video footage before the completion of the film." [emphasis mine]

"We do have a production agreement that I followed ... I can't understand why Steve would think it's in his best interest to prevent me from telling the truth about Gregg Williams." — Pamphilon

Business doesn't play by the "what's said in the locker room stays in the locker room" rules that players of sport do.

posted by scully at 09:52 AM on April 08, 2012

If a documentary filmmaker films a crime, doesn't that take precedence over any confidentiality agreements?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:47 AM on April 08, 2012

I think Pamphilon did the right thing. I question whether Gleason really had a contract that gave him ownership of a documentarian's work product.

No contract can require a person to keep a crime confidential.

posted by rcade at 10:58 AM on April 08, 2012

If the filmmaker thought it was a crime, then the proper place to release the audio would be the police. This was a matter of ethics, not crime.

posted by bperk at 12:15 PM on April 08, 2012

I'm not so sure that's true, bperk. In Bowers v. Harwick, the Supreme Court found that there can be no expectation of privacy when you're engaged in a criminal act. (The decision was subsequently overturned, but on the basis that the criminal act in question shouldn't have been criminalized, not that someone performing a criminal act does have an expectation of privacy)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:59 PM on April 08, 2012

But in this case, are we even sure the bounty system is a criminal act, thus possibly negating the no expectation of privacy?

I know people think the bounty system is a crime; wouldn't that take lawsuits to figure out, seeing as this uncharted territory?

posted by jmd82 at 12:17 AM on April 09, 2012

This whole thing is a legal nightmare as I have been trying to point out. Pretty muddy water between league rules , policies, and criminal acts under the law. While they can discipline someone for offering the bounty under the league rules by contract and agreement, it would be much harder to take action if a player does not violate any rules and that action is taken by virtue of conjecture and assumption. Quite a lawsuit waiting to happen. If the rule is no one can offer a bounty or accept a bounty then prove someone did either and do what you must. If you can only prove a coach offered a bounty, and subsequently a player in the normal course of performing his job within rules caused an injury. There really is no legal correlation.

Maybe a new rule that any player that does not report the offer of a bounty could be suspended indefinitely, then the next time you get a coach on film making the offer you could then prove without a doubt, all the players present had a responsibility to report the crime, and punish them for the crime of not reporting the bounty, or accepting the bounty.

What if a player on the Saints thought the bounty practice was disgusting and chose not to participate in it? He just goes out and plays his best football, hits very hard as he is motivated by trying to get to the Superbowl. If in his normal play within the rules an opposing player happens to get injured, should that player be convicted because a third party made an offer that had no relevance to the actual situation? Should players have whistle blower protection under the law should they feel they need to step forward? Is silent pressure from an employer and fear for your job an excuse for the players not to come forward or remain silent in the face of the bounty offer?

posted by Atheist at 04:26 PM on April 09, 2012

What if a player on the Saints thought the bounty practice was disgusting and chose not to participate in it?

Ask Buck Weaver or Shoeless Joe Jackson.

posted by rcade at 04:35 PM on April 09, 2012

there can be no expectation of privacy when you're engaged in a criminal act

That's not the holding of Bowers v. Hardwick. I understand that the Court undervalued the right of privacy in that case, but the home entry in Bowers was ostensibly based on consent, and therefore valid. Reading the case to say that there is no expectation of privacy in committing a criminal act would render the 4th Amendment null and void. If there is no expectetion of privacy when engaging in a criminal act, there would be no need for the exclusionary rule. There would be no reason to require search or arrest warrants, either.

posted by tahoemoj at 06:01 PM on April 09, 2012

Ask Buck Weaver or Shoeless Joe Jackson.

I thought the Field of Dreams theory that Jackson had second thoughts/ didn't participate based on his batting average was creative license and that his hits all came in games when he thought there was a double-cross in play. I can't really tell from the boxscores.

posted by yerfatma at 08:34 PM on April 09, 2012

Eight Men Out, wasn't it?

posted by Etrigan at 09:53 PM on April 09, 2012

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