The latest bombshell in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty situation came Thursday when an audio recording of ex-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams surfaced.
Williams, addressing the Saints’ defense on the night before the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, used plenty of profanity as he described how they were going to attack the offense and look to put big shots on key players like quarterback Alex Smith and wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
It wasn’t surprising given the allegations against Williams but the audio was certainly disturbing. The audio was released by Sean Pamphilon, a documentary maker who was granted access to the meeting as he was working with former Saints player Steve Gleason, who is suffering from ALS. Pamphilon was recording material to later share with Gleason’s family, and he released the audio without permission from Gleason.
This morning, Gleason released a statement on his Web site:
In light of the news story which first appeared on yahoo.com yesterday, I feel it’s necessary to share my thoughts.
In January 2011, I was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a terminal disease with no known cure. It is grotesque and brutal, I know this firsthand. After initially being diagnosed with a terminal disease, patients often ask “why or how did this happen?”
During my diagnosis process, I was made aware of the connection between impact sports and brain disease (including ALS). I was also made aware of a connection between blue/green algae and ALS. The causes of this mysterious disease elude even our most intelligent scientists. Ultimately, determining the cause of this disease is not an objective of mine. I decided that my energy was better spent focusing on how to cure the disease and help inspire other patients rather than dwelling on how this may have occurred.
Despite my diagnosis in 2011, my wife, Michel, and I chose to have a child. Rivers Varisco Gleason, my son, was born on October 19, 2011. As soon as Michel became pregnant, I began creating a video journal library, documenting my thoughts on life to pass on to Rivers. It’s an incredibly rewarding and productive activity.
In the spring of 2011, Sean Pamphilon approached me, and we agreed to collaborate to further document my family’s journey.
I have a unique relationship with the Saints and the City of New Orleans. The Saints have been incredibly open and supportive of me and my family during my disease progression. From my perspective, the Saints have helped begin to shift the paradigm of how an NFL team should treat its players after retirement.
Since my retirement, and specifically this year, the Saints have opened their doors and included me in countless team functions. I included Sean Pamphilon in some of these activities, because I felt my relationship with the Saints was an integral part of my overall journey. The Saints trusted me and gave us unlimited access in filming, and I, in turn, trusted Sean Pamphilon.
Sean Pamphilon and I have an agreement that all recordings ultimately belong to me and my family. Nothing can be released without my explicit approval. I did not authorize the public release of any recordings.
A multitude of feelings have passed through me. I feel deflated and disappointed. I feel frustrated and distracted. Nevertheless, these feelings will pass, and I will continue steadfast in my mission.
Finding a solution to a terminal disease with no known cure and inspiring ALS patients to thrive after diagnosis is my purpose and the purpose of Team Gleason. This presents epic challenges that need our intense focus. I believe that we can cure ALS.
If this story promotes any action from you, I hope it will be action towards solving the tremendous problem of curing ALS.
No White Flags,
Maybe the fine money from the bountygate, when finally collected, can be donated to causes associated with ALS. That would certainly be a small token.
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune