Monday, April 9, 2012

Gregg Williams is Bad... But is Sean "The Rat" Pamphilon Worse?

When Tony Soprano was tipped off that his "business associate" and long time friend, Big Pussy Bonpensiero, was doing the simulcast, Puss found himself out on a boat standing in front of three loaded guns being carried by Tony, Paulie Walnuts and Silvio. 

After several awkward and frantic shots of Jose Cuervo, the three men fired a dozen bullets through Puss' purple jogging suit and dumped him into the ocean, where he still remains today (although, if you ask Tony, he'll swear that he went into the witness protection program). 

But mob justice doesn't apply to the NFL, and for that, Sean Pamphilon is grateful. 

As many already know, Pamphilon is the man who released the latest and possibly the most damning evidence against Gregg Williams—an audio clip that captured Williams addressing his players in the locker room before the NFC Divisional playoff game between the Saints and the 49ers last January. 

In the audio clip, we heard Williams partake in typical coach speak. For the most part, I'd be shocked if I walked into an NFL locker room and didn't hear the type of things Williams said on the audio. 

However, there's no question he crossed the line when he encouraged his men to test Kyle Williams' concussion and aim for the ACL's, but overall the speech would have only been slightly concerning had it been released before Bounty Gate became public knowledge. 

But since we now have that knowledge, and know about Williams' participation in the incentive program, the latest evidence is understandably troubling.

WIlliams was in the wrong. He knows it. Everyone knows it. There are few (if any) people willing to challenge that. On the contrary, the argument and the debate has always concerned how wrong it was, as well as the extent of the punishment.  

It is the opinion of this writer that Roger Goodell exceeded what could be considered a rational and fitting punishment, but that's open for debate.  

The injury lawsuits against the NFL, as well as Goodell's safety crusade, is the reason for the thorough and severe punishment against Williams (indefinite suspension). Is there any doubt that the sentences would've been significantly less severe had this exact situation occurred ten years ago? 

The sentencing was formulated by someone with a clear and obvious personal agenda. Even if the punishment fits the crime, it's still absurd to put the outcome in the hands of someone who's top priority has more to do with maintaining a consistent public image rather than justice. 

But regardless, Williams openly admitted that he was in wrong and has accepted his punishment with no resistance whatsoever. 

That's more than we can say about Pamphilon, who will never be forced to admit that he was in the wrong and will likely never see anything even resembling punishment for his actions. 

The documentary that Pamphilon was filming at the time, the piece that allowed him to capture Williams' rant, was meant for his documentary on Steve Gleason. 

Gleason is a former member of the Saints who tragically suffers from ALS. He allowed Pamphilon to document his struggles, but claims that all the material that was filmed or recorded belongs to him and his family as part of an agreement. 

"The Saints trusted me and gave us unlimited access in filming, and I, in turn, trusted Sean Pamphilon," Gleason said to the media. 

In other words, Pamphilon had no right releasing the audio without Gleason's permission. As a journalist, he took advantage of his subject in return for personal gain, and for that he should be disgusted and ashamed of himself. 

Of course, Pamphilon is still clinging to the idea that he released the audio because it was the right thing to do, but it's pretty clear that his motives had more to do with making a name for himself. 

Why was it the right thing to do a week ago and not a month ago? Or better yet, why was it not the right thing to do before Bounty Gate was even public knowledge? 

Pamphilon didn't know that he had possession of a major gem until the news outlets broke the story. And even then, rather than contributing the audio in an anonymous and concerned manor, he purposely waited until the story died down so that he wouldn't have to share the spotlight. 

Williams and Pamphilon were both in the wrong. You don't have to pick sides, they both deserve criticism. 

However, while Williams was immediately willing to admit the error in his way, Pamphilon will likely never step up and admit that he took advantage of a man's trust in order to increase his number of followers on Twitter. 

Promoting dirty play is arguably more serious than misleading someone for personal gain, but lets put it this way... 

Knowing that the Saints never inflicted an unusual number of injuries on their opponents, regardless of the bounties, would you rather play quarterback against that defense (assuming you have NFL talent), or let the vegan-looking Pamphilon film your life knowing perfectly well that he's willing to sell out for ten minutes of attention? 

It's a tough call, but I'd vote for shutting off the camera and lining up under center. 

With that in mind, I feel that Pamphilon owes Gleason and the Saints organization a sincere apology.

But since there's no mob justice in the NFL and no one to hold Pamphilon accountable, that will likely never happen. 

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