A lot of NFL fans and a handful of players were outraged, after the release of very damning audio tapes that featured former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams instructing his players to target members of the San Francisco 49ers for injury. However, the NFL Players Association was not as surprised as the general public.
Per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the NFLPA was aware of the audio before the tapes were released to the public. Specifically, former Saints linebacker and NFLPA Executive Committee member Scott Fujita informed the association of the contents of the tape which he was given access to by filmmaker Sean Pamphilon.
The NFLPA was reportedly upset with the leak of the audio, because it had been an edge they planned on having over the league to fight player suspensions. Per ProFootballTalk.com:
The argument apparently will be that, by comparing Williams’ comments to the tape of the Saints-49ers playoff game, it’s clear that the players disregarded Williams’ rhetoric. That’s a contention that likely would be made for most if not all of the three-year bounty program, and it mirrors a strategy that men like Saints coach Sean Payton were expected to employ during the April 12 appeal hearings. Williams’ words, under this specific argument, reflected an exaggerated effort to get players in the right mindset to play, with no connection between the offers of cash for injury and actual injury.
Unfortunately for the NFLPA and Saints players, they can no longer surprise the league with the Williams audio. While he may have just been trying to open the eyes of the public or perhaps just make a name for himself, Pamphilon ended up turning his back on the players who gave him access to the locker room once again.
That brings up two questions: Did the NFLPA lose the upper hand in the appeal and should filmmakers now be banned from NFL locker rooms?