Like all circus acts, there are times when a side show distracts onlookers from the main tent. What started as a unified (minus the contingent of illogical Saints fans) public admonishing of Gregg Williams and the Saints, has lead into a sideshow of public opinion addressing the ethics and motive of Sean Pamphilon. Sean Pamphilon wasn’t the whistle-blower that started the mess, but he did provide the hammer that eliminated any public doubt about Gregg Williams’ message or tactics. That audio eliminated all postulations about whether Williams’ words were merely typical football tough-guy rhetoric. It was graphic, it was specific, and it was ultimately damning. The audio provided specifics into a story that was filled with gray, there was no subjectivity in the audio that Pamphilon released on his website.
Today, in the aftermath of the big reveal the discussion isn’t focused on possible outcome of the Saints appeals or about the possible NFLPA’s reaction. Instead the focus is on crucifying Sean Pamphilon for his ethics and motives. “Coward” and “Self-serving” are words commonly seen on the internet when discussing Pamphilon. Personalities and “journalists” from large media outlets like NFL.com or ESPN have raced to judge Pamphilon for his actions. Quite hypocritical considering the bureaucracy content control and editing they are subjected to on a daily basis. When this story first came to light, Mike Silver from Yahoo! got the exclusive, however the exclusive only came with quotes and back-story, not the audio itself, which was posted on Pamphilon’s own website. The media did as the media loves to do these days, they jumped to the conclusion. Pamphilon motives MUST be self-promotion. Little thought, as logical as it may sound, went into the fact that Pamphilon had gone to the Gleasons first about exposing this (as verified by Silver on twitter) before posting it on his website. Knowing there were legal ramifications for what he was about to do, he did it anyway. Does that sound like an act of a coward? Had he given this tape to Silver directly, where would it be now? Would it be sitting on the desk of a Yahoo! lawyer? It’d likely never see the light of day, as the legal team at Yahoo! likely would have deemed the subsequent lawsuit from the Gleasons too risky. Has the media not learned it’s lesson from the Bernie Fine incident, in which ESPN decided to sit on vital information, because they couldn’t verify some sources? The importance in the Pamphilon audio isn’t why he did released it, or even the manner in which he did, but the content and the absolution it provides the story. There are two sides to every story, and it’s quite easy for the media to cast stones, until they realize they live in a glass house.