I interviewed the principal of my son's junior high school today because they just eliminated their tackle football program. I am not personally advocating for the banning of football on any level. However, this is a public health concern and needs to be taken seriously.
Why did you decide to release the now-infamous audio of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams instructing his players during a pregame speech to deliberately injury opponents?
I wasn't thinking right after I [witnessed Williams speaking] that I would put it out. Not at all. I was thinking that I got caught up in a really weird moment. The energy in that room was just different. It was clear that Williams was running shit, the way he spoke and walked around, he had the aura of "I'm not just a coordinator, I'm the fucking man."
The real smoking gun is when Williams says to put it underneath [49ers quarterback] Alex Smith's chin and does like this [Pamphilon rubbed his fingers together in a cash-holding motion] and says, "the first one's on me." I have that on video tape. And at the moment, it didn't resonate with me. Even when he mentioned [trying to injure opposing players' knees] I thought, "You know what, these guys are crazy, I guess this is what they do.'"
But when he said to go after the guy with the concussion [San Francisco kick returner Kyle Williams],that got me. I couldn't believe he just said that. I was like, "Wow, how do you have this mentality when so much information [about brain trauma in football] is out there?" And if you don't know this, you're just abusing people, and using ignorance to do it.
Still, I wouldn't have reported it. I'm not that guy. The next week, it was reported that the Giants were going after the same guy [Williams]. So I figured, okay, that's part of public record, maybe I'll put a voiceover into my documentary that I was in a football meeting—not even put the pro context in it—where I saw this stuff, put it against the visual of the article about the Giants, to strengthen the point that it wasn't just an isolated incident.
The game-changer for me was when the NFL put the [BountyGate] story out, and Williams said, "We knew we were wrong." I was like, "you know what, man? You knew you were wrong. You were in charge. There's no democracy in football. We knew? Really? Who was your board of directors?" Most of those guys in the room have non-guaranteed contracts. He threw his players directly under the bus. And especially with all of these [concussion] lawsuits going on, I thought it was important for the American public to have an idea of who is controlling stuff, and who is not.
Has too much of the discussion focused on Gregg Williams?
It's not just about Gregg Williams. It's about the culture. Everything trickles down. I've seen coaches in amateur football, like young kids, speak in a way that you should not speak to children. I've seen high school coaches scream and curse at these kids for making a mental error—well, what if a kid makes a mistake on a math test? Does the teacher get to start screaming, "You're fucking up!"