This is bad. Really bad. Unbelievably, “BountyGate” just got 1,000 times worse.
Audio has leaked of former Saints defensive coordinator (and former Bills head coach) Gregg Williams giving a speech to his players prior to the Saints’ playoff contest at San Francisco this past season…and let’s just say that any chance that Williams ever has to coach in the NFL again is likely gone.
Take a listen for yourself, but WARNING: this audio IS NOT safe for work due to very explicit language.
For the benefit of those of you who can’t listen to it for whatever reason, Williams EXPLICITLY instructs his players to injure several 49ers, including Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and Kyle Williams. And this is not just “Let’s hit them hard,” this is “Let’s target specific body parts, including the head of players with previous concussions.” He also specifically references cash payments to players who injure opponents, indicating he “has the first one,” i.e. that he’ll provide the first payment.
If anything, it’s even worse than I’m making it sound. Here’s a breakdown some of the worst passages.
“We hit [expletive] [Alex] Smith right here (points to his own chin). Remember me. I’ve got the first one. I’ve got the first one (rubs his fingers together to indicate a cash payment). Go lay that [expletive] out.”
Holy crap. Basically, he’s saying “Hit their quarterback in the head. I will pay you extra money if you injure him.” That sounds really bad.
But maybe you’re thinking, “Maybe he’s not really referencing head shots. Maybe he’s just talking about hard hits.” Hold your horses. The tape gets way, way worse.
“Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head…Continue, touch, and affect the head.”
Here’s Williams advocating for cheap shots while players are piled up. Explicitly referencing the head again.
“We need to find out in the first two series of the game, about that little wide receiver, number 10, about his concussion. We need to put a [expletive] lick on him right now. He needs to decide. He needs to [expletive] decide.” (Number 10 refers t0 49ers WR Kyle Williams.)
Gregg Williams is now saying “Let’s go after the guy with the concussion!” Oh boy.
But maybe you’re still dubious. Maybe you’re thinking, “Maybe he just want them to get a hard hit on Kyle Williams to see if he’s brave enough to really play after his concussion.”
Well, this next quote erases all doubt that Gregg Williams was out for blood:
“We need to decide whether [Michael] Crabtree wants to be a fake ass primadonna, or he wants to be a tough guy. We need to find out. He becomes human we [expletive] take out that outside ACL.”
Wow. There’s just no justifying that. None. This is an NFL coach giving explicit instructs to CRIPPLE a specific opponent. Absolutely vile.
Oh, there’s more. Frank Gore is also a target.
“We need to decide how many times we can beat Frank Gore’s head.”
“We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways.”
More specific instructions to go for the head.
Star TE Vernon Davis also had a bounty on his head, or more specifically his ankles:
“We need to decide how many times we can bull rush and we can [expletive] put Vernon Davis’s ankles over the pile.”
More advocating the crippling of a specific opponent.
Don’t worry: Williams seems to grasp that this is pretty extreme. But he says that this is the only way to succeed in the NFL:
“Respect comes from fear. That is how you get respect in this league.”
Therefore, Williams says that there’s no need to feel bad about intentionally trying to injure opponents:
“We don’t [expletive] apologize for how we’re going to play…A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on victory.”
And that, my friends, is how you yourself a lifetime ban from the NFL. There’s no way in HELL Roger Goodell is EVER going to let Gregg Williams anywhere near an NFL facility ever again.
Nor should he.
Gregg Williams represents everything that is wrong with football. He represents the macho “warrior” attitude that gets young men crippled for no good reason.
He thinks injuries and cheap shots are how an NFL defense gets respect?? Hell, no. An NFL defense gets respect by being a GOOD DEFENSE. Something the Saints haven’t been in at least two years. Take out their gaggle of lucky turnovers from their Super Bowl year, and have the Saints accomplished anything on defense under Williams? Nope – the Saints ranked 24th in the NFL in total defense this year. Probably because he was more focused on being a tough guy than creating better schemes.
Goodell HAS to drop the hammer even further here. This kind of crap can never, ever be tolerated in the NFL again. Make an example out of the Saints and Williams.
Step 1: Williams should be banned for life. And I’d be highly shocked if he wasn’t.
Step 2: More organizational fines for the Saints. I’d take away several draft picks as well.
Step 3: I wouldn’t be opposed to an even longer ban for Saints head coach Sean Payton. He knew this crap was going on. And he did nothing to stop it.
You might say, “But every NFL team does this! It’s not fair!” Yeah, well the Saints are the ones that got caught.
This is the kind of thing that will literally kill the NFL. The very future of the whole sport is at stake.
Make a fearful example of the Saints, and MAKE sure this never happens again.