After audio surfaced of Greg Williams encouraging his players to injure San Francisco 49ers players prior to the Saints-Niners playoff game this last winter, I’m beginning to wonder if we arent’ going to see a lifetime ban for the longtime NFL defensive coordinator.
The shocking audio was released by Sean Pamphilon, a filmmaker who followed the team and filmed Saints games throughout the year. It’s being called a weasel move that he gained access to the team and the stabbed them in the back by releasing these tapes, but that’s also a bad position to be in. What kind of rat has important tape of a coach in this situation and sits on it. One reason the NFL came down so hard on the Saints is their denial this kind of thing was going on…for three years. This is proof that the NFL had this right.
In the Greg Williams audio, the Saints former defensive coordinator is encouraging his players to go after specific Niners personnel.
This isn’t the “hit ’em hard” type of advice. He wants them to go for the ACL on Michael Crabtree. He directs them to attack the head of a player with a concussion history. When Frank Gore is on the pile, he wants them to try to target his head, too.
For quarterback Alex Smith, he tells his team, “I’ve got the first one,” presumably saying he’s going to pay the first bounty.
Hard hits and trying to rattle heads and bones is part of football. Some of this is bad to have come out, but is nothing new to the National Football League or American football in general.
But the steady word over the years is this is players fraternity–that NFL players have not only a brotherhood, but a common livelihood. So when Greg Williams tells people to target another player’s anterior cruciate ligament, he’s encouraging them to ruin the career and the livelihood of their fellow players. That’s the football equivalent of assassination.
Reasons I Think Greg Williams Will Be Suspended for Life
- The NFL has gone overboard to protect concussed players these last 2-3 years. The fines are out of control, but you have to remember Roger Goodell is a lawyer. When the inevitable lawsuits come from ex-players suffering from lingering concussion issues, he wants to be able to point to the history of fines, regulations, and other measures the league has taken to stop or limit concussions. Greg Williams’ audio directly undercuts the image the NFL is trying to convey–a loss of image that could cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.
- The Saints lied to Roger Goodell for nearly 3 years about these policies. The Saints were warned 2 years to stop this stuff. The NFL warned them at the beginning of the season to come clean and not to lie to them. Throughout it all, the New Orleans Saints have claimed they knew nothing of this. But this shows these policies were still in place as recent as the Saints last ballgame–and that they were more brazen than ever. The Saints have directly defied the NFL Front Office.
- Once again, these aren’t just bounties for big hits. These are orders to ruin the career of the guy across the field. In a league already under scrutiny for its violence and with parents concerned about this culture filtering down to their kids’ high school and Pop Warner League teams, the NFL cannot be seen to condone this activity.
We all know football is a tough sport. I suspect this kind of thing goes on around the league, around the NCAA, and in high school field houses. I’m not saying it’s everywhere, but this isn’t an isolated case.
The NFL knows that, so they’re going to have to take tough measures to assure no franchise, no general manager, and no coach ever dares to do this again…or at least get caught. The fact that New Orleans Saints like Malcolm Jenkins have spoken out today against Sean Pamphilon and have gone on record saying they thought he wouldn’t reveal the tapes shows how far they were removed from the realities surrounding this case–and how far from reality they still remain.