Leaked Audio Of Former Saints Coach Gregg Williams Instructing Team To Injure 49ers, Handing Out Money [LISTEN]
Today is the day that the Saints will have their appeals heard by the NFL for their roles in the New Orleans Saints bountygate scandal. Today is also the day that the most damning evidence yet in the entire 'bountygate scandal' was released. A four minute sample of a 12 minute speech by former Saints defensive coordinator and bounty orchestrator Gregg Williams, instructing his players to injure San Francisco 49ers players has surfaced.
As a die-hard Saints fan, let me say that I am extremely embarrassed. Let me also add that I believe Gregg Williams should be banned from the NFL effective immediately. As I listened to the audio, I literally felt enraged. This is by far the MOST explicit evidence supporting the bounty system run by the New Orleans Saints, and in my opinion, has NO place in football.
The audio was recorded by documentary filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, who directed the ESPN 30 for 30 film "Run Ricky Run." Pamphilon was following the Saints last season while working on a documentary featuring former Saints player Steve Gleason, who is currently battling the deadly Lou Gherig's disease. The audio recorded was from a speech that Gregg Williams gave to the Saints defensive players the night before they lost to the San Francisco 49ers in a playoff game this past January.
Warning: The following audio is VERY EXPLICIT.
Listen To Gregg Williams Instruct His Team To Injure 49ers Players
The NFL has been criticized recently for rules that many feel are "softening" the game. Many believe that new rules are made to protect the quarterback, run up the score and ultimately take "football" out of football. The NFL a brutal game, and a lot of that speech, while jaw dropping, is what the NFL is all about. Hard legal hits. "Remember me" shots. This morning, I heard something from ESPN NFL analyst and former NFL player Darren Woodson that I couldn't possibly agree with more. He said "95% of what he said happens ALL the time, but when you start specifically targeting players the way he did in that speech, is when you cross the line"
Gregg Williams crossed the line. Big time. One of his favorite slogans - "Kill the head and the body will die" can be heard repeatedly in the speech and according to Pamphilon, Williams even pointed to his chin while instructing players where to hit 49ers QB Alex Smith. In addition to Smith, Williams also specifically targeted running backs Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, receivers Michael Crabtree and Kyle Williams and tight end Vernon Davis, who ironically was the player that ultimately did the Saints in, ending their Super Bowl run with his late game heroics.
When the league ruled on the Saints bounty situation, Williams apologized and took full responsibility for his actions. The New Orleans Saints were penalized heavily, including the 1-year suspension of head coach Sean Payton. Pamphilon is currently working on a documentary called "The United States of Football" that looks at the media's effect on how the game is played and celebrated. He told Yahoo! sports that "he decided to release the audio because Gregg Williams' words, especially about Kyle Williams' concussion history, made him uncomfortable."
Obviously, the Saints will take their licks. Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, and everyone else who is penalized, will pay the price for their role in the Saints 'bountygate' scandal. Hopefully now, we can move forward as on organization and put this all behind us. One thing is certain though. This was a system brought in by, and clearly encouraged by one Gregg Williams - and as a Saints fan, I'm glad he is gone.
UPDATE: In the full 12-minute audio recording Gregg Williams is also heard passing money out to players (around the 8:15 mark). Player names are bleeped, but this is just another kick to the Saints organization while they are down.
Gregg Williams Locker Room Speech (Full 12-minute audio)