The most incriminating evidence against Gregg Williams in the bounty gate scandal came out in a leaked audio clip of a pregame speech to his defense before the 49ers playoff game this past year. If you haven’t heard it yet, be forewarned, there’s lots of profanity and explicit language. Here is the audio clip in question of Williams motivating his troops and encouraging violent hits in an attempt to knock 49er players out of the game:
While the language and content may be shocking to many, this doesn’t really change much in my eyes. This confirms only what was already reported. That the Saints had a pay to injure program largely championed by Gregg Williams, and that Williams is kind of a pyscho. We kind of already knew that, by the way, with the numerous explicatives and crotch chops caught on camera during his sideline outbursts. Listening to the audio it also helps me understand why Williams is reverred as an elite coach by so many. Is he a classy individual? Not by any stretch. But to say that he wasn’t successful at his job would be far from true as well. The numbers over the years don’t lie. You can hear it in his voice, he is leading men into battle. More than directing them to injure, he is getting his own player’s heads. He is motivating his players to play with passion and anger to do whatever it takes to win. The lines get blurry and it’s a fine line between immoral and aggressive in the NFL, and Williams without question stepped over that line, but you can tell he is manipulating this “bounty system” in an effort to motivate his players. I don’t doubt that his way of talking to his players and his motivational tactics help get the best out of many of his players. That’s the reality of the NFL folks. While most coaches don’t run a pay to injure scheme in the NFL, so that’s what makes Gregg Williams unique, most coaches talk exactly the same way that he did in this clip. They talk about taking players out, and they talk about hitting people in the mouth (or head) so hard that they don’t get up. This happens on 32 teams every single week of the season. Other coaches may not operate exactly like Williams, but some may, and many come very close.
The reality is the NFL isn’t a family friendly sport, but the corporation puts a nice little family friendly polished bow on it to make it seem that way. The NFL also goes to great lengths to hide the public from all the “rough around the edges” spots in football, which shelters us from reality, and in turn makes this audio clip more shocking. The sport is played by athletes in their early and mid 20′s that in many cases had a questionable education and maturity level their entire lives. Give guys like that millions and, well, a lot of them won’t behave appropriately because they didn’t before they made millions. Especially if they are directed not to by their coach. Most of these athletes have skirted the lines with dabbling into performance enhancing drugs, questionable morality etc… This has all been done in an effort to win, have personal glory, and in an effort to make money. These guys get paid millions upon millions to win games and get on Sportscenter, so anytime you associate that much dollar to a result, questionable behavior will always settle in, especially when you consider the lack of maturity and education some of these individuals have. I mean, when you think about it, plenty of very well educated businessmen and politicians behave in an incredibly wrong manner all in the name of money, so how can we be shocked these guys do the same?
I’m not defending Gregg Williams’ actions, but I am trying to marginalize them a bit. I’m also in full agreement that the Saints got caught and deserved to get punished. What I am saying is this is how the NFL operates. Williams just may have taken it a slight step further, but it wasn’t a big step in my estimation. Behind closed doors, these players talk about the most graphic and profane things you’ve ever heard. Most coaches do, too. Former Saints’ receiver coach Curtis Johnson was notorious for blasting into longer profanity laced tirades than anyone in the league. Some of the games greats: Mike Ditka, Mean Joe Greene, Lawrence Taylor, Ray Lewis, Vince Lombardi… the list goes on. Those guys were the most profane, dirtiest MFers and ethically questionable guys out there. And they all won. We all want to root for winners, and in this business there’s a cost that comes with that whether we choose to accept it or not.
Massive consumption is not ready to hear this clip, because they like to believe these athletes/coaches they “look up to” behave like, well, Saints. The NFL has gone to great lengths to perpetuate the idea that all these coaches, players and staff members are quality human beings. My personal view is there’s no such thing is a good defense that plays “classy”. That doesn’t mean quality individuals don’t exist in the NFL, or on the Saints, but it does mean there is a huge disconnect between “truth” and “public perception”. More than anything that’s what the Saints are paying for now. This is SHOCKING to the outside world, and “meh” to most within the game. Roger Goodell of course being the exception because he’s on a player safety crusade and he’s trying to reshape the league’s reputation. Goodell needs to keep that “truth” to seem “shocking” so the revealed news on the Saints can be cast as an isolated incident. It’s not an isolated incident, but the average brainwashed NFL fan will believe it is, and they’ll continue to watch and root for football thinking “the guys I root for are way classier than the Saints”. That attitude is more misguided than they’ll ever know.
In closing: #$%& GREGG WILLIAMS.