Football is a physical sport with plenty of contact, but with recent developments, the New Orleans Saints have been taking it to a new level over the past few years with their bounty program.
In the last month, a lot of new information has been brought up, and suspensions have been handed out.
Saints Head Coach Sean Payton has been given a full season suspension by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Also, Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for the first eight games of the season, and assistant coach Joe Vitt will be suspended for six games.
The Saints staff members appealed their suspensions this past week, but they were not reduced, which is not surprising considering the awful actions that took place.
Along with the suspensions, the Saints organization was fined $500,000, and this year and next year’s second round picks in the NFL Draft.
But the worst is still to come for the Saints, as player suspensions have not yet been filed. It has been reported that possible criminal charges may be placed on some of the players.
However, the title of biggest offender in the Saints bounty case goes to former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams organization, was suspended indefinitely by the NFL and was the only person suspended that did not appeal his case.
This past week audio from documentary filmmaker Sean Pamphilon was released to the public. The audio is from inside the Saints locker room before the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers.
In the audio clip, Williams is addressing his defensive unit and states some terrible threats that make this bounty case look even worse.
One of the main sayings by Williams in the audio is "kill the head, the body will die." It is easy to understand why people would take offense to this, but really this is football jargon 101. It’s a metaphor stating if you stop the head, the rest of the body won’t function.
A lot of what Williams says is limited to inside a locker room, and as shocked as people may be, that is just typical locker room chatter.
Williams doesn’t really get into foul play until he starts to talk about specifically injuring players. He talks about 49ers receiver Kyle Williams, and "finding out about his concussions."
This is the point where Williams is starting to enter the dark side, such as advocating intentionally-given concussions.
With all of the problems that former NFL players are currently having with the after effects of too many concussions, this is not a light subject.
Williams even talks about beating the heads of 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and running back Frank Gore. He says "we need to decide how many times we beat Frank Gore’s head."
Along with intentionally going for concussions on players, Williams talks about going after wide receiver Michael Crabtree’s ACL muscle.
Intentionally trying to injure a fellow football player doesn’t follow the nature of the game. These injuries have the potential of ending a player’s career, and to try to do that on purpose is sickening.
A lot of former players and Saints’ fans have come out to argue that this is just the way that the NFL works, and that football is supposed to be physical. These arguments don’t come close to justifying what Gregg Williams said.
With the indefinite suspension on Williams, I think that it’s time for the NFL to really send a message that the use of bounty programs is wrong. The NFL needs to suspend Gregg Williams for life. This would prove that the NFL is serious about player safety and anti-bounty campaigns.
Now is the time for the NFL to stand up to the ugly side of football, and send the message that the game won’t be played that way anymore.