The Gregg Williams “Bounty Program” story is spreading like wildfire, starting with the New Orleans Saints, and further being linked to earlier positions held by Williams in both Washington and Buffalo.
Recently outed, Williams apologized by saying, “It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it”.
Clearly, Williams is at the forefront of this scandal, and by calling this act a “mistake”, yet allegedly continuing to move forward with it while working for three different franchises, the strength of his actual apology is one that is severely diluted. Still, Williams himself isn’t the only one that should have stopped this terrible deed that has tarnished an already violent, yet entertaining and popular game.
Saints GM Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton come to mind as individuals that could have prevented the bounty project, but players could have, too – and not just with the Saints, but as reports are stating, individuals who played under Williams in both Washington and Buffalo.
This isn’t a new situation where the NFL should seek to fork out more stringent rules on player safety, but an act that should seek out means in which the league can further protect its moral code.
Rivalries will always generate hatred and the aggressiveness of the game will always result in big hits and injuries, but actually paying rewards to purposely take a player out? It’s one of the most classless acts imaginable, and arguably one that should surpass that of New England’s “Spygate” scandal a few years back.
Gregg Williams – who is fully entrenched in a new job as defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams – should instead be banned from the NFL for life. Apology or not, if all reports are true, then Williams internally had his own personal second and third chances when he moved on from the Bills and the Redskins.
But again, it’s important to point out that the Saints are the only team that has concrete allegations at the current time.
Left in the wake of this still-developing scandal is the story of the New Orleans Saints. We must not forget that the Saints rejuvenated the energy of the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and many argued that this team had replaced the Dallas Cowboys as the new “America’s Team” after their Super Bowl run.
Now, football fans are left feeling dirty, cheering on and supporting a team that purposely set out to injure other players.
If an injury were to be bad enough, there would be a legitimate argument that a criminal act had been committed.
After all, how is it any different than choosing to hire a hitman?
The world we live in offers numerous second chances, to even the dirtiest of individuals, but if the NFL and Roger Goodell were smart, they would choose to remove Gregg Williams from the game entirely, and further set new rules that invoke more strict punishment if any individual or team is seen supporting “bounty rules” again.
Let this be advice to Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis front office: The second pick discussion in the NFL draft can wait and the Gregg Williams discussion should begin.
In fact, should we instead be wondering if Fisher is already familiar with Williams’ ways, considering that he was the head coach in Tennessee when Williams was there from 1997-2000? That’s a point that surprisingly, critics have failed to question. It’s not an accusation by any means, because other head coaches such as Joe Gibbs stated that they had no idea. It’s quite possible that Fisher also had no idea.
After Tennessee, Williams’ three following positions (Buffalo, Washington and New Orleans) have all painted the headlines with reports of possible bounty systems being in place.
Either way, St. Louis and Jeff Fisher – being guilty by association – should have a proverbial bounty on its head – and a possible hit on its reputation coming.
That is, if Gregg Williams sticks around, and gets a second chance in the NFL.