Audio of Gregg Williams Could Earn NFL Ban, Criminal Charges
The other day, I wrote about the possibility of those involved in the New Orleans Saints‘ bounty scandal facing criminal charges, what those charges would be, and the likelihood it could hold up in a court of law.
Now, with the release of audio of then-Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams the night before the team’s playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers this past season, this could be all the evidence that federal prosecutors need to get involved in this case.
(Note: this audio, recorded by documentary filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, and confirmed by multiple sources, is no hoax. However, in a case of a criminal conspiracy charge, federal prosecutors would have to prove the authenticity of the audio so that it can hold up as evidence in a court of law.)
This audio of Williams is both disturbing, and graphic. A fine line is crossed between motivating players and telling players to go out and attempt to intentionally injure opposing players.
Here are some quotes from the audio of Williams:
“Kill the head and the body will die.”
“We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill [49ers running back] Frank Gore’s head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways.”
“Little 32 [49ers running back Kendall Hunter], we want to knock the f**k out of him. He has no idea what he’s in for. When he’s on the sidelines, we’ve [got to] turn that motherf**ker over, turn their coaches over, turn the spectators over, go get that motherf**ker on the sidelines.”
“We hit f**kin [49ers quarterback Alex] Smith right there (Williams points to his chin). Remember me. I’ve got the first one. I’ve got the first one (Williams rubs his fingers and thumb together in the symbol that indicates a cash payment). Go lay that motherf**ker out.”
“We’re [going to] dominate the line of scrimmage and we’re [going to] kill the f**king head. Every single one of you, before you get off that pile, affect the head. Early, affect the head. Continue, touch and hit the head.”
“We need to find out in the first two series of the game, the little wide receiver, No. 10 [49ers wide receiver/returner Kyle Williams], about his concussion. We need to put a f**king lick on him, right now. He needs to decide. He needs to f**king decide.”
“We need to decide whether [49ers wide receiver Michael] Crabtree wants to be a fake ass prima donna, or he wants to be a tough guy. We need to find it out. He becomes human when we f**king take out that outside ACL.”
“We need to decide on how many times we can beat Frank Gore’s head.”
“We need to decide on how many times we can bullrush and we can f**king put [49ers tight end] Vernon Davis’ ankles over the pile.”
“Never apologize for the way we compete.”
From these quotes, and the audio, it is clear that Williams had an intent for his players to go out and injury opposing players. When he references specific players, especially ones with injuries, that is evidence that could warrant a charge of criminal conspiracy to commit assault and battery. Even from a football standpoint, Williams blatantly crosses the line between motivating players to hit hard and be physical, and wanting to injure opposing players.
Another factor in this too, is that this is not the only occasion. This hit on then-Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, and a series of hits against then-Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (especially at the :15 second mark, when Favre gets slammed to the ground on a handoff), one has to question if Williams truly had intent to inflict harm on opposing players. These videos show that, yes he did.
There have been allegations against Williams, that say he has operated a bounty system while with other teams (in the Manning video, Williams was with the Washington Redskins at the time). Williams is already in enough hot water and faces a very real possibility of being banned for life from the NFL, and if the NFL confirms allegations of Williams operating a bounty system elsewhere and/or federal prosecutors convict him on a criminal conspiracy charge, it would be hard to not see that Williams should be banned for life from the NFL.
Bounties and the intent to inflict harm on opposing players has no place in the game of football. Though violent by design, football does not, however, warrant the actions of Williams. His punishments, which I believe are far from over, will be a warning to anyone who even thinks to do the things he has done. When the Saints’ bounty scandal is all said and done, the repercussions from it will change the NFL forever.