Blog Entry

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:17 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 12:21 pm
Williams and Payton are in a heap of trouble. How much, exactly, will be up to Goodell. (Eye on Football Illustration/Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

It's been a busy few days for the New Orleans Saints and for all the wrong reasons. Barely two months removed from quarterback Drew Brees setting the NFL record for passing yards in season, now the organization is faced with trying to re-sign Brees and on Friday, and NFL investigation revealed that former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was complicit in creating a "pay for performance" bounty system that rewarded Saints players for injuring opponents.

Williams, now with the Rams, apologized Friday night saying, in part that, "It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
Except that New Orleans wasn't an isolated incident. At least four former Redskins players said Williams had a similar system in Washington when he was the defensive coordinator under Joe Gibbs. (On Saturday, Gibbs said he had no knowledge of it.)

The NFL, meanwhile, concluded that while current Saints head coach Sean Payton wasn't a direct participant in Williams' bounty program, he "did not make any detailed inquiry or otherwise seek to learn the facts, and failed to stop the bounty program."

So now what?

In reading through the comments, many fans want Williams suspended, some going so far as to suggest a lifetime ban. That seems extreme, but then again, "pay for performance" rewarded players for injuries. That's among the worst charges you can level against a coach or a player -- that they intentionally tried to injure opponents.  Even Steelers linebacker James Harrison, Public Enemy No. 1 when it comes to NFL violence, said in October 2010 that "I don't want to injure anybody. There's a big difference between being hurt and being injured. You get hurt, you shake it off and come back the next series or the next game. I try to hurt people."

In that sense, Williams is worse than Harrison, right? Wherever he lies on the spectrum of dirty tactics, early indications are that Williams won't be forced to miss any games. Details via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"One league source said Williams might be in line for a large fine but didn't think a suspension would be forthcoming. Then again, the source said, 'This is two strikes against him,' referring to controversial comments Williams made before Super Bowl XLIV (at the end of the 2009 season) about knocking Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning out of the game."

Thomas added: "Another source said the expectations was that Williams' fine would be in six figures — perhaps as much as $250,000 — but that head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis would be penalized more heavily."

Will the sanctions have any lasting effects on the Saints? Who knows. In the wake of Spygate in 2007, the Patriots were fined $250,000, head coach Bill Belichick was fined anther $500,000 and the team lost their 2008 first-round draft pick. They went undefeated during the 2007 regular season but didn't win a playoff game from 2008-2010, and haven't won a Super Bowl since 2005.

While we wait for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to drop the hammer, take a moment to enjoy the mock-up of the movie poster for the inevitable made-for-TV spectacle that's sure to follow. (Yes, it has to be science fiction. And, yes, in case it's not blindingly obvious: this is a joke.)

Early cast list includes Williams as Vader (the hands-on leader), Vilma a Boba Fett (the enforcer), Favre as Jar Jar Binks (because who didn't want to knock Jar Jar out?) and Payton as Jabba (in charge but less interested in details as results). Also, in case you missed it the first time: THIS IS A JOKE. (Eye on Football Illustration)

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Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2012 12:19 am

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

They should all be issued pillows at the beginning of the game.  Then it is a free for all pillow fight at the 50 yard line.

Since: Feb 10, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:59 pm

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

If Williams is Not BANNED from coaching in the NFL , then all Goodell Talk is Garbage

Gotta agree mista, Williams should be banned from football for this nonsense. Anything short of that makes Goodell's alleged stance in support of player safety appear hollow.

Since: Jul 9, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:38 pm

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

This is not cheating. Why is this news? If players hurt another player the league looks into it and they get fined more then 50k if its illegal. 

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:36 pm

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

It happens all the time--this is the NFL--the media needs to chill &stop asking for the coaches head for this--yes it is hypocrisy from the players who have been talking about how the NFL does not care about their safety but the amount of teams that don't have some sort of bounty system are in the minority

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:01 pm

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension


from what I've read Williams didn't PAY players to injure others.  The PLAYERS provided the cash.  He may very well have instituted or suggested the system (call it a wacked/evil version of baseballs kangeroo court)  but the PLAYERS are the ones that ante up.  Its not like Williams was actually paying players to do anything.  That would be worse than having the reward system itself because it would violate SALARY CAP RULES.  Ok?  Understand?  Nobody on the staff of a football team would pay players for performance, that would circumvent the salary cap.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:53 pm

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

Been trying to stay quiet; can't resist.  Sorry to be contrary.

1.  Whether paid on the side as it were in this case, or paid in their salary -- NFL players are paid to hurt other players.  You can call it hitting hard, punishing tackling, pounding running, stout blocking...  same thing.  The idea is to hit a reciever so they think twice about running routes, hitting the QB so he hears footsteps, wearing down runners, pounding on blockers and rushers...  This is football.
2.  You can argue that this is a bonus (a bounty system).  But players get bonuses, contract restructures and extensions based on hard hitting football.
3.  What this fan likes are the hits that hurt, that end careers...  that take skilled players from the opposing team out of the game.  But I like goons (enforcers) in hockey, too.  Like basketball where guys get banged up going in the paint.  I respect pitchers and hitters both claiming the plate -- brush back throws and line drives at the pitchers head, base runners who cream the guys guarding the bases and home plate.  Like to watch hard hitting, low scoring, trench battle, brawling, ugly football.  Modern version of the Roman gladiator arena (where people got hurt bad, and some died).  If you like ballet and have watched too many NFL film reels of the sport set to classical music, if the game is a thing of "beauty" to you, just follow along as the game I love is being ruined to where it won't even be recognized.

Basically I'm saying there's nothing wrong with what the Saints were doing here.  And rules against it are stupid.  Like too many other stupid rules of late.  And like the gladiators of old, which were slaves (and treated as expendable), these NFL players get paid ridiculous amounts of money in a gamble that they can survive in the game and that there lives/health may be shortened/compromised.  It is a trade-off.  Someone commented that you couldn't do this on the street.  That's the point.  Like you can't beat the crap out of someone on the street -- but you can in a boxing ring and in ultimate fighting.  AND FOOTBALL is legalized violence.  People get paid to take punishment, to inflict pain and we get to watch.

Since: Apr 29, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:49 pm

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

meant got their kicker out of the game.

Since: Apr 29, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:48 pm

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

Again it's been going on for years in the NFL. If Williams were to be banned, then you'd also need to ban other coaches, including the Steelers DC. Even, Buddy Ryan used the same thing against the Cowboys to knockout their QB and kicker. They got their kicked out of the game though. Then again, Williams might be turning in other teams. That might be a big reason why he's only getting fined as of now, and plus Fisher might not have known anything about it, when he was out of the NFL for a year. So, there's nothing new about it going on.

Since: Sep 26, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:12 pm

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

Anything short of a ban for Williams is a complete joke.  Paying players to injure other players is criminal.  If you hired someone on the street to go injure someone, you'd do time.  The Saints organization needs to be penalized as well for letting this crap go on in the first place.  Toughest team in the league after the whistle.

Since: Apr 29, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 7:26 pm

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

This 'bounty' program happens all around the league...not surprising - Damien Woody
I'm sure I have had plenty of bounties on my head - Shaun Phillips
Why is this a big deal now? Bounties been going on forever. A "Bounty" left me with a torn PCL and LCL in my knee ...- Shawn Merriman
Football is a violent game n just because someone is hit very hard (on a bounty) doesn't mean it's malicious - Chris Harris

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