The New Orleans Saints former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is guilty of running a bounty program in New Orleans from the 2009-11 seasons. There is definitive evidence of this, and players received money based on their willingness to hurt and maim opposing players.
However, until this point, there has never been any audio recordings or real evidence to be reviewed by the public. Now there is. In an audio recording broken by Yahoo!, Gregg Williams is heard saying numerous horrible things about how best to injure and take out key offensive players of the San Francisco 49ers, including players with an injury past. Most notably, he told his players to target receiver Kyle Williams, a player who had a concussion history. He specifically instructed his players to target the head of Williams, and see if he could take the ‘licks’.
The interesting thing here is that there is no mention of monetary rewards for these injuries. You can specifically take out bounties from this, and realize that in this particular audio clip, there is no mention of bounties, only how injuries could help the team to win. However, there is no doubt that Roger Goodell would not look kindly on these sorts of statements, as he has made it clear time and time again that his number one priority as commissioner of the NFL is player safety.
This news also comes at an interesting time for the Saints, as they are having numerous persons sentences appealed, most notably Sean Payton’s 16 game suspension. This doesn’t bode well for them. I think that the NFL probably has already heard this clip, and taken it into account, so it won’t necessarily affect the sentences of those individuals from New Orleans. However, now that the public has greater knowledge of the events and actual things that happened in the Saints locker room before their playoff game with the 49ers, weeks after the NFL notified the Saints that they were re-opening the investigation into bounty rumors, Goodell has no choice but to not reduce the suspensions. It is obvious that Payton had extensive knowledge of what was going on, as this speech took place in his very own lockerroom, yet he did nothing to stop it. The boldness to continue this type of speech AFTER the NFL notified them of the reopening of the investigation is mind boggling. I have no doubt the commissioner will continue to crack down on the Saints.