New Orleans Saints Face FBI Investigation, But Coach Gregg Williams is Innocent
Louisiana state police and the FBI are investigating whether the New Orleans Saints set up general manager Mickey Loomis' booth in the Superdome so he could listen in on opposing coaches. Anonymous sources described a setup that would have allowed the general manager to eavesdrop on opponents from 2002-2004.
The alleged actions would violate NFL rules, and potentially state and federal laws. Loomis and the Saints have called the allegations "1,000 percent false."
The scandal comes as the team is embroiled in controversy. Several weeks ago, audio of former defensive coach of the New Orleans Saints Gregg Williams was released, capturing Williams speaking to his players about upcoming games, exhorting them to play a certain style.
The reaction was immediate and widespread. ESPN ran a segment titled: "Should Gregg Williams be banned for life?" Pundits and critics focused in on his message. He told his defensive players to look for their opponents' weaknesses such as ACLs or recently concussed brains, and go after them.
My opinion on this is pretty simple. Gregg Williams was just keeping it real. Gregg Williams is the NFL, and the NFL is Gregg Williams. As he states: "This is a production business." If the opposing player gets injured, that's business. The NFL has made billions off the violence and danger inherent in its sport.
Up until very recently, the NFL itself released videos entitled "NFL's Greatest Hits" which ran hours of unending bone-crushing blows. If one were to go back and review how the recipients of those hits are doing now, I would bet their health is not good.
"Bounty-Gate," as this episode is now being called, has put the hypocrisy of the NFL and its fans front and center. Gregg Williams is not guilty of anything more than vocalizing what everyone in every NFL locker room is thinking. In many ways, the NFL is more dangerous and violent than the UFC or boxing. In those combat sports, the competitors are braced for contact, and are defending themselves. The moment they become defenseless, the fight is stopped. In the NFL, the blind-side hit is one of the most exciting play in sports. (Recent rule changes have made this less frequent, but they still happen).
To all of you calling for Gregg Williams' head, get real. This is a production business, and hurting the opponent is productive in the NFL.