Audio from the Saints vs. 49’ers playoff game has been released via Sean Pamphilon and Yahoo Sports. Pamphilon was present in the locker room because he was filming a documentary about former Saints player Steve Gleason, who is suffers from ALS. The audio can be found just about anywhere, but there is a text snippet here.
Upon reading the text it seems like it could be any locker room speech for any football team on any given Sunday. Coaches no only manage a game, but also act as a motivator before the players walk down the tunnel. Football is a physical game. The main point of the defense is to impose their own physical will on the other team to keep them from getting points – a will that includes hard hits. That testosterone saturated locker room feeds off of the imagery of violent acts. ‘Battle,’ ‘battlefield,’ ‘enemy,’ ‘attack.’ These are words that do not instill peaceful monk-like feelings in the players awaiting to take the field. To be put off by Williams’ violent rhetoric is wrong. What team won’t test an injury to a player – with regards to Kyle Williams, albeit it was testing a concussion? What team won’t encourage hard hitting that may wear out/down a particular player. A team will take any and all advantages it can get to win the game. And should Williams really be damned for asking a little more out of his players in trying to gain an advantage – the guy’s job is on the line every single week. Winning is the only thing in the NFL next to money.
What IS disturbing are the gestures. The pointing to the chin when referring to hitting Alex Smith is a problem. The motion of the index finger and thumb simulating cash when saying, ‘I got the first one’ is a problem. The motion to the chin is with the intent to injure. The motion of the cash is to promote the added incentive – the bounty. These are two big no no’s in the league. One is illegal per the CBA (the bounty) and one is illegal in the eyes of the league for hits with the intent to cause injury – your helmet to helmet variety. For these things it is what Williams should be damned for. After this release of audio, I doubt Williams will ever be allowed to have anything to do with the NFL ever again. Anything less would be a complete contradictory to the newly created mantra of a lawsuit filled NFL front office.
One other disturbing point is that this JUST happened. This is all but the nail in the coffin for Sean Payton’s suspension. If he wants to save any face, he should just apologize and skip the appeal process. There’s no way he can win that now with this audio being released.