Just had an intense learning experience of a curious fan seeking to understand the reasons behind the current indefinite suspension of former head coach and former defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, Greg Williams. In sum, it was a sobering and disturbing piece of audio tape, listening to his pregame words before taking the field against the 49ers in a NFC playoff game this past winter.
My interest in pro football is intimately tied to my love for the Buffalo Bills. I am not sure if I would be that much of a fan were it not for the Bills, and growing up a Bills fan. But there is always an element of doubt and even disgust with some of the ways in which the game is organized by those who own and manage the league and their teams. My disgust with the recent Bounty scandal still rocking the NFL and its reputation was solidified this morning, as I listened to the recently released audio tape of Defensive Coordinator Greg Williams addressing his players prior to taking the field against the 49ers in the conference semifinals. What was most disturbing was his use of the language of death and decapitation, his 100 percent lack of respect for the opposing players he mentioned (Smith, Gore, Crabtree), and his general tone of Mafiosa like violence as the essence of his psychological strategy to defeat (kill) the opponent through intentional brutality with deliberate and specific targetting of the players' heads. Indeed, he went so far as to specifically mention the need to see how Crabtree is doing following his recent concussion by going after his head again, as well as specific reference to his ACL as a target for attack.
I am not a fan of Greg Williams, never have been, but I never thought he was a nothing more nor less than an intellectual thug. I think putting him in that category is generous on my part.
I hope he is suspended for life, and I hope the NFL begins retraining their coaches to rethink how they strategize to win football games.
Yes, violence through blocking and tackling is part of the game, and players will contiue to be hurt. But there is no place for gratuitous violence and the promotion of "head hunting."
I hope the Bills play a different style of defense. And I hope Greg Williams does not reappear on NFL pregame shows, or as a booth analyst, making a living on a game he did his best to destroy in the name of the cult of victory "by any means necessary."