Listening to the Greg Williams rant yesterday, recorded the night before the Saints vs. 49ers playoff game, stirred many emotions as a San Francisco 49ers fan. First, I saw only the text from the audio recorded by documentary filmmaker Sean Pamphilon. Just the text was repulsing enough and then later in the day I heard the audio recording for the first time. Shock is a subtle word to describe the reaction felt when listening to the audio.
It goes without saying the NFL is a violent sport and us as fans do enjoy the hard hits in addition to the big plays and action on the field. However had Jim Harbaugh or defensive coordinator Vic Fangio been recorded saying the exact same thing, the 49ers Faithful would be up in arms and disgusted. I hope Who Dat Nation feels the same way. There have been numerous players, current and former, who have voiced their opinions about the audio recording. The few who voiced their support for Williams all basically said this is the tone of pregame speeches in all locker rooms. But no one has defended Williams’ call to injure players in specific areas, nor should they.
If you take out all the parts where Williams calls for players to be injured in specific areas, this would be your normal rah-rah speech. But the call to injure players is blatantly clear. When you throw in the fact the Saints were previously warned to stop their bounty system and told before the playoffs started they were being investigated for it, shows the stupidity of allowing the speech to happen, let alone to be recorded with your knowledge.
Throughout Bounty Gate the only connection for the 49ers to the scandal was through divisional rivals St. Louis Rams. The Rams and new head coach Jeff Fisher hired Williams in the off-season as defensive coordinator. Now the scandal has hit home for the San Francisco 49ers and the 49ers Faithful with the audio of Williams calling for injuries to players. Getting specific like to take out Michael Crabtree’s ACL, Vernon Davis’ ankles, go after Kyle Williams’ concussion, Frank Gore’s head and hit Alex Smith in the chin. The Rams will be without Williams in 2012 who is facing a season long suspension. Williams used to be considered one of the top defensive coordinators in the NFL. After the release of the audio recording there is a chance Williams may never coach in the NFL again.
The irony in all of this is none of the 49ers players targeted were seriously injured and the only players knocked out of the game came from the Saints sideline. Who can forget Donte Whitner‘s crushing hit on Pierre Thomas in the divisional round playoff game?