Professional football is beautiful and violent. For every spiral flung deep downfield by a strong-armed quarterback and snared by a graceful wide receiver, there’s a horrific hit delivered by a menacing safety.
For every dazzling run, there’s a pulverizing wallop administered by a rugged linebacker. For every hold-your-breath kickoff or punt return, there’s a defender waiting to lay a wicked lick.
This is what’s at the core of football, and it’s precisely what makes the NFL so exciting and appealing for fans.
Then there’s the case of Gregg Williams, a long-time NFL defensive coordinator, who admitted ordering bounties when employed by the New Orleans Saints.
The most recent story that surfaced was a long hotel room rant by Williams the day before the Saints were to meet the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC divisional playoff game last season. In it Williams implored players to intentionally injure wide receiver Michael Crabtree, running back Frank Gore, quarterback Alex Smith and tight end Vernon Davis.
It’s one thing to make a tackle; it’s altogether different when your goal is to hurt Crabtree, who was coming off a surgically repaired knee.
Williams said Crabtree “becomes human when you [expletive]take out that outside’’ ligament.
With regard to Gore, an All-Pro, Williams said, “we’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways.”
Dating back three years, an investigation revealed Williams had cash bounties on Minnesota’s quarterback Brett Favre, Arizona’s Kurt Warner, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, and Carolina’s Cam Newton.
The bounties paid $1,000 when a player was carted off the field, and $1,500 when he was knocked out.
Properly, Williams has been suspended indefinitely by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Though drastic, it would serve Williams right to never step foot on a field again.