Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams told players to injure 49ers players in a speech before the team’s postseason game.
Yahoo! Sports’ Mike Silver acquired the audio from documentary filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, who was with the team working on a project focused on former Saints special-teams ace Steve Gleason, who is suffering from ALS.
Here is a link to the audio. Warning: the audio includes explicit language: http://theusof.com/
In the speech, which came at the team hotel before the Saints’ 36-32 loss to the 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs, Williams referred to hitting 49ers QB Alex Smith under the chin and then, according to Pamphilon, rubbed his thumb against his index and middle fingers, a symbol for cash. “I got the first one. I got the first one. Go get it. Go lay that (expletive) out,” Williams said.
Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Williams indefinitely for his prominent role in the Saints’ bounty program. Williams was named the Rams' defensive coordinator earlier this offseason.
Head coach Sean Payton was suspended for one year and GM Mickey Loomis received an eight-game suspension. Payton and Loomis are reportedly having their appeals heard on Thursday. Pamphilon told Silver that neither Payton nor Loomis were in the room during the speech.
Williams used one of his signature phrases, “Kill the head, the body will die,” in his speech, often referring to 49ers RB Frank Gore as the “head.” Later on, Williams makes a reference to 49ers WR Kyle Williams’ concussions.
“We need to find out in the first two series of the game, the little wide receiver, No. 10, about his concussion,” Williams said. “We need to (expletive) put a lick on him, move him to decide. He needs to decide.”
The calls for injury did not end there, as Williams singled out 49ers WR Michael Crabtree.
“We need to decide whether Crabtree wants to be a fake-ass prima donna or he wants to be a tough guy. We need to find that out, and he becomes human when you (expletive) take out that outside ACL.”
Goodell issued a final warning to the Saints to stop the bounties one week before Williams’ speech, prior to the Saints’ first-round playoff game against the Lions. Goodell sent NFL counsel Jeff Pash and Jeff Miller, the league’s security director, to speak with Saints owner Tom Benson.
"The point was to make it clear to him that we had new and credible information that a bounty program may exist, and that he should make it extremely clear, beginning with the game the next day, that there should be no bounty system in place while our investigation continues," Goodell said last week at the owners meetings. "We do not want to put our players at risk, and that was the message."
The way we see it
The implications of this new audio are damning for many of the parties involved. Williams did not appeal and will not coach this season, but this new information could cost him his chance to ever coach in the league again. And while Payton and Loomis were not present for this speech, it happened under their watch and likely won’t help the appeals process, especially considering Goodell had given the team a warning the previous week.