Thursday, April 5, 2012

Disturbing audio of Gregg Williams’ “Bounty Speech” released

image I won’t embed the profanity-laced media, but you can click the link and hear a heavily edited audio recording of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ speech to his players before the 49ers game in last season’s playoffs.

In the 3-1/2 minute recording, Williams talks about “killing the head,” specifically referencing 49er running back Frank Gore; and mentions “little number 32,” apparently referencing running back and kick return specialist Kendall Hunter. A few moments later in the recording, Williams mentions quarterback Alex Smith, encouraging the team to ‘kill the [expletive] head.”

The recording was made my documentary film maker Sean Pamphilon, who was working on a movie about former Saints player Steve Gleason. Gleason suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease. Some researchers have linked repeated concussions to the onset of ALS or a form of encephalopathy that mimics ALS (this research is not without controversy).

Head injuries are a major focus of the league’s ongoing safety crusade, so Williams’ repeated encouragement to “kill the head” is disturbing. Football is a violent sport, but the violence of the impact is supposed to be incidental, not intentional.

The Bounty Scandal led to fines and suspensions of the Saints’ head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and Williams himself. Loomis’ suspension is for eight games. Payton’s suspension is for the entire 2012 season.

Williams has been suspended “indefinitely,” and is unlikely to ever coach football again.

UPDATE: @BustedCoverage has a link to the full 12-minute version.

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