While members of the New Orleans Saints are appealing their suspensions over a pay-for-pain bounty program to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today, an incriminating audio tape has surfaced of former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams purportedly targeting San Francisco 49ers players.
The audio tape, Yahoo’s Mike Silver reported, was recorded by Sean Pamphilion, a filmmaker who is working on a documentary about Steve Gleason, the former Saints player who has ALS. In a 4-minute clip, which Pamphilion says was recorded at the team’s hotel in San Francisco before the playoff game in January, Williams names specific players and repeats his mantra, “Kill the head and the body will die.”
Among Williams’s comments: (full NSFW audio can be heard here.)
“Kill Frank Gore’s head.”
On Kendall Hunter: “Little 32, we want to knock the [expletive] out of him.”
“Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head. ... Touch and hit the head.”
On Kyle Williams, who has a history of concussions: “We need to find out in the first two series of the game, the little wide receiver, No. 10, about his concussion. We need to [expletive] put a lick on him right now. “
On Michael Crabtree: “We need to decide whether Crabtree wants to be a fake [expletive] prima donna, or he wants to be a tough guy. We need to find it out. He becomes human when we [expletive] take out that outside ACL [sic]. We need to decide on how many times we can beat Frank Gore’s head. We need to decide how many times we can bullrush and we can [expletive] put Vernon Davis’s ankles over the pile.
At one point during his speech, Williams gestured that there would be financial rewards for big hits, Pamphilion told Mike Silver. “At one point Williams says, ‘We hit [expletive] Smith [quarterback Alex Smith] right there’ – then he points under his chin [and continues] – ‘remember me.’ Then he rubs his thumb against his index and middle fingers – the cash sign – and says, ‘I got the first one. I got the first one. Go get it. Go lay that [expletive] out.’ ”
There have been claims by multiple players, like the Niners’ Carlos Rogers, downplaying the use of bounty systems and coachspeak. Hugh Douglas said as much on ESPN, Ross Tucker tweeted: “If Williams really made ‘cash’ symbol referencing $ that is obviously huge problem. Everything else fairly common.”
After a three-year investigation by the league, Williams was suspended indefinitely by Goodell; he has not appealed the decision. Saints Coach Sean Payton was suspended for a year, General Manager Mickey Loomis for eight games and linebackers coach Joe Vitt for six.
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