On Gregg Williams, NFL culture and killing the head

Bill Haber/Associated Press - New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was already suspended from the NFL indefinitely when audio of him encouraging players to go after another’s ACL, and “kill Frank Gore’s head” was released.

You probably think football means owning a fantasy league team, don’t you? You probably sit in your Barcalounger in October and channel surf until somebody scores a touchdown. You have no idea what happens in reality on Sundays. Because if you did, you wouldn’t be such a girly man when it came to Gregg Williams and bounties on NFL players.

If you knew this game, you would hear last week’s released audio of Williams jacking up his New Orleans Saints defense — telling them to “take out that outside ACL” of Michael Crabtree and “do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head” — and you wouldn’t be wincing with shock like you just got clotheslined yourself.

No, you would be Bill Romanowski on 10 Red Bulls, ready to disembowel anyone your coach asked you to.

If you knew what it was like to be a part of Chinstrap Nation, you would know Sean Pamphilon is a pansy cake. You would know the documentary filmmaker who recorded Williams targeting 49ers players before this past January’s playoff game — and then in a fit of social conscience released the footage for what he says is the betterment of America’s children — probably never played a single down in his life. He doesn’t know football. And if he did, he’d be a punter.

People who played or know the game know Williams was speaking metaphorically, that he didn’t really mean for anyone to go out and take out someone’s ACL or test another player’s concussion. All you leftist social engineers out there will say he was targeting specific body parts on players, that he was actually offering to pay the first fine for a violent, illegal hit to quarterback Alex Smith’s chin — and more if any player was carried off on a stretcher.

Okay, so what if he was? This is football, people, not the lingerie league. And you don’t know football.

Neither do Warren Sapp, Michael Irvin and Boomer Esiason. Not anymore. Those former players just came out against Williams’ rah-rah, f-bomb-laden address to his players. You think Williams should be serving an indefinite suspension Commissioner Roger Goodell leveled him with while just decimating the Saints’ franchise? Us headhunters wish Sam Huff would pile-drive all three back to 1955.

After hearing the audio, Irvin said Williams should never coach again. Sapp called it the “most heinous, egregious thing in the history of this game.”

But in our bizarro world, it’s worse to snitch than promote taking away our coworkers’ livelihoods, because this is football.

We’re so tough, rugged and warped about our game, we actually think it’s worse to tell on someone who’s maliciously trying to injure our co-workers than our supervisors actually giving us cash bounties to take away those livelihoods. We’re sick. We’re twisted. And we will do anything to preserve the violence that is the lifeblood of our game.

Because if you appalled-for-society people get your way, you just redefined what we believed our game was about. And we can’t have that. We will protect our search-and-destroy values like we will protect our children. That’s how stubborn and dumb some of us are; that’s how much the toll of being hit upside the head too much has taken on us.

Like we said, this is football, not badminton. And if you don’t like it you can sue.

Mark Rypien did. The former Redskins Super Bowl-winning quarterback is now the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the league, the same league that gave him his glory. Chinstrap Nation disavows him now too; big baby — he should have known how dangerous this game was before he suited up.

Oh, you can tell us there are now 55 pending concussion-related lawsuits against the NFL — lawsuits, according to NFLConcussionLitigation.com, that encompass more than 1,000 former players, many of whom claim the league withheld information about brain injuries.

You can even make a case that these players and their attorneys now have compelling audio of a former coach telling his players to “Kill the head and the body will die,” and that Williams sounds a hell of a lot more literal than figurative.

We know that neural pathologists in 2002 discovered a brain syndrome caused by repeated head trauma called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). And we know these doctors have examined at least 12 NFL brains that came up with the CTE condition. We even know these pathologists present compelling evidence that the brain can only take so much trauma before it goes bad — and these players’ brains went bad.

We know some, like Dave Duerson, committed suicide, ensuring he shot himself in the chest so he could donate his screwed-up head to science. We know others, like Hall of Famer Mike Webster, died of a heart attack — at age 50.

CTE, researchers say, is linked to emotional loss of control, depression, memory loss and, over time, dementia. That’s what they say, anyway.

What a crock. It’s all part of a propaganda machine designed to take hard-hitting, real men like Gregg Williams out of the game and give it over to the twinkle toes on offense.

Some like that coward of a filmmaker suggest Williams didn’t have the gumption to go out and do the damage himself, much less absorb the pain he wanted inflicted by his players. One of his former players, LaVar Arrington, wrote that he suspected Williams was bullied when he was young and this was his way of getting back.

Some say he’s just another wanna-be George Patton who settled on being an overpaid gym teacher instead.

Bull. We believe he was paid to coach a violent game and he did what he had to do to survive. Like soldiers, firemen and police officers in this country, he went into battle every week.

After all, even if he never went to battle against an actual fire, criminal or insurgent in Iraq’s Anbar Province — what he did for a living was really entertainment-based and not life and death — he still had to figure how to stop Kurt Warner and Brett Favre. And in Chinstrap Nation that’s, like, the same thing, right?

We don’t hear a coach who went too far. We hear the audio of a man’s man. And anybody who thinks different is a pansy cake like Pamphilon.

Hit somebody! And when he doesn’t get up, move ‘em. Or plant ’em. This is football, son. We go to war here.

Or at least we think we do.

For Mike Wise’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/wise.

 
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