Content warning: this story contains graphic language both in print and audio. Discretion is advised.
Some shocking audio has surfaced today allegedly of suspended Saints coach Gregg Williams. In it, he can be heard instructing his players to target and “kill” the heads of opposing players, as well as injure them in other ways.
The audio is apparently from the Saints’ locker room before the divisional playoff game against the 49ers last year. It was captured by documentary filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, who was present working on a different project. Pamphilon uploaded part of the audio to YouTube (content warning for language):
Deadspin has quotes from the audio:
“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.”
“Kill the head and the body will die. Kill the head and the body will die.”
“We hit fuckin’ Smith right there”—[points to chin]–-’remember me.’ I got the first one. I got the first one.—[rubs fingers together indicating cash]—Go lay that mother fucker out.”
“Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head. Early, affect the head. Continue to touch and affect the head.”
“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 fuckin’ put a lick on him.”
Williams, Head Coach Sean Payton, and team GM Mickey Loomis were all suspended after the NFL found Williams was running a bounty program for hard hits on opposing players. Williams was suspended the longest — indefinitely — with Payton receiving a one year suspension and Loomis being barred for part of the season.
Pamphilon, who posted the entire audio on his website, spoke to Yahoo about the audio. Pamphilon recalls the speech and says it was a clear indication of a bounty program, especially considering what Williams said about 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.
“At one point Williams says, ‘We hit [expletive] 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,’” he explained.
The audio could be especially damning considering the NFL’s recent focus on protecting players from head injuries. Deadspin explains:
There’s no way a league that professes to be proactive about head trauma can do anything other than blackball Williams. It would have been one thing (and just as cruel) if Williams had restricted himself to targeting Vernon Davis’s ankle and Michael Crabtree’s ACL, but the brain has become sacred. So even if similar bounties are offered by other teams. Just like the Saints’ true crime was in getting caught, Gregg Williams only signed his death warrant when his words were caught on tape.
The irony in all this? In the audio, Williams can be heard saying “Never apologize for the way we compete,” and “If you’re in this room, you understand that. We don’t apologize.”
As soon as the story first broke earlier this year, Williams said he was “truly sorry.”
This is a breaking story. Updates will be added.