Saturday, 07 April 2012 11:25
The sissifying of the NFL, the debate over Gregg Williams Saints audio
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gregg-williamsThe entire New Orleans Saints bountygate debate continues as many Saints fans are grieving, in shock and trying to claim the NFL should proceed against the rest of the teams and not just pick on New Orleans.  One of the other major themes in the discussion is whether the NFL is sissifying the game of football.

Then, there is another debate--whether the filmmaker who released the audio of Gregg Williams was appropriate and even legal?  Steve Gleason, a former Saint, who is close to the Saints and who suffers from ALS said Sean Pamphilon did not have authority to do so.

However here is a statement posted on ESPN from the filmmaker:  

"It is true that from the beginning Steve and his wife (Michel) were opposed to releasing this footage and I felt strongly that the public had a right to hear this material and judge for themselves," Pamphilon said in a statement to Yahoo! Sports. "To this end, we agreed upon a third party, a person of high character who both Steve and I trust implicitly, to mediate and advise us on the final decision. When I received a call from this person saying to release the audio 'the sooner the better,' I did just that. ..."

"The material I shot with Steve this past year was unbelievably compelling and there was no doubt this film would have been HUGE," Pamphilon continued in his statement to Yahoo! Sports. "In effect, yesterday, I gave up a sure thing, to do what myself and many other parents would consider the right thing. I feel as strongly today as I have from the beginning that the audio speaks for itself and that the public had a right to hear it."

So, who is right?  Tell us below.

If you had to take what coaches say in pregame speeches literally you'd put them in jail.

Former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert said coaches say things in pregame speeches that should stay in their building.

"When I played I knew the opposing team was trying to get me out of the game, I'm sure our defense wanted to get the opposing quarterback out so we'd have a better chance of winning. I took the hits and wanted them to know they couldn't get me out."

Hebert said he suffered nine concussions while playing, but not more than one in a season.

"Kill the head and the body will follow," has been used by coaches and players for years.

Hebert almost lost his head in a 1989 game against Tampa Bay. He was tackled hard twice with in minute and knocked senseless. He wobbled off the field with a concussion, but he had to return when backup John Fourcade was injured.
I didn't even know where I was but they didn't have anybody else who could play quarterback.  That wouldn't be allowed today..

In seven seasons with the Saints from 1985-1991, he endured four knee surgeries, eight broken ribs, nine concussions, elbow surgery, shoulder injuries and broken teeth. None of them slowed him down.

"I'm from the country,"he said, referring to his roots in tiny Cut Off, La. "I didn't know any better."

Coaches constantly point out injured players, body parts that are wrapped. There are coaches that look for limping players in warmups and then inform the players.  There was a player who was hurt who didn't appear on the injury report. The message was clear: go after the player.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants to change this mentality and he's right to do so. Maybe he'll succeed, but pro football has always been a violent sport and will continue to be.

Steve Stonebreaker, a Saints linebacker in the '60s, often told me, "You can't be normal and play this game." He ended up committing suicide.

Most of us see football on HD, and not really seeing football. We've ignored and forgotten what it takes to play the game. It requires speeches like Gregg Williams makes and sometimes acts and words we would find representable while sitting on the outside looking in.

But kill the head and the body will follow? That's pro football.

Whether we want to admit  it .......or like it.

Did you see where Jimmy Buffett wore a "Free Payton" T-shirt at a concert the other day in honor of the suspended coach. Well, what did you expect? Payton, after all, is getting to spend all of this season wasting away in Margaritville...Mark Ingram is working out in water and said his injured foot will be ready for training camp....Jimmy Kimmel: "It was opening day the other day. Remember baseball? It used to be our national pastime before Facebook"...

by Ed Staton and Bayoubuzz Staff


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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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