Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended by the NFL for the 2012 season for his role in the Saints bounty scandal, when he was the defensive coordinator there. He was reinstated a year later, worked for the Titans in 2013 and returned to St. Louis last season.
In a recent interview with Mike Claiborne of KMOX radio in St. Louis, Williams talked about Bountygate, some of his first in-depth comments on the matter in three years.
“That was a difficult year in a lot of ways because there was a lot of information that was misinformation that got out and I’m the only person in the whole deal that never said anything,” Williams said, via Scout by way of PFT. “I never said a word. Everybody got out there and pushed their information one way or the other and I didn’t. ...
“One of the things was it was on my watch, but there was nothing that hasn’t been done in the last 50 years in the sport and there was nothing done to try to hurt somebody,” Williams continued. “There was never done with anybody trying to injure somebody. I’ve said this before, I take a look at all these high school programs, little league programs, college programs and you see the decals on the side of the helmet and you wonder, you get those decals because you shake hands and kiss after the game or you get those decals because you rushed for 100 and you threw 17 touchdown passes and you knocked the stuffing out of somebody?
“I remember over at Excelsior Springs when I’m 16 years old I had a big hit in a ballgame and all of a sudden I got a movie certificate and it wasn’t because I helped the guy up, it’s because I knocked the guy down. It’s just one of those things that we’re always trying to find little bitty advantages in sport and it was unfairly and uncharacteristically portrayed the wrong way.”
Williams, coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and several Saints players were suspended by the league for their role in Bountygate, and hours after those punishments were announced Williams, who had moved on to the Rams, issued this statement:
“I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the 'pay for performance' program while I was with the Saints," Williams said in March 2012. "It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”
A year later, former commissioner Paul Tagliabue would vacate the suspensions of those Saints' players on appeal.
The league has had a poor track record in recent appeals hearings. Both Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson had sanctions imposed by the NFL overturned through the court system, and there's the belief that should Patriots quarterback Tom Brady face suspension for whatever role he had in Deflategate, he too will pursue legal action.