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Should a Football Coach Suggest Hurting Opposing Players?

Just how far should a coach go when trying to motivate his players to win?


This week, an audio tape was released in which New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was heard telling his players to “put a lick” on San Francisco 49ers receiver Kyle Williams before an important playoff game between the two clubs on January 14, 2012.

It's alleged that Gregg Williams - who has since left the Saints and moved on to the St. Louis Rams - wanted to see if Kyle Williams had lingering effects from a concussion the 49er player had experienced earlier in the season.

Williams also implored his players to "beat (running back) Frank Gore's head," and "lay out (quarterback Alex) Smith."

Filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, creating a documentary this past season about football, had access to Saints meetings, and posted the audio on his web site, then on YouTube.

We've attached the YouTube upload for you to listen to. We want to advise you: It is filled with profanity. It is explicit, vulgar and profane. We urge you to exercise caution and discretion if you decide to listen.

Football is an intensely physical game. No one denies that. But where is the line crossed; where does that intensity become violence? Is it acceptable in pro football to put "bounties" on players, hoping to knock them out of a game, as a means of winning?

We've set up a poll below. We'd like your vote. And we'd like to hear what you think in the comments.

Charles Dodgson April 08, 2012 at 11:06 PM
What a silly comment. I'm not a serial killer, but I still know it's wrong.
cjtrailer April 09, 2012 at 02:14 PM
There is no place in ANY sport for designed, premeditated violence; that should be reserved for nothing less than combat on the battlefield. One of the reasons sited for the BIG money negotiated by player agents is that an athlete's career can be ended suddenly by injury, especially in such a contact-sport as football, but it is not predicated on deliberate injury, but incidental injuries caused by large men throwing their bodies at each other. I feel the Saints' coach who urged his players to "take out" opponents, should be barred from the NFL on a life-time basis not simply a suspension.
Paul Stewart April 09, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Football is a violent sport. So are hockey, boxing, rugby and mixed martial arts... and I have been in the huddle (@ San Jose State). Either you accept going in that there will be physicality... or don't play the sport. This isn't soccer or skateboarding. Now having written that, yes, this goes on with all NFL and college FB teams... but there are light years between exhorting your 'D' to stop the other team and what the Saints did. It is reprehensible and the penalities appropriate.
Carol Gilbert April 12, 2012 at 05:39 PM
This question shouldn't even need asking!
Chess Coach April 16, 2012 at 03:03 PM
If skill can not win a game then the game is not valid. A team that "wins" by underhandedness or cheating can never have victory. Victory being the knowledge, that one has the ability to best another within a prescribed set of rules. By not staying within the bounds of the rules there is no winning for anyone. There is no contest.


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