Michael Irvin, a Hall of Famer who has a reputation for saying exactly what he thinks, had some strong things to say on NFL Network in response to the audio from Gregg Williams’ speech to his players the night before the NFC playoff game between the 49ers and Saints. Warren Sapp, a likely future Hall of Famer who has a reputation for saying exactly what he thinks, hasn’t been on NFL Network very much since saying exactly what he thought about the man whom Sapp thinks “snitched” on the Saints’ bounty system. So Sapp’s reaction to the Williams’ tape came via phone interview with Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group.
“This is the most heinous, egregious thing in the history of this game,” Sapp said of Williams’ remarks. And to those who think that Williams’ comments are in some way normal, Sapp said that it’s “an anomaly . . . one in three billion.”
Here’s where it gets even more interesting. Sapp believes that one or more of the players should have stood up and said something to Williams.
“Not for one second would I sit in a room and listen to someone say, ‘We’re going to take out someone’s ACL’ without standing up and saying, ‘What the hell are you talking about?’” Sapp said. “The way you play defense isn’t about malice. It’s about putting you in fourth-and-more than you can handle.”
Sapp is right. As we said Thursday, it’s hard for assistant head coach Joe Vitt to play the “rogue coach” card when Vitt remained silent during the meetings and did nothing after the meetings to let anyone else in the organization know what was going on. Though it would take a lot more courage for a player to do something, the idea that no one said a thing means that the players either agreed with Williams, or that they believed the military-style hierarchy of a football team prevented them from doing anything other than sitting there and listening.