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Gregg Williams tape may cause reluctance to do Hard Knocks

former-new-orleans-saints-defensive-coordinator-gregg-williams-allegedly-orchestrated-a-bounty Getty Images

As HBO gets closer to the June 1 date by which it wants to choose a team to appear on Hard Knocks this summer, and as NFL teams seem increasingly uninterested in participating, there’s another theory about why teams might be reluctant: Having a documentary filmmaker around didn’t work out too well for the Saints last season.

The most damning piece of information that has publicly surfaced in the Saints’ bounty scandal was the audiotape of Gregg Williams encouraging his players to injure players on the 49ers, and that audiotape only exists because the Saints agreed to give filmmaker Sean Pamphilon access to the team. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported today that at least one team has mentioned the Williams audio as a reason not to do Hard Knocks, and some teams are “paranoid” about Hard Knocks because they’re concerned that giving access to a reality show could lead to something damaging to their reputations being revealed.

Even if those coaches aren’t running a bounty program or in any other way violating any rules, they still might worry that a piece of audio or video from training camp could be misconstrued, and could cast the team or the coaches in a bad light. The last Hard Knocks revealed that Rex Ryan has a potty mouth, but some coaches could be concerned about something more serious than that.

Those concerns may be unfounded, however, because Hard Knocks has always been a partnership involving not just HBO but also NFL Films and the team involved, and HBO has granted the teams the ability to remove content they’d prefer not to get out. For instance, in August of 2001, when the Ravens were on Hard Knocks, HBO allowed team president David Modell and G.M. Ozzie Newsome to see the shows in advance. When then-Ravens coach Brian Billick had an exchange with Eagles coach Andy Reid over the poor quality of the turf at Veterans Stadium, which led to a Ravens-Eagles preseason game being canceled, HBO agreed not to show that exchange, at the Ravens’ request.

But even though coaches on Hard Knocks are told they’ll have the ability to prevent anything they say in training camp from becoming public, that doesn’t necessarily mean coaches have nothing to worry about. After all, Williams never thought his comments would become public, either. And that’s just one more thing going through the minds of coaches who are reluctant to appear on Hard Knocks.

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19 Responses to “Gregg Williams tape may cause reluctance to do Hard Knocks”
  1. maxvv says: May 25, 2012 7:15 PM

    Why not just require *every* team to do Hard Knocks every year? The show might not be able to go as deep into the stories of rookies, journeymen and training camp cuts, but getting to shift from team to team across the league each week would be fascinating.

    I’m sure the Rog wouldn’t mind getting some more eyes and ears into team affairs either.

  2. morgan420 says: May 25, 2012 7:20 PM

    I wouldn’t allow them access to my teams faculties with cameras and microphones I think its a stupid pointless idea HBO is just trying to find easy profit

  3. jealst says: May 25, 2012 7:22 PM

    Teams don’t want to do it because ALL coaches talk similar to Gregg Williams and don’t want to be exposed to the fans that think coaches say “Alright, guys, let’s go get ‘em! Go team!”

  4. kingcarlbanks says: May 25, 2012 7:24 PM

    I hope “Captain Heat” has been saving his pennies, he won’t be able to work in the concession stand at Pop Warner games..

  5. saintsfan26 says: May 25, 2012 7:32 PM

    I dont blame Gregg Williams for just talking football, preparing his men for battle, and just not giving a **** what he says or what anybody thinks about him.

    I blame the knee-jerk reaction by the media, the NFL, and the public for attacking Gregg Williams and the Saints. Was GW’s speech over the top for the public? Yes. But this wasnt meant for the public. This type of stuff gets said in lockerooms all the time. Its trash talk. Its not classy at all but its not supposed to be.

    But since the pencil-pushing pansy public had to open their big mouths and cry about it, now this is what you all get. Nobody wants to do Hard Knocks now. Because stuff like this gets said all over the league. GW is not the only one. You are kidding yourselves if you think he is. GW is just the scapegoat for an ulterior motive.

    Goodell is making a strong point that yes he wants this type of mentality to stop in the NFL. The Saints have taken the worst penalties ever in the history of the league, and we are doing it for everybody. Taking the fall for everybody. You all got a memo. We got the hammer. So we take the fall, but we are not down. The New Orleans Saints are the class of the NFL. Nothing, i repeat, NOTHING, will break our spirit or the love we have for our Saints. Who Dat for life!

    The NFL promotes, advertises, and profits off of injuries, hard hits, etc.. Gregg Williams is a product of the NFL.

  6. knowerofallthings says: May 25, 2012 8:09 PM

    The Greg Williams audio had nothing whatsoever to do with Hard Knocks. Reaching a little too far on this one

  7. monkeyhateclean says: May 25, 2012 8:41 PM

    How much does HBO pay for this? Because unless I was running a team that had absolutely no intent of doing anything but drafting Matt Barkley #1 next year, I would never consider letting their film crews anywhere near my training camp.

    HK showed the Jets to be the league’s laughing stock, but it was their choice to let HBO in, and show them as the idiot blowhards they are.

    As fun as it would be to force the Jets to be HBO’s HK team every year, and remain the NFL’s clown franchise, why would any team be willingly take the distraction and the humiliation?

  8. commonsensedude says: May 25, 2012 8:43 PM

    It’s pretty simple, actually. Just don’t employ anyone who is stupid enough to do something that will get them in serious trouble AND THEN TALK ABOUT IT ON CAMERA!

    It’s really not that hard to avoid knowingly incriminating yourself on camera when you know the camera is recording your every word.

  9. arizonapetdoctor says: May 25, 2012 8:50 PM

    @saintsfan26 “preparing his men for battle”?

    It is this kind of delusion which gives fans and players (not just saints fans or players) a bad name, in the mold of a Kellen Winslow. Everyone on PFT understands that the fans of the Saints believe that they are being unfairly persecuted, whether they are right or wrong is yet to be determined. However, the fact that apparently you consider a football game a war does nothing to bolster your argument. It is a disservice to actual soliders who are putting their lives in harms way so we have the freedoms to say what we want on the internet (without worry of retribution, other than from another smart-ass fan), drink our beers and watch football without the concerns of the restaurant or bar which we are at blowing up. While I understand the ocntext of your argument, please try to be more respectful of actual soliders and realistic of what is truly important in life.

  10. Deb says: May 25, 2012 8:51 PM

    I once went ballistic after discovering a coworker accessing my articles-in-progress through a back door in the system. No one needs to see how I work and what my thought processes are. They pay me for the finished product. Maybe the coaches feel the same way. It doesn’t have anything to do with Williams. It’s about being able to focus on their work–not the people looking over their shoulder–while they prepare for the season. If you know you’re being filmed, a part of you will always be playing for the cameras instead of being yourself. You can’t do your best work like that.

  11. crabboil says: May 25, 2012 9:07 PM

    And STILL no mention of the fact that the Gregg Williams tape was edited short and no one talks about the last 15 secs where he urges the team to play a clean game…

  12. saintsfan26 says: May 25, 2012 9:13 PM

    @arizonapetdoctor:

    Dont blame me bro. The NFL advertises it that way.

  13. kodakinvegas says: May 25, 2012 9:20 PM

    One crew member with a big mouth and you’re dead. HBO might have an agreement, but John Schmuck the set up is always looking afro buck. No Cameras. Repeat. NO CAMERAS. Shame on you now if you get busted for something. Saints learned and paid for a JARD KNOCK lesson

  14. zn0rseman says: May 25, 2012 10:05 PM

    Why, do they pay to take out the ACL’s and ankles of their own players?

  15. trojan33sc says: May 25, 2012 11:45 PM

    I”m in agreement with the NFL teams, screw “Hard Knocks” and protect the team, Anything could be misconstrued and blown out of proportion. Someone even farts while on film and “The GODell” will throw down lightning bolts from above.

  16. piemasteruk says: May 26, 2012 2:11 AM

    Don’t blame them in the slightest. Hard Knocks is turning into a hell of a lot of cons and not many pros.

  17. nbaraie says: May 26, 2012 8:58 AM

    I like the show, but if the same 4 teams are the only ones that want to do it, then this show is doomed.

  18. thedr70 says: May 26, 2012 9:24 AM

    As a fan I am riveted by Hard Knocks but if I were part of the coaching staff or front office of a team I would tell them to keep their show as far away as possible. The risks far outweigh the advantages of this for a team. There is no justification to think that teams should be willing to do it because “they should have nothing to hide”. That is such a stupid argument. I bet most of the population would object to having a camera follow you around work for a few weeks regardless of your line of work.

  19. larryjames836 says: May 28, 2012 3:12 AM

    saintsfans26; You are right New Orleans Saints did take the fall for the other 31 teams in the NFL and they all knows that this why we are the better team. We going to show them all come Feb. 2013, when we take the Super Bowl Championship. Goodell and no one else going to stop the WHODATNATION we have a point to prove.

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