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Gleason bothered that “no one seemed shocked” by Gregg Williams’ pre-game rant

GLEASON STATUE AP

When audio surfaced from a defensive meeting the night before the Saints’ postseason loss to the 49ers, much of the conversation regarding former Saints defensive back Steve Gleason — whose unique access to the team allowed the tape to be made — centered on whether his desire for discretion should have been honored by the filmmaker who captured the words of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Gleason, whose blocked punt that will echo in eternity is now memorialized in bronze outside the Superdome, now addresses the substance of the remarks in an interview with HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.

And the man whose ALS may have been caused by a career in football that entailed having his bell rung “hundreds” of times took exception to Williams’ directive to attack certain body parts of specific offensive players.

“[W]hen he specified the other players’ injuries, that to me, was over the line,” Gleason said in a rough cut of the show, which PFT obtained from HBO.

Gleason had an even bigger concern.  “The real problem was no one seemed shocked,” he said.  “There as no discussion of ‘Wow, did we just hear that?'”

And that’s the closest any current or former member of the organization has come to criticizing the manner in which the Saints conducted themselves over the past few years, allegedly or actually.

The fact that the comments come at a time when a federal judge is wrestling with the question of whether to overturn the suspensions imposed on four players for a pay-for-performance program that the league regards as a bounty system could tip the scale toward the NFL, if Judge Helen G. Berrigan currently is on the fence regarding the question of whether the crime justifies the punishment meted out by an internal process she believes was unfair.  (And before anyone expresses outrage that a judge would consider a comment made out of court and well beyond the confines of the official “record” of evidence, please remember that judges are not robots, but human beings.  Most of them, at least.)

The new episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel debuts on Tuesday, August 21 at 9:00 p.m. ET, right before the third episode of Hard Knocks.

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36 Responses to “Gleason bothered that “no one seemed shocked” by Gregg Williams’ pre-game rant”
  1. skoobyfl says: Aug 18, 2012 2:34 PM

    Yeah, that was messed up.

  2. hedleykow says: Aug 18, 2012 2:37 PM

    I was shocked by how juvenile sounding the speech was. I would have a hard time buying-in to a message that was derived from the imagination of such an obviously mentally challenged individual as Gregg Williams. Listen to the speech. It’s a joke.

  3. WestCoastVet says: Aug 18, 2012 2:38 PM

    Fans were shocked, just not players.

  4. mitchdms says: Aug 18, 2012 2:41 PM

    But if you factor in Williams’ comments, you have got to look at the Saints players’ actions. Those two things do not match up at all. They were listening to a fiery speech that is probably given in locker rooms everywhere. We can certainly guess one similar was given to Giants’ special teamers the following week based on their comments. But players clearly were not honestly going to try to cripple people. And clearly didn’t.

  5. kattykathy says: Aug 18, 2012 2:47 PM

    I have said numerous times that Greg Williams pregame pep talk was just that, a PEP TALK. I have heard worse from each of my sons high school and college coaches and as a mother I had absolutely no problem with those pre-game hype ups.

    The only people bothered by the pep talks are those wanting to get media time , Saints haters, or are clueless about the game of football. Getting your team fired up is part of the coaches pre game ritual. For those who think its an order to go kill, maim, and ignore the rules of the game are just clueless.

  6. jackers252 says: Aug 18, 2012 2:49 PM

    Players weren’t shocked because they understand locker room hyperbole.

    What would be shocking is if the players actually went through with some of those over the top comments from an over the top coordinator.

  7. stonecoldsays says: Aug 18, 2012 2:50 PM

    This is football. The three fun thing about this sports is throwing, running, or hello, hitting folks. If you are going to get sensitive about the potential injuries the please, just stop following football. Don’t ruin the game to the point where it becomes so water’ed down and that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so.

  8. SeenThisB4 says: Aug 18, 2012 2:51 PM

    Gleason never played for Williams, that’s the reason he was the only one shocked by Coach Williams’ rant. To everyone else, it was just Coach Williams’ normal mode of operation, AND NO BIG DEAL!……Unlike, and in spite of what the NFL may think.

  9. dogg91702 says: Aug 18, 2012 2:53 PM

    Great speech, I listen to it on the way to work to get psyched up for the day.

    The whole kill the head thing, no big deal,

    Kill Frank Gore’s head, have him running sideways =
    Have Gore doubt his ability to run up field, have him running to the sidelines out of bounds.

    Pop Alex Smith in the Chin = Giants have won their last 2 Super Bowls by providing pressure on the QB.

    Little 32, turn him over = He is a rookie, let him know he is in the NFL now.

    Taking out Crabtree’s ACL = Gangster Sh1t

  10. prmpft says: Aug 18, 2012 2:58 PM

    Look, I have said this here before and on multiple other sites – I heard that same speech every year I played football from kiddie ball to college.
    The only difference is playing for stupid helmet stickers vs. playing for money. No news here if you have ever been involved in football. If he was “shocked” then, except from being in the right place at the right time, he was not playing football in the real world.

  11. nineroutsider says: Aug 18, 2012 3:00 PM

    I wasn’t shocked until I heard him mention “Crabtree’s outside ACL”. That’s when it could no longer be brushed off as fiery metaphorical garbage, but actual instruction to injure. That’s why the results on the field don’t matter, a guy accused of running an injury bounty program just instructed his players to go for a guy’s ACL. Whether or not they could cause that injury is immaterial; an already violent game has no room for that garbage.

    So yeah I’m happy about what Goodell did down there and he was right to strong arm them like he did. A little excessive I suppose, but I bet we don’t see it again and that’s what matters. As the Saints know, sometimes you have to go outside of the rules to make a point. I am just surprised at the level of crying when it happens to them. Don’t develop a soft spot for these guys because of a well orchestrated PR campaign designed to appeal to your democratic sensibilities; they’re wrong and they all know it.

  12. flipx99 says: Aug 18, 2012 3:01 PM

    I think the judge can take judicial notice that Gregg Williams isn’t quite right. I am sure the players just let him rant and went on with the business of playing the game.

    SP should have taken his own advice and given the man peanut butter and sand to eat.

  13. vbe2 says: Aug 18, 2012 3:02 PM

    Gleason, whose blocked punt that will echo in eternity …
    ================================
    That might have been an important play for Saints fans and residents of New Orleans but to the rest of the world it’s a forgotten play from a forgotten game in a forgotten season.

  14. letmesetyoustraight says: Aug 18, 2012 3:23 PM

    The reason none of the players were shocked was bvecause they had heard the same type of speeches from Gregg Williams for 3 years. Gleason was shocked because he was hearing Williams for the first time as he never played for the Saints during the Williams era.

  15. captainloaded says: Aug 18, 2012 3:53 PM

    Can we see the science and studies that show football causes ALS? Statements like this should not be presented without fact. I only know of one study, and repeatedly they were called football players. But this study was based in Europe. Here, they would be known as soccer players.

  16. harryglyphics says: Aug 18, 2012 4:14 PM

    Haven’t coaches been coaxing players to knock the other guy’s block off since the beginning of time?

  17. Wisconsin77 says: Aug 18, 2012 4:17 PM

    With a DC advocating his players to inflict permanent life long brain injury on an opposing player, is it really that much of a stretch that there was a well established and used bounty program in place??

  18. brenenostler says: Aug 18, 2012 4:23 PM

    kattykathy says:
    Aug 18, 2012 2:47 PM
    I have said numerous times that Greg Williams pregame pep talk was just that, a PEP TALK. I have heard worse from each of my sons high school and college coaches and as a mother I had absolutely no problem with those pre-game hype ups.
    _____________________________

    “We need to decide if Crabtree wants to be a fake a$$ primadonna or if he wants to be human………take out that outside ACL.”

    I sincerely doubt a statement as graphic as this is just “pep talk.” I played high school football all four years and never heard any speeches like that. Never once heard “kill the head and the body will die” either.

  19. mwindle1973 says: Aug 18, 2012 4:38 PM

    Wow…that’s exactly how I felt. Where was the outrage. I’m still outraged. Yet we sit here even in a court, still arguing over semantics and due process. I’m glad we finally made it the point that a former Saint player speaks out against what was going on. Hopefully this will all be over at the end of the month. Instead of continuing to argue over pay for injury and pay for the performance. IN this instance they both are descriptions of the same thing. See to me (I’m not a court) the Williams audio is enough proof. Did you hear gasps or objections in the background? Did anyone but Gleason come out after the audio was released and say, I’m against it and I didn’t take part in it? Also I see comments saying Gleason’s blocked punt is not important to anyone outside of New Orleans. I just disagree with that statement. It’s an important moment in NFL history too.

  20. mwindle1973 says: Aug 18, 2012 4:45 PM

    captainloaded says: Aug 18, 2012 3:53 PM

    Can we see the science and studies that show football causes ALS? Statements like this should not be presented without fact. I only know of one study, and repeatedly they were called football players. But this study was based in Europe. Here, they would be known as soccer players.
    _____________________

    Well, only 10 % of ALS is genetic, and none of the ex-football players who have it got it genetically. And there is a largely disproportionate number of former NFL players who have ALS when compared to the non-NFL population. There are also the studies that do show some kind of link between brain damage and ALS. It’s kind of like arrests. Have you seen conclusive proof that NFL players are arrested more than non-NFL players? No, but we all accept that it is true.

  21. electionconfidential says: Aug 18, 2012 5:07 PM

    kattykathy says:
    Aug 18, 2012 2:47 PM
    I have said numerous times that Greg Williams pregame pep talk was just that, a PEP TALK.
    —————————————–

    This was no pep talk and it CERTAINLY wasn’t hyperbole. If you haven’t listened to the recording then you should. Williams gives a run down of players weak spots, continuously reinforces that players should be hit to the head while in the pile and have their ankles twisted in the pile etc. That’s HARDLY a pep talk. That speech was absolutely despicable.

    If I were a Saints fan the thing I’d be most angry about is that Greg Williams ONLY got the same punishment as Payton. Williams should be banned for life given the content of that speech.

  22. armorgan67 says: Aug 18, 2012 5:08 PM

    Its funny, the only ones that seem to be bothered by the speech are the ones that don’t play or never played football before. If you did speeches like that wouldn’t shock you. I played football from little league thru high school thru college and I’ve heard speeches like that before. Why do you think they don’t let microphones in the locker room? Why do you think they don’t put microphones on all players? Why do you think players and coaches don’t like being miked? Its because the language is not for everyone. I’ve heard worse on the field from opponents and my own teammates while the game is being played than what Williams said. Believe me when I tell you that if most people heard what goes on it would definitely shock them but not the players because we are used to it.

  23. jg725 says: Aug 18, 2012 5:50 PM

    Honestly – if this was any east coast, west coast, or mid-west team – they would be villified – I really think NO and the saints have played the whole katrina thing long enough already – breaking the rules – and head-hunting – is just not acceptable, regardless of brees and payton with their “aw shucks” – “we are doing this for the people of new orleans” attitude – it is still despicable behavior – and greg williams is an over-rated coach who has never received this much attention for doing something positive in his career – give me a break already – there are more “feel good” stories in the nfl than this.

  24. jg725 says: Aug 18, 2012 5:52 PM

    And btw – I played 4 years hs and 4 yrs D1 football – so don’t give me that crap about it being “part of the game”

  25. hooterdawg says: Aug 18, 2012 5:55 PM

    So now Gleason – who heavily criticized the filmaker who originally posted the audio – is damning the Saints more than the filmaker did? I guess Gleason decided that he was only going to get a sound bite by jumping on the anti-Saints bandwagon.

  26. mitchdms says: Aug 18, 2012 6:07 PM

    electionconfidential says:

    If I were a Saints fan the thing I’d be most angry about is that Greg Williams ONLY got the same punishment as Payton. Williams should be banned for life given the content of that speech.
    ——————-

    He was banned indefinitely, not the same as Payton.

    By the way, people. Williams’ remarks are not evidence of anything other than that Williams said crappy things. Come on. Two Giants players say to the media that they wanted to go after Kyle Williams’ head and got off the hook, while not a single Saints player said anything of the sort.

  27. fcs34 says: Aug 18, 2012 6:22 PM

    The bigger question is how did nobody bust out laughing listening to this pasty, old and possibly inbred tool talk tough. I mean really ? The Saints are a freakin joke.

  28. whatchutalkinabouthillis says: Aug 18, 2012 6:35 PM

    Geez is Gleason trying to get in a lifetime of opinion before he passes? This guy makes noise every other day it seems and I’m not sure what make his thoughts so legitimate.

  29. jasndc75 says: Aug 18, 2012 7:40 PM

    surprised that Gleason has spoken out.

    I’ve thought all along that he is the true whistle-blower that Goodell is trying so hard to protect from Vilma etc….

  30. beerbudsnbevo says: Aug 18, 2012 7:49 PM

    All I wanna know is Tiki Flabbergasted?

  31. purpleguy says: Aug 18, 2012 8:17 PM

    The answer is simple — players weren’t shocked because they bought into the whole thing.

  32. pftstory says: Aug 18, 2012 9:32 PM

    Some Saints players are finally starting to deny the bounty system, but like mentioned above, its an arguement of symantics.
    It is like arguing over what “is” or “alone” means.
    BUT
    Their main arguement is “Goodell has not “proven” the program existed.” Their main arguement is not, “there was no bounty program.”
    They know there was one. They know they participated. But people want Goodell to convince every fan and every two-bit sports talk host won’t believe it until they see the ALL evicence themselves.
    Why even have a comissioner?
    How does imposing these suspensions help the league if the league does not know full well the program existed?
    Williams’ speech is pretty close to enough. And we have heard much more than that.

  33. flipx99 says: Aug 19, 2012 1:40 AM

    brenenostler says:Aug 18, 2012 4:23 PM
    I played high school football all four years and never heard any speeches like that. Never once heard “kill the head and the body will die” either.
    ____________________________

    Maybe not, but if you had visited the KC Chiefs’ facility during Herm Edwards’ tenure you would have seen a sign in a defensive meeting room that read exactly that.

  34. rmdz7 says: Aug 19, 2012 11:53 AM

    Ah! The Speech Heard ‘Round the World

    “Kill the head”… part of the 180 pages of “evidence” presented by the NFL (out of 50,000 pages the NFL alleges to have) has this spreadsheet with the title “2010 Kill the Head Leaders”. The top “headkiller” was Vilma, with 50. Followed by Scott Shanle, with 48. And it goes down the list, in total, 488 “head kills”. So, according to some of you people and Roger Goddell, the Saints injured about 25% of the NFL in 2010, because that is what “kill the head” means, right? Maybe we should ask Herm Edwards and the Chiefs what does it mean, but I digress…

    An NFL roster has 53 players, 45 suit up for each game (as of 2010), a team plays 6 games against roughly the same 135 players (give or take some roster changes), 10 games against out of division rivals, and the Saints played 1 PO game, so that’sa total of 495 players… so, out of the 630 heads the Saints went against in 2010, 488 of them were killed. That’s over 10 team rosters worth of heads. Man, the humanity, what a path of destruction.

    So, do you see how silly it is to think “kill the head” means “injure”?

  35. rmdz7 says: Aug 19, 2012 12:26 PM

    Oh, forgot about the whole “bounty” thing..

    Yes, the Saints did have a money pool, one in which the got some cash for making plays (hey, they don’t allow stickers in the NFL), but also got to put cash in it if they made a dumb play or were flagged for things like illegal hits. And given the amount of money that changed hands in relation to what the players make, it can hardly be qualified as a “bounty”. A bounty is plentiful; $1000 for a guy who makes 2 mil, hardly plentiful.

    But Goddell’s PR campaign wanted to use the word “bounty”, because of the connotation it has. It has the whole “dead or alive” vibe going for itdead or alive Had he used “money pool” it wouldn’t sound as bad as he wanted it to make it sound. Then of course he went from “pay-to-injure” to “in the course of legal hits”, after he got sued for defamation.

    As for cart-offs, I guess it sounds eerie, maybe evil, to someone who doesn’t make a living out of hitting people has hard as they humanly can and getting hit as hard as their opponents humanly can, but it is just part of the whole testosterone-induced bravado of playing such a physical game. And make no mistake about it, football players will hit each other as hard as they can… they want the other player to feel the pain. Believe it or not, there is a difference between making someone feel the pain and actually trying to injure someone, like say, Jared Allen going for Schaub’s knees, or Haynesworth kicking Gurode on his helmet-less head, or Suh pounding that lineman’s head on the ground half an hour after the whistle was blown, but those are mostly exceptions.

    Make no mistake about it, whether there’s an extra $5-$15 in it for you (translated for us the poor people who don’t make $2,000,000) football players are going to hit each other as hard as they can.

  36. meldrel says: Aug 20, 2012 9:24 AM

    I’m a big fan of Steve Gleason #nowhiteflags if this is all the show is going to focus on I won’t be tuning in – surely there is more substance to his interview with Bryant Gumbel than Greg Williams pre-game speech.

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