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Report: Gregg Williams rejects requests to testify in bounty appeal

Greg Williams AP

We learned last weekend, via Chris Mortensen of ESPN, that the bounty appeal hearings conducted by former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will consume several days, making them look more like a courtroom proceeding than the cursory “you’ll get nothing and like it” protocol that the NFL had intended to employ with Commissioner Roger Goodell presiding over the case.

But the question continues to be who will — and who won’t — testify.

CBS has reported that former Saints assistant Mike Cerullo will participate.  His testimony becomes critical in light of his sworn statement and his email to the league office from last November, which dusted off a cold case and set the entire bounty process in motion.

But CBS reports that, while the players involved in the bounty appeal have been told that former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will testify, Williams has “rejected repeated overtures to do so and continues to do so.”

There’s an easy solution to the problem.  The NFL needs to tell Williams that he’ll participate, or he’ll never coach or consult or have any connection of any kind to the NFL again.

Already, Williams will have a hard time ever coaching again in the NFL, given the content of a sworn statement that fairly can be characterized as tattling on one of his players, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma.  Right or wrong, plenty of NFL players will neither trust Williams nor have any respect for him.

But it’s believed that Gregg Williams will, once his suspension ends, become a consultant for the Rams, studying film and working on game plans away from the locker room and the practice field.  The league, which expressly has conditioned his reinstatement on the extent to which he cooperates with future proceedings, needs to simply tell Williams that, if he doesn’t testify, he’ll never be reinstated.

And Tagliabue needs to tell the NFL that, if Williams isn’t compelled to appear, his sworn statement will be regarded as inadmissible and irrelevant.

While no proceeding of this nature entails subpoena power, the NFL has the ability to force its employees to cooperate, or risk consequences to their jobs.  If the NFL chooses not to use that power over Williams, the league should be prevented from using any of the evidence he has provided.

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30 Responses to “Report: Gregg Williams rejects requests to testify in bounty appeal”
  1. schrutebeetfarms says: Nov 17, 2012 10:04 AM

    If they force Williams to testify doesn’t that sort of hurt the credibility of whatever he says? Testifying under duress it would seem would eventually help the players when this all eventually ends up in a real court.

  2. fuglyflorio says: Nov 17, 2012 10:05 AM

    It’s amazing that this drags on and on.

  3. franktherat96 says: Nov 17, 2012 10:12 AM

    schrutebeetfarms says:
    Nov 17, 2012 10:04 AM
    If they force Williams to testify doesn’t that sort of hurt the credibility of whatever he says? Testifying under duress it would seem would eventually help the players when this all eventually ends up in a real court.

    ______________________

    I find that it hurts his credibility that he is not testifying. Whats he afraid of? If what he has been saying is true, is he afraid of actually being cross examined by the NFLPA/Vilma’s Lawyer. The only way it wouldn’t have hurt him is if he willingly testifed, but the fact that he has denied multiple request to testify tells, at least me, that something is not right.

  4. cush2push says: Nov 17, 2012 10:16 AM

    I find it hard for the NFL to win this case they could force Williams to testify but whose to say he’ll flip the script on the comish

  5. robf2010 says: Nov 17, 2012 10:21 AM

    The NFL has ZERO untainted, unchallenged, credible evidence. Their witnesses, including Williams, are all dismissed and disgruntled employees with axes to grind. Their video evidence shows nothing and their documentary evidence is worthless.

    THE NFL, not the players, should drop this thing.

  6. winskins says: Nov 17, 2012 10:32 AM

    Maybe he thinks that by refusing to testify, Williams undermines any evidence with his name on it, and makes the players’ case stronger.

    Refusing may be the only way left open to him to restore his credibility with the players. Seems to me that would matter more to him than what Goodell wants.

  7. allen227 says: Nov 17, 2012 10:33 AM

    The guilty usually do.

  8. cwwgk says: Nov 17, 2012 10:35 AM

    If Williams won’t testify Tagliabue should not consider Williams’ statements when ruling on the appeals. Although by now there’s plenty of corroborating evidence that it wouldn’t make much difference.

    Three of the players have confirmed to Goodell the existence of, and their participation in, the program as detailed by Williams in his statements. The identical program the NFL has been alleging all along. Vilma also admitted to it in Judge Berrigan’s courtroom. Fujita didn’t participate but had full knowledge of it and did nothing to stop it. All the while a defensive captain and a player representative in league negotiations claiming an interest in player safety. Hargrove also admitted to lying to league investigators.

    The program rewarded players for cart offs and knock outs if, and only if, an opposing player was injured. Vilma, Fujita, Smith and Hargrove admitted this defining fact. An airtight case for the league even without any evidence from Gregg Williams. End of story.

    Suspensions upheld.

  9. irishnativeson says: Nov 17, 2012 11:14 AM

    I’m no particular fan of Mr. Williams, however. IMHO, there is a wide swath of grey area here. Althought the “proceeding” doesn’t possess the power of subpoena and stands as a “self regulatory organization” the inherent nature of being compelled to testify, under threat of banishment implies that the “regulatory organization” although not technically a state entity, holds the distinct position of “governing body” with authority of permanent condemnation, thereby assuming authority of the state. Why does the sworn statement not carry the weight of it’s origination? As stated in the article, Williams, it seems, has few options and fewer friends.

  10. ernie ernie says: Nov 17, 2012 11:16 AM

    By Williams not wanting to testify, it means he knows the truth and the NFL, who he already testified under oath too, also knows what that truth is and the reason for the suspensions.
    I’ve believed all along the NFL had 2 credible witnesses. If they had only one, maybe they pass or give out hand slaps, but with two, telling the same story, that makes the case solid.

    Look, with all the power the NFL has, they would not have done this without hard core irrefutable evidence. Stupid they aren’t!

  11. alimog70 says: Nov 17, 2012 11:24 AM

    The program rewarded players for cart offs and knock outs if, and only if, an opposing player was injured. Vilma, Fujita, Smith and Hargrove admitted this defining fact. An airtight case for the league even without any evidence from Gregg Williams. End of story.
    —-
    Actually, the truth is exactly the opposite of this. Everyone involved has denied time and time again, to anyone who will listen, that any money was paid to injure other players. They have denied it in the press, and seceral have denied it in sworn affadavits in Vilma’s court case.

  12. chicagobtech says: Nov 17, 2012 11:32 AM

    Why is Williams not coming into the NFL Court? He’s worried what he says will be used against him in civil court.

  13. thefiesty1 says: Nov 17, 2012 11:34 AM

    Testify or be banned for life. Humm, looks like he made his choice. Bye, bye.

  14. aintasinner says: Nov 17, 2012 11:37 AM

    3 players DID NOT admit to a bounty program nor did Vilma. That’s why there is a hearing. That’s why suspensions were overturned. Where do some of you get your info?

  15. ejmat2 says: Nov 17, 2012 11:38 AM

    This is what cracks me up about the whole situation. Gregg Williams already admitted it. Sean Payton took “full responsibility”. Yet there are still questions out there that it happened quite simply because of the difficulty of actually proving it. According to Gregg Williams and Sean Payton it happened. Need I say more?

    As for Williams not wanting to testify basically tells me he doesn’t want to be the lone scapegoat for tattling. Personally I hope he never coaches or has anything to do in the NFL anymore. That in itself will be enough. The guy openly admitted he was going after QBs even before the superbowl. Yet, Goodell and the league allowed it to happen. Goodell should be investigated as well as some of the refs.

  16. asseenonokra says: Nov 17, 2012 11:45 AM

    Cerullo’s and William’s sworn testimonies conflict with each other. There are no credible witnesses, no evidence, no real reason to continue with this nonsense, etc..

  17. caliksworld says: Nov 17, 2012 11:47 AM

    Why would he want to testify? It’s lose-lose essentially. He testifies, he likely loses the trust and respect of any players he hopes to coach or consult with in the future. Teams will likely be shy of taking on someone who players won’t work with or respect. If he doesn’t testify his career is essentially over, with the League making it difficult for him to continue on any team going forward.

  18. realitypolice says: Nov 17, 2012 11:48 AM

    A coerced witness is not a credible witness.

  19. bigbadal21 says: Nov 17, 2012 12:29 PM

    Did New Orleans do something wrong? Yes. Was the punishment too severe? Maybe. But to flap your jaws and say they did nothing wrong causes your credibility to suffer. This whole case is based on semantics. The NFL called it a bounty and the players and coaches called it a pay for performance. Either term is against the rules. Like watergate the NFL feels that the attempt to coverup and deceive was a huge part of the problem. The players and coaches only have themselves to blame and that is for 2 basic reasons. They were asked to stop and did not and they tried to lie their way out of the situation. You have to consider that the speech that Williams gave about taking out knees and etc. happened after they were warned.

  20. goodellgate says: Nov 17, 2012 12:31 PM

    ***ernie ernie says:
    Nov 17, 2012 11:16 AM
    I’ve believed all along the NFL had 2 credible witnesses. If they had only one, maybe they pass or give out hand slaps, but with two, telling the same story, that makes the case solid.***

    You’re not credible when you’ve been caught lying before, and they’re not telling the same story, which make the case a sham.

  21. rockthered1286 says: Nov 17, 2012 12:39 PM

    And just when you think the conspiracy theorists have simmered down, another bounty gate article pops up…

  22. melikefootball says: Nov 17, 2012 12:40 PM

    This the NFL not Sears…he should be forced to confess I mean, testify or be held in contempt.

  23. davekezer says: Nov 17, 2012 12:46 PM

    To quote my dude John Hammond: “I really hate that man.”

  24. mcwest1 says: Nov 17, 2012 12:53 PM

    “While no proceeding of this nature entails subpoena power, the NFL has the ability to force its employees to cooperate, or risk consequences to their jobs. If the NFL chooses not to use that power over Williams, the league should be prevented from using any of the evidence he has provided.”

    Does Williams have employee status while indefinitely suspended? If not, he would have to be reinstated before he could be made to testify.

  25. lawyermalloy says: Nov 17, 2012 1:09 PM

    “There’s an easy solution to the problem. The NFL needs to tell Williams that he’ll participate, or he’ll never coach or consult or have any connection of any kind to the NFL again”

    On the contrary, they told him if he DOES testify he won’t coach again in the NFL!

  26. texvike says: Nov 17, 2012 6:14 PM

    On further thought no need for your testimony Mr Williams, Court Reporter please play the tape.

  27. gadgetdawg says: Nov 17, 2012 6:29 PM

    While no proceeding of this nature entails subpoena power, the NFL has the ability to force its employees to cooperate, or risk consequences to their jobs. If the NFL chooses not to use that power over Williams, the league should be prevented from using any of the evidence he has provided
    ——————————–

    So the great idea here is coercion or blacklisting? Neither have a very good track record but for some reason people think it will work great this time! Sad.

  28. stealthjunk says: Nov 17, 2012 6:56 PM

    Why would the NFL force him to testify though? There’s no benefit for them — they already have his sworn statement/email as you point out. So “forcing” him to confront the accused would just give the players a chance to discredit him. In other words, don’t hold your breath for the NFL to “force” Williams or anyone else who accused the players to testify.

  29. koenig61 says: Nov 17, 2012 8:14 PM

    So you threaten Williams, if you don’t cooperate, you can never coach or have anything to do with the NFL again. Hmmmm and with this sort of threat, how are we to believe anything Williams says in testimony? Why he dare say anything against Goodell or recant his prior statements? Part of me thinks originally Williams said and did what he had to, to keep any SLIM hope of ever coaching in the NFL ever again. And I don’t blame him, coaching is his life and its the only thing he knows. Survival instincts kick in. But based on the fact that Goodell hasn’t produced this MOUNTAIN of evidence he supposedly has, I’m not so,sure without Williams testimony saying their was a bounty program, Goodell has much evidence other than the saints had a pay for performance program as many NFL teams had.

    Williams is in a now in situation. He doesn’t testify, Goodell probably never allows him to coach again. If he does testify and says what Goodell wants him to say, no player will ever trust Williams or want to play for him.

    Goodell created this mess by doing what he’s been doing since he became commissioner. He over reacted. As with vendetta against James Harrison, making him the poster child for dirty hits, and the excessive fines against fenders for every single borderline hit. I’m all for Goodells initiative for safety, it’s his overreacting to everything, and going way to far. But then he’s worried about future lawsuits, so he’s more concerned with that.

  30. genericuser8888 says: Nov 18, 2012 2:42 AM

    Cerullo’s and Williams’ sworn affidavits contradict each other. If Williams’ shows up, the players get a chance to cross-examine BOTH witnesses (instead of just Curello). In ca cross-examination of conflicting witnesses, one of them will almost always look less credible than the other. For the NFL, it’s safer if Williams doesn’t show up. You can’t cross examine a piece of paper.

    By the way, Vilma admitted to a pay for performance program. In his interview with the commissioner though, he was asked point blank by the league’s “unbiased” lawyer Mary-Jo White if players were paid for plays in which other players were injured. Vilma made it very, very clear that if an opposing player was injured on a play that no one on the Saints team received any money for that play.

    Payton said he didn’t mess with the defensive side of the team, didn’t know about the bounties, but that he should have been more involved. He wrote a little “apology” for the league which basically says “bounties are bad”. “bounties will never happen again”. “I take responsibility for bad things”. But, if you read it carefully, it NEVER actually said “I knew about bounties, and I let them go on.” Basically, the league forced him to write an apology and keep his mouth shut if he wanted to be able to coach again. The “apology” was written to read like an acceptance of guilt and meet the league’s needs, but if you read it carefully, it never actually admits anything.

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