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Gregg Williams testified he wanted to stop bounty program, but that Vitt said no

Joe Vitt AP

The transcript has been leaked.

Sure, we’ve been trying to get it.  Not that I particularly want to read the hundreds of pages but because this is one of those very rare subjects that resides in my fairly narrow wheelhouse.  Which probably makes it more like a wheelshack.

Either way, the good news is that I haven’t had to read it yet.  The bad news is that I suspect I eventually will.

Until then, we’ll rely on the interpretation of the transcript that the Associated Press has obtained, despite the best efforts of the NFL to contain it.

The money quote, per the AP, comes from the testimony of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who claims that he tried to stop the bounty program after the 2009 season, but that assistant head coach Joe Vitt insisted that it continue.

Specifically, Vitt said that Commissioner Roger Goodell “wasn’t going to . . . tell us to . . .  stop doing what won us the Super Bowl,” and that “[t]his has been going on in the . . . National Football League forever, and it will go on here forever, when they run [me] out of there, it will still go on.”

The assertion seems more than a bit far-fetched.  Williams was the defensive coordinator, and Vitt was the linebackers coach.  Though Vitt also was the assistant head coach, Williams ran the defense.  Besides, if Williams disagreed with Vitt, Williams should have gone to head coach Sean Payton.The lengthy AP article has plenty of other nuggets from the transcript.  I’ll wait until I get the full document so that I can break it all down in context, run the various pieces of testimony through the crap filter, peel the proverbial onion, and connect the proverbial dots.  Based on what we’ve heard from folks connected to the process, there are likely bigger land mines lurking in the pages than a facially nonsensical suggestion by Williams that a guy he outranks successfully pulled rank.

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34 Responses to “Gregg Williams testified he wanted to stop bounty program, but that Vitt said no”
  1. skoobyfl says: Dec 12, 2012 11:17 PM

    It’s funny to see rats trying to leave the ship, even though they’re all going to drowned.

  2. bantry1234 says: Dec 12, 2012 11:20 PM

    You mean that bounty program that the players who just had their suspensions lifted kept saying didn’t exist? Confused.

  3. govtminion says: Dec 12, 2012 11:20 PM

    Dear Gregg,

    BULL. S***.

    Signed,

    Every NFL fan everywhere that can think.

  4. samapoc says: Dec 12, 2012 11:27 PM

    The bounty program will always exist for every defensive player: it’s called a “salary”.

  5. Dave61548 says: Dec 12, 2012 11:29 PM

    It is pretty obvious that this is a ridiculous lie by Gregg Williams, but the media screams the headline like it is truth…..just more of the same sham.

  6. eatitfanboy says: Dec 12, 2012 11:35 PM

    I wouldn’t dismiss this out of hand.

    Vitt was there before Williams by several years and was considered to be Payton’s “consigliere” who Payton leaned on for his experience (source: Wikipedia). Also, when Payton broke his leg in 2011, it was Vitt who took over, not Williams.

    And the fact is that they DID run Williams out- Vitt was there when Williams was hired and he was still there when he left town.

    So while I can’t believe I actually find myself vouching for I guy I can’t stand, I have no trouble believing that whatever their official titles were, Vitt in reality outranked Williams.

  7. dalucks says: Dec 12, 2012 11:39 PM

    Really. Let me get this right. A superior got overruled by someone who is beneath him on the totem pole. Yeah.
    For this, Greg Williams suspension should go from indefinite to permanent for being a terrible liar.

  8. giveseanpaytonhisjuicyfruit says: Dec 12, 2012 11:39 PM

    The guy speaking before the 49ers game sure didn’t sound like he wanted the program to stop

  9. iamthefootballjerk says: Dec 12, 2012 11:40 PM

    I think everyone in the Saints organization is an honest and trustworthy individual, said not me.

  10. b3nz0z says: Dec 12, 2012 11:54 PM

    the most pathetic thing in the world is when someone tries to blame a subordinate.

  11. tincansailor981 says: Dec 12, 2012 11:57 PM

    Greggggg Williams will do and say anything to get back in the league. I don’t believe a word he says for or against this sham of an investigation. If you don’t think this little tid bit wasn’t leaked purposely by ol Rog and his cronies, you should be tested.

  12. cwwgk says: Dec 13, 2012 12:04 AM

    By the time the Saints organization realized they had been caught, it didn’t know which lies to tell. Once it started to tell lies, it couldn’t remember which ones it had told.

    Tagliabue’s opinion identifies that Vilma acknowledged he wasn’t truthful to league investigators in 2010. Same for Vitt. Anthony Hargrove signed a declaration stating he was told by Vitt to deny the existence of any programs to league investigators on 2010. Now Williams claims Vitt wouldn’t let him stop the program.

    The Saints having been tripping over themselves while trying to deceive the owners, Goodell, the media and fans.

    Sad. It’s a good thing Goodell stepped in. The Saints were out of control.

  13. cliffordc05 says: Dec 13, 2012 12:19 AM

    I think we need to get Vitt and Williams into the room at the same time and have them testify or just fight it out. I honestly don’t know what to think.

  14. theguywhosaidit says: Dec 13, 2012 12:56 AM

    It’s not impossible to believe, hard to believe, but not impossible.

    Say there is an organization with a board of directors. A guy working for that board runs a facility and has subordinates who help him run it. This guy is in charge of what goes on in his facility and directs the guys he has working for him towards his and the boards goals.

    Now imagine there is someone who is on the board of directors, who also runs a division in the facility for the guy who answers to the board of directors. He does the work the board of directors as a whole directed the guy “above him” to do, working “for him.”

    Quite a conflict of interest there, it’s not far fetched to say the guy running the facility can easily be put in a poor position; by someone who has a say in what he does and/or how he does it.

    It’s completely moronic to have the assistant head coach be under a coordinator. To say the guy has the ability to run the whole team if “needed”, but can’t run anything significant otherwise. Vitt very well could have abused his title to force the issue.

  15. justintuckrule says: Dec 13, 2012 1:11 AM

    Doesn’t mean they paid for cheap shot injuries. That’s still what is lost on everyone.

  16. northeastkiller says: Dec 13, 2012 2:05 AM

    Gregg Williams crowed about having a clause in his contract that gave him complete autonomy over the defense the entire time he was in New Orleans, going so far as to call it an “FU clause.” But Joe Vitt somehow twisted his arm?

    Multiple players at every stop he’s made in the NFL, including Buffalo where he was the head coach, have said the same P4P system existed there while GW was in town. Did Joe Vitt make him do it all around the league too?

    The Niners tape. Someone call Pamphilon and make sure Joe Vitt didn’t have a gun to GW’s head in forcing him to say those things!

    Absolutely none of it is believable in the least and yet Goodell/Tagliabue say they buy it? What a joke.

  17. thraiderskin says: Dec 13, 2012 2:56 AM

    I want to say “that is hard to believe (bullsh*t).” But this whole story has taken many odd turns. I would have also told you Tagliabue overturning the player suspensions, in their entirety, to be improbable. Instead, the former commissioner has pretty much declared all NFL players to be children, beyond the scope of their own decision making, drones to their coaches orders. In fact, what I heard Tagliabue describe was, “Sweep the leg Johnny.” Fortunately this ruling simple ratifies( atleast sets precedense) that NFL players have not achieved the ability to determine right from wrong (as far as football in concerned) and only the teams can be held accountable for players decision making. I guess James Harrison can now start handing his playing fines to the Steeler’s organization, since it now can be inferred that is how they are “allowing” him to play.

    I’ve also heard several media types make military comparisons, ignoring the concept of disobeying unlawful orders. One such Media member, Freddie Coleman (ESPN) compared it to A Few Good Men, completely ignoring the fact that the two marines on trial in that MOVIE, never intended to kill their fellow jar-head, merely “train” him; the bounty Scandal was about injuring (with intent) their fellow players out of competition. So while I wish I could disbelieve this story, part of me thinks, “perhaps so.”

  18. daknight93 says: Dec 13, 2012 3:33 AM

    This country is divided red vs. blue and unfortunately the NFL is divided as well under commissioner Roger Goodell..Gregg Williams cut a deal with Roger and the league will only leak transcripts that support their claims which is one-sided with their version as Saints operating a bounty program and Goodell will never believe there was a pay for performance and as a football commissioner; he doesn’t understand the mindset of defensive coaches and the players using hardcore language in the lockerroom. The NFL is about unity, but Goodell doesn’t have a solid relationship with the players and that is sad, Taglibeu has a very open mind and was about fairness and unity…Goodell is the total opposite, sure he promotes player safety..which is great, but besides that..I know NFL fans say Saints lied, but we all have lied in our lives and no one is perfect, but did that justify suspending a head coach for a year without pay…this man has a family and children to raise, a lie leads to this over the top and insane decision, but Goodell never considered those circumstances, this is real life..Goodell never lied in his life and no one has ever lied to him..child please! what world does he live in..Goodell’s closed mind is a major issue with the fans and players.

  19. kokomike says: Dec 13, 2012 4:50 AM

    Assistant head coach with second title of linebackers coach outranks defensive coordinator by a mile. Williams threw Vitt under the bus to protect …

  20. electionconfidential says: Dec 13, 2012 5:09 AM

    Greg Williams said things that turned my stomach before the 49ers game. True, they didn’t include talk of a “bounty”, but what he said encouraged dirty football that would cause / aggravate injuries. IF there was a bounty program Williams certainly didn’t seem like a guy who would take a moral stand against it.

    I understand that there is a difference between encouraging injury and offering bounties. Bounties violate cap rules. There is also though a difference between credible people and the kind of people who said what Williams said in that locker room. He sounded like a scoundrel who would do anything to win. There’s not much reason to believe he wouldn’t also say anything to get back into the league.

    Sadly, the league appears to be writing the script for him now…

  21. rabbdogg says: Dec 13, 2012 6:06 AM

    come on people think for once…its obvious that joe vitt told the ugly truth and his testimony makes the nfl and goodell look so bad they are trying their best to discredit him ahead of the REAL transcripts getting out leaked or forced by the courts…they are piling on joe vitt way to hard…its so easy to see what goodell and tags are trying to do…

  22. JMil_ATL says: Dec 13, 2012 6:25 AM

    I’m just tired of everyone vehemently denying the fact that they had ‘something’ in place. The saints are trying/succeeding to win this thing in public perception by saying “no we didn’t”more times than the NFL says “yes you did”.

    Sorry to correlate this with a playground dispute but that is the way it is coming across to me.

  23. deep64blue says: Dec 13, 2012 6:33 AM

    Why do people have such trouble understanding that Asst Head Coach outranks everyone except the Head Coach? Vitt is Payton’s right hand man.

  24. doorharp11 says: Dec 13, 2012 6:57 AM

    So a bounty is a NFL culture issue. The teams goal is to end the career of the best player on each team just so they can get to the superbowl. So everything is tough guy talk, examples of them wanting to end the career of warner and favre. So wanting Brees injured, wanting vilma injured, wanting vitt williams and sean payton injured is tough guy talk but just do it through legal hitting. And please dont do it illegally because what they did to farve was playing within the game. Wait there were multiple late hits and more that should have been called so thats illegal… Please just hit Brees legally so hard that it ends his career than they can enjoy there superbowl win but this is tough guy talk according to mike golic and this is ok to do it thanks tagilbue i will thank you when all the stars are injured!

  25. doorharp11 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:06 AM

    These saints fans suck every single one of them. Im speaking for every NFL fan that can think! These fools will believe anything that little snake brees vilma and vitt tell them but will disregard everything williams has said. Sean payton knew what he did and he took it like a man. If this wasnt going on wouldnt the head of the house stand up and say we didnt do this. Isnt payton suppose to be the leader in all of this why isnt he up there fighting for his team… Either he was in the wrong doing bounties or he is not a good leader. You choose saints fan…

    Is peyton a leader or a coward?

  26. footballfan58 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:37 AM

    I had lost all respect for the Saint’s orgaization during this whole issue of the bounty thing. After reading this article, losing respect doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings now. They are an absolute disgrace to the NFL. It will be years before this team, the players and the coaches have any credibility. Shame on all of you!

  27. greymares says: Dec 13, 2012 7:40 AM

    do you think your interpretation that the defensive coordinator position carries more weight than the assistant head coach/linebacker coach on the New Orleans Saints, chain of command could be wrong. for example i am the head of my household.(and i have my wife’s permission to say so)

  28. rocketcrab says: Dec 13, 2012 7:41 AM

    If I’m the Saints owner [and thank God I’m not], I’d have to be thinking of clearing out the house and starting over with an entirely new coaching staff.

  29. Beezo-Doo-doo-Zippity-Bop-bop-bop says: Dec 13, 2012 8:06 AM

    Vitt outranked Williams by a very large margin. How can you be so stupid?

  30. nispikers says: Dec 13, 2012 8:12 AM

    Vitt is the only person who keeps to his story. Why is this statement by Williams coming out NOW? Vitt always said that the NFL punished the spoken word! He served his suspension. And if Williams wanted to stop it then, he could have gone about it in other ways. Williams is the one who started it.

  31. bigredscouting says: Dec 13, 2012 8:19 AM

    Of course Williams is going to say that. He has made it clear to everyone already that he will throw anyone under the bus to get back to the NFL. Vilma, now Vitt. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Goodell is pushing him to do so to save both of their rear ends.

  32. wolley08 says: Dec 13, 2012 9:48 AM

    If Gregg Williams wanted to stop the alleged bounty program but Vitt forced him to keep it, why did Williams get an indefinite suspension and Vitt only 6 games? Seems the NFL would punish Vitt more than Williams if what Williams says is true…

  33. bullwnkl985 says: Dec 13, 2012 12:18 PM

    From the very person who leaked the Gregg Williams audio before the 49ers game:

    “Filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, the whistle-blower in Thursday’s explosive story, went out of his way to exonerate Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis, while simultaneously painting Williams as a runaway freight train of ego and hubris.

    “During my time with the team, numerous sources told me that Williams used to go around bragging that he had a ‘(expletive) you’ clause in his contract — that he could basically do whatever he wanted in terms of running the defense with complete autonomy,” Pamphilon said.”

    Now, if Gregg Williams had full autonomy, even from Sean Payton himself… Why do you think he’d allow his hand to be forced by Joe Vitt???

  34. TD Hawk says: Dec 13, 2012 6:43 PM

    From Day 1, I’ve failed to see the big deal in ANY of this. The NFL isn’t swim team or debate club.

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