published Monday, March 5th, 2012

Wiedmer: Roger Goodell needs to hit the Saints hard for the good of the NFL

Get Gregg Williams out of the NFL. Now. If not yesterday. Take his "pay for pain" bounty plan to injure opposing pro football players during his years coaching the New Orleans Saints defense and ban him from the league for the entire 2012 season.

Without pay.

Without time off for better behavior.

Without any hope of appeal.

If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is really serious about cleaning up the NFL, of doing something more than placing a Band-Aid on a compound fracture, he needs to make an unmistakable example of Williams and all who looked the other way, including Saints head coach Sean Payton.

And he needs to do it now, this week, before the nation's news outlets get so caught up in March Madness that they forget current Atlanta Falcons defensive back Coy Wire's description of Williams' actions when he played for him in Buffalo: "Malicious intent."

Here's malicious intent, and the Tennessee Titans -- for whom Williams once worked as a defensive coordinator under former coach Jeff Fisher during the team's 1999 run to the Super Bowl -- were his victims this past season:

During a Week 14 win over the Titans in Nashville, Saints safety Roman Harper was fined $22,500 by the league for a helmet-to-helmet quarterback hit and an unnecessary roughness hit on receiver Damian Williams.

Yet Williams' reaction immediately after the game was as follows:

"If that guy doesn't want his head tore off, duck. Because that's how were playing."

And this is clearly what's wrong with the league, if not the sport in general. Tennessee's Malik Jackson uttered similar words during his first season in Knoxville after transferring in from Southern Cal. Former UT defensive coordinator and current LSU "D" boss John Chavis loves to say, "We want them to know we were here."

But it's not just the Vols or the Saints or the other teams where Williams has worked. It's the game, and the way too many of us -- many of my media brethren included -- have for far too long glorified the violence over the well-excuted open-field tackle or the perfect block.

Look, you're pretty much 100 percent certain to become injured by accident in the NFL. To have somebody knowingly attempt to increase those odds through a bounty system must be stopped and stopped immediately.

But just in case Goodell goes soft, there is some evidence that the American judicial system won't.

A Reuters news service story on Sunday evening recalled that in 2000, Canadian prosecutors brought assault charges against Boston Bruins hockey player Marty McSorley for smashing the Vancouver Canucks' Donald Brashear in the head with a hockey. McSorley was sentenced to 18 months probation and banned from playing during the probation.

Paul Callan -- a former New York City prosecutor -- also told Reuters that if bounties were paid for games played outside a team's home state -- as the Saints-Titans game was -- interstate phone calls, computer use and travel could trigger federal charges ranging from wire fraud, to conspiracy to racketeering. Tax evasion charges would also be possible if the bounties weren't reported to the IRS.

Certainly there is a kind of perverse, dark humor in knowing a team called the Saints was involved in such thuggish, goon-like behavior. Next thing you know we'll find out disgraced figure skater Tanya Harding has re-surfaced as their cheerleader coach.

Beyond that, after watching the Saints in their playoff loss to San Francisco, perhaps they should pay more for tackles than vicious hits.

But there is nothing remotely humorous about this story. If this type of behavior isn't severely dealt with by Goodell, we'll soon see a player carted off in a body bag.

Or as Wire told the Buffalo News over the weekend: "Goodell has to make an example of this. All that we know now with brain trauma and head injuries, this isn't just about taking players out of the game. Significant changes have to be made to protect our players. A precedent has to be set now; otherwise [Goodell] condones it."

In a way, we've all condoned it, if not encouraged it. And that may be the thing that needs to change the most.

Because there's a lot of truth in that at old line about all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Argue all you want about this just being part of the game, but paying for injuries is about as evil as it gets.

about Mark Wiedmer...

Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...

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NOLADATps said...

Strong Mr. Roger Godell, I am very much ashame of you as MR NFL!! Let's start with the 4/5 yrs. of NFL NE Patriots cheating!! Who really won the SuperBowl against NE...I would have remove all the SB Rings & given them to the team the were playing. What about all my e-mails about how hard other teams were making it a point to hurt PRO NFL PLAYERS...Are we a bit confused here? Remember, a New Orleans true FAN & PLAYER do not take part to put another NFL PLAYER in a wheelchair or worse dead. You talk such crap, I would really like for you to MAN-UP!!! Stop you bully crap!!! How many times were the REFS standing 2 inches away-NO FLAGS to the visting team ever against NOLA SAINTS. THe New Oreleans SAINTS have taken more hits & crap. So let's talk about this CRAP!!! NE-How many years did they cheat? Denver? What happen with that? Oh! Right they pulled the TRUMP CARD on the NFL & reminded all of the NFL BOARD that NE are the worse cheaters in the NFL!!! GET A LIFE & practice what you preach MR. ROGER GODELL, I guess it depends on who's paying the REFS & YOU!! I am so ashamed of the actions of all the fighting, tatoos, long hair dreid locks. It is so shameful. I have children that are very much going in every direction in sports, I do not want them to think that you MR. ROGER GOODELL is a upstanding human. Are you of the Jewish Faith, because if you are; I am done, from one to another. All of you, reporters & commentors such be ashamed. Do you actually know how many USA National Anthem's were not shown on TV!!! RIGHT COUNT THEM!!! Just in case learn the damn words. I have a Father, Brother, Brother-in-law & many friends that have served to protect YOU & ME, still until this date MARCH 5, 2012. SHAME ON YOU!!! GET A LIFE, becuase this is crap & I am sure this has been going on for a long time, but Greg Willams brought it to NOLA!!! MAKE NO MISTAKE OF THAT.. If anyone is offended, too bad.. Does PATRICK TIULLMAN MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU PEOPLE!! HE GAVE UP THE NFL TO SERVE & PROTECT!!! SHAME... What a total disappointment that you grown men are. Do you really look in the mirror everyday & say you are all good men? NFL, ESPN, FOX SPORTS, MR. ROGER GOODELL YOU ALL SUCH KNOW ME FROM MY e-mails... JUST TO LET YOU KNOW I AM A married female that when the team started..age 12. I married a wonderful MAN from San Jose, CA...we are not by any chance idiots!!! So please do not insult me by any means..the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS are the NICEST TEAM IN THE ENTIRE NFL! NO CONFUSION.


March 5, 2012 at 6:55 a.m.
NOLADATps said...


Then ehat happened with the Denver Bronco's....YES, let's go back to NE!! Good for them.

Stop this bullcrap!! Who are you people, not AMERICANS that's for sure. Let's not forget that TOMMY BRADY is not the nest QB...I guess Drew Brees showed that to him...and excuse me this is the 2nd time that my New Orleans home grown man out put NE to shame again that make 2 times. So shove that down your throat.

March 5, 2012 at 7:51 a.m.
NOLADATps said...

StrongMark Wiedmer as I read you nice suggestion about my New Orleans SAINTS, do you not look at the past 11 NFL SEASONS are you just being very unpofessional. Because you are out of line dear!!

Who the heck do you think you are. Read the injuries that occured to my NOLA FLAGS ever to the team we played, so guess what behave or just be very still.

March 5, 2012 at 8:04 a.m.
Livn4life said...

Here's what bums me out; officials know what illegal, hard hits, ones notably intended to harm the other player. They should immediately take action when they see it and throw the person out who is doing it. I see so many fluff personal foul calls and then almost nothing on some which look to be intended for major hurt. If this was enforced by officials and followed by quick suspensions without pay, it would get the attention of habitual offenders. But no, we have the powerful players' union and a host of other players' rights factors. If extra money was given to anyone offering incentive to do major and permanent harm to opposition, a strong message needs to be sent to prevent this in the future. That goes for any and all teams involved. I am all for hard, clean hits. They are part of the game. It is ridiculous the "protect the qb" lame rules which makes it almost a penalty to touch certain ones. But the integrity of the game is gone when an intent is encouraged that leads to major injuries. This is a sad revelation no matter who on here think "that is all part of the game."

March 5, 2012 at 9:52 a.m.
NOLADATps said...

Livin4life, you are correct the way the NFL REFS have played the I cannot see is really bad. NFL is looking like the NHL.. All the punching, pushing...the thing that makes me really angry is that one player get punished to the hilt, but the other player was not seen. It's called BLIND. I have send emails 3 times a day ro all the NFL Channels & Roger Goodell. It's alljust a bunch of crap. The only people that changed the NFL is Roger Goodell and al the board members. They should be accounted for their actions. Let's not forget how many SAINT players and my other Pro Players were hurt very bad last season.. As I stated in every e-mail walk the talk, and stop the slap on the hand punishment. Put the player out for the season without pay.. They make enough monet to live without pay.

March 6, 2012 at 4:29 a.m.
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