Joe Vitt: Gregg Williams offered rewards to players for taking out opposing coaches’ knees
Just when you thought the allegations from the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal could not get any crazier, we get a further glimpse into just how carried away former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams may have gotten. On Monday, The Times-Picayune obtained a copy of assistant coach Joe Vitt’s Dec. 3 bounty appeals hearing testimony in front of NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. It was quite revealing.
During Vitt’s testimony, he categorized Williams as someone who has a tendency to exaggerate but insisted the players and coaches knew of his “schtick” and “false bravado” and rarely took him seriously. Vitt said that Williams not only offered to reward players for injuring opposing players, but that he also offered to pay them if they intentionally knocked down or took out the knees of opposing coaches who were standing on the sidelines.
Vitt said that he made sure the players knew such behavior would not be tolerated, and that no one on the team ever took Williams up on his ridiculous offer.
“If our players went out and performed what came out of Gregg Williams’ mouth, and it went from his lips to their ears, and then it went to the performance, we would have people in jail right now ma’am,” Vitt told NFL attorney Mary Jo White. “We would have people in jail right now.”
When you listen to some of the audio from Williams talking to his defense before a playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers, you get a sense of what Vitt is talking about. The details of who participated in the bounty system and to what extent will likely always remain foggy, but it’s pretty obvious that Williams was the driving force behind much of it.
H/T Eye on Football