The good, bad and ugly

Saturday, April 7, 2012

People want to know, but Jack Nicholson already explained it --- "You can't handle the truth."

It's like eating a stadium hot dog. You don't want to know what's in it, God no. It tastes delicious, that's all you care about. People don't want the curtain pulled back. You don't want to see the kitchen of the diner you go to every week. Nobody wants to have their favorite things ruined by all the nasty, disgusting hidden secrets of how things really work. Keep us in the dark, after all, ignorance is bliss.

GOOD: Peyton Manning must be happy, finally off the radar. After what seemed like a month of detailing his every move, he's no longer topic No. 1. He's got a new $96 million contract and is breaking down film right now, off the grid. Nobody's happier than Manning about the Gregg Williams audio tape. Which brings us to...

BAD: This Gregg Williams thing is now out of hand. An audio tape has been released of Williams talking to the Saints defense the night before the Divisional playoff game versus San Francisco, explaining his "game plan" involving targeting Frank Gore's head and getting good hits on players with previous concussions.

It was like something out of a movie, or maybe just my imagination. This is the type of thing where people need to be kept in the dark.

Because he's caught red-handed on tape, there's not a lot of defending, but Gregg Williams was a top defensive coordinator in the league. To think this doesn't happen in the NFL, at least on good defenses, is incredibly naive. He's motivating his team by speaking a language that may be grotesque and disgusting to fans, but is the language of top-notch defensive NFL players.

Again, this is better off being something everybody thinks probably goes on, but it's never been confirmed so it must not be true. Like steroids and "greenies" in baseball. Like eating chicken and drinking beer in the clubhouse. Like any of the confidential "locker room" material that goes on with every team in every league.

People don't want to know what's really being said in locker rooms across the NFL or knowing what motivates players. They just want to enjoy the game. Watch them smash heads every Sunday, and cheer for the exact things Gregg Williams was telling his players. Just like the hot dog, who cares what goes into it, it's just too good.

Williams was already suspended indefinitely but now could face a multiple-year or lifetime ban. An example will be made in the name of player safety, once again.

UGLY: The way evidence against Williams was obtained is what I find unseemly. While the arrogance of Williams is a major factor, having someone not affiliated with the team recording a Saturday night meeting is out of bounds. Maybe this filmmaker, Sean Pamphilon, was the NFL's source that brought the initial charges against the Saints.

They say Williams knew this guy was recording the meeting, and if so, that's an example of his arrogance. But if there was a camera there, where's the video? Maybe he's got it, but this filmmaker compromised himself, the former Saints player he was filming (Steve Gleason, who is battling ALS), the league and everyone else by releasing the audio.

Gleason said in a statement he "trusted Sean Pamphilon" and "nothing can be released without my explicit approval. I did not approve the public release of any recording."

The filmmaker thinks he's doing everyone a service. He said in a statement he feels deeply "parents of children who play football MUST pay attention to the influence of men who will sacrifice their kids for W's." I agree with this statement 100 percent.....but I certainly hope he's not talking about the NFL. "Kids" don't play NFL football. Men play NFL football, and like their sons, parents know what they've signed up for. And they probably signed for millions.

Gregg Williams can't force anyone to try and intentionally injure another player. But he can preach it, give out payments, and create a culture. And such is life in the NFL --- and that's the ugly truth.

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