NFL Reinstating Gregg Williams Is Good, but He Should Never See the Sideline
If Gregg Williams' NFL reinstatement all but officially ends the drawn-out BountyGate saga, we should collectively rejoice.
No, we shouldn't rejoice simply because we've grown weary of hearing about BountyGate on television—the development was much more serious and carried more significant societal impact than any Tim Tebow or Manti Te'o narrative— it deserved extensive national attention.
However, the uncovering of the Saints' bounty program gave America a glimpse inside an already supremely vicious game and made us think twice about our insatiable desire to witness football's high-speed, super-violent collisions.
Beyond that, the way the NFL's front office handled the consequences—in a seemingly hurried and almost disorganized fashion—made the league's black eye appear even more ghastly.
BoutyGate became a downright disaster.
On Thursday, Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reported Williams' reinstatement and his new position with the Tennessee Titans:
Some may be livid.
As we learned over the past year, Williams, then the Saints' defensive coordinator, appeared to be the true ringleader of the heinous injury-incentive program.
The infamous "kill the head and the body will die" pre-game speech prior to an NFC playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers was about as chilling and purely wicked as anyone could imagine. From that, the idea of a lifetime ban from the NFL was certainly entertained by large factions of fans and media.
But everyone initially punished for their roles in the bounty program—whether their punishments were warranted or not—have been given a chance to return to the NFL.
Saints players Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith and Scott Fujita won an appeal of their suspensions in September, and former NFL commissioner-turned-Roger-Goodell-consultant Paul Taglliabue vacated all bounty-related penalties.
It's now appropriate for Williams, a man with an eternally tarnished reputation, to return to football as well.
Should Gregg Williams have been reinstated by the NFL?
I hate to speculate, but are we supposed to think Williams is the only coach who addressed his team with a candidly vile message that may have hinted at injuring the opposition?
He certainly is the only coach to have been caught, that's for sure.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, and this may seem contradictory—I'd be totally fine if Williams was banned from ever having full control of a team or defense again.
In simpler terms, if the league decides to prohibit him from becoming a head coach or defensive coordinator, I'd back that ruling.
I'm just not sure I'd ever be able to trust him inside a locker room giving impassioned lectures before a game. With the league's player-safety initiative a top priority, a stipulation stopping him from seeing the sidelines would seem to be an ideal preventative measure against any bounty-related controversy in the future.
However, if he is given free reign to pursue and ultimately get hired in any coaching role, so be it.
Williams, just like the rest of the parties involved with the inglorious Saints' bounty scandal, served his suspension, and like them, it's time for him to return to the NFL.
And it's time to put the ugly bounty scandal to rest once and for all.
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