Soon after news broke last month that his father organized bounties in the NFL, Virginia Tech linebacker Chase Williams, through the school’s sports information office, said he would not grant any interviews during spring practice.
No matter that Williams, a redshirt sophomore, is a legitimate story in his own right. With Tariq Edwards sidelined by a leg injury and Telvion Clark dismissed from the program, this spring is his opportunity to impress coaches.
But Williams knew that no reporter worth his blog URL could resist asking about his father, Gregg, who is suspended indefinitely from the NFL for his leading role in the New Orleans Saints bounty program. Gregg Williams was the Saints’ defensive coordinator, a position he also held with the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Redskins.
Also, Gregg Williams is a former Buffalo Bills head coach. Former Redskins and Bills have told Washington and Buffalo media that bounties were paid on Williams’ watch with those teams as well.
Chase Williams and/or Tech’s staff decided he was best served avoiding questions about his father.
Given the latest revelations about Gregg Williams, perhaps delaying the inevitable was wise. Moreover, perhaps Williams never will share his thoughts and emotions on the subject.
Regardless, your heart goes out to the young man, a high school All-American from Northern Virginia who, according to Rivals.com, had other scholarship offers from Miami, West Virginia, SMU, Rice, Tulane and Marshall.
These are the sins of the father, and they appear considerable. And unfair though it may be, the son will hear about it, from rival players and fans, as long as he plays the game his father coached.
“Coached” may be the proper tense, too, after audio surfaced this week of Gregg Williams preparing the Saints’ defense for a January playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver has a detailed account of the latest, but here are two of Gregg Williams’ most damning remarks:
“Every single one of you, before you get off that pile, affect the head.”
Of Niners receiver Michael Crabtree, Gregg Williams said: “He becomes human when we take out that outside ACL.”
This from a coach and team who knew the NFL was investigating them. This from a coach who knew a documentary filmmaker, Sean Pamphilon, was in the room with cameras on.
NFL commish Roger Goodell won’t soon forgive such blatant acts, and good luck to any college or high school that wants to endure the PR headaches of employing Gregg Williams.
Let’s be clear: I never played football above the sandlots of Baltimore County. Maybe such sentiment and rewards are common in an ever-violent sport.
But talk of purposely injuring opponents, of taking away their livelihood, strikes me as offensive.
I can’t imagine where Chase Williams is emotionally. I don’t know how, or if, he can tighten his shoulder pads, snap his chinstrap and deliver the punishing blows required of a linebacker.
Here’s hoping he can, whether or not he ever answers a question about his father.
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