NFL Owes St. Louis Rams an Apology ... and More

By Greg Archuleta

New Orleans Saints fans’ ire toward NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is misguided. It’s the St. Louis Rams fans who should be demanding Goodell’s business suit on a platter.

This is what we heard on Jan. 16, 2012: The St. Louis Rams have hired Gregg Williams as their new defensive coordinator.

This is what we should have heard that day: The NFL has blocked the Rams’ hiring of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams pending an investigation into a possible illegal practice by Williams.

The NFL owes the St. Louis Rams – whether it’s a draft pick or some other kind of compensation – perhaps Goodell can install himself as their interim defensive coordinator.

The troubling part of the NFL investigation into the Saints’ bounty program that allegedly took place from 2009-11 is that the league had to have known that Williams was at least part of the investigation long before the Rams hired him on Jan. 16.

So now, an innocent franchise is being punished because the NFL didn’t say a word. Whether the league needed to wait to make a bigger impact or had some other reason, that doesn’t justify its silence when Rams coach Jeff Fisher made the move.

Even a behind-closed-doors “buyer-beware” message would’ve been nice.

Now, Fisher and the Rams are scrambling to make up for the loss of Williams. Fisher has said the Rams likely will have to cover Williams’ duties in house partly because of the uncertainty of the length of Williams’ “indefinite” suspension.

St. Louis, one of the franchises that needs all the help it can get, may be short-handed during the 2012 season.

Fisher has taken the high road on the matter, saying the Rams organization understood the NFL’s decision and would proceed accordingly. He or someone higher in the St. Louis organization should’ve burned that road and demanded compensation from the NFL.

Instead of suspending Saints coach Sean Payton for the season, maybe the only solution should’ve been for Goodell to force Payton to serve as a Rams assistant in 2012.

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