It’s difficult to determine who is more unprepared to deal with St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ inquiry about the steps toward reinstatement – Williams or everyone else?
Williams reportedly has advisers in contact with high-ranking NFL officials to what to do during his suspension to aid his cause after being banished for conducting the Saints’ bounty program. The wisdom of those advisers, however, could come into question if none of them said the following:
His infamous speech as the New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator prior to last year’s playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers that was made public just a couple of weeks ago still lingers in the stream of NFL fans consciousness. The chilling words about hurting selected 49ers by trying to reinjure previous ailments – including concussions – still haunt us; it’s the public who hasn’t enough time to heal.
The fact that neither Williams nor his “advisers” realize that is troubling.
An NFL.com report likened Williams’ case to that of Michael Vick. It said that “the suspended person is advised to keep a low profile until the stage where he is volunteering and beginning the public component of the process.”
The reported indicated that parties in such cases could go through an NFL-monitored process and earn reinstatement.
Vick, after all, is the product of a miraculous public relations campaign that earned his reinstatement into civilization, let alone the NFL, after his dogfighting scandal.
Vick, however, lost more than his job. He went to jail, and paid his proverbial debt to society.
Williams, whose cruelty falls a notch below that of Vick, hasn’t suffered any loss beyond employment. An ESPN.com article noted that Williams did apologize for his role in the bounty program after his suspension, accepted all responsibility for his actions and pledged “to do what it takes to earn back the respect he has lost.”
While the sentiment is admirable, he can’t possibly think he can earn that respect overnight. The fact that he made that speech knowing that he was being recorded speaks volumes about how unaware he was about his malicious thought process.
That can’t be rehabilitated in two weeks. It’s hard to believe that’s enough time for Williams to realize how warped his competitive mind was. If the average person was recorded saying Williams’ comments, therapy would be recommended and it wouldn’t be a stretch to consider a year of rehabilitation as an appropriate amount of time.
Right now, it sounds as if Williams is trying to rehabilitate his reputation to earn reinstatement, not because he recognizes how wrong his speech was.
The other red flag that Williams is nowhere ready to start working toward reinstatement lies in the fact that he and his handlers actually were asking the NFL what he should do.
Williams’ advisers should have been the ones to present an action plan to the NFL – that included some sort of long-term counseling or education on the effects of multiple concussions and the like.
I’m still of the opinion that Williams no longer should be allowed to coach, ever, but if Vick can earn reinstatement, then it’s reasonable to assume Williams will, too.
But Williams is not ready; neither is the general public. The NFL should understand that.