Saints coach speaks truth; the art of football requires a fight
April 12, 2012
Filed under OPINIONS
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By Josh Haywood
Recently, the New Orleans Saints have come under fire because of some things said by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. In the pregame speech before the Saints played the San Francisco 49ers, Williams specifically told Saints players to rough up several 49ers to get them out of the game. Many people seemed shocked to hear a coach saying such things–especially if you add the team’s bounty program into the equation–but purposely harming opponents is nothing new to football.
First off, you need to remember that football is by far the most violent sport on the planet. Targeting an opposing player in an attempt to take them out of the game is nothing new. I can remember in high school if my team found out an opposing player had some sort of injury, we would go out of our way to aggravate the injury. The game is war, and in war you specifically look out for weak enemies. Anyone with a knee brace or extra wrap on their body was automatically a target for extra punishment; if anything our coaches promoted us to hit players as hard as we could. This is just the nature of the game, where the most violent individuals are praised for hard hits; it is not for everybody.
In regards to Williams’ recorded speech, coaches talk like this all the time–maybe not as explicitly as Williams, but they all preach the same ideology that to hit the hardest on the field makes you a better player. Coming from a football background in both high school and college, I did not find the speech to be that radical other than the amount of expletives used. This type of speech is not limited to the realm of football. It occurs in all contact sports, such as lacrosse and wrestling, especially wrestling. Honestly, if the Saints bounty program had not existed or come out into public light, Williams’ speech would not have even showed up on the radar. Maybe it is just the fact that this type of language and behavior has become normalized in my mind, but I just do not see all the fuss over the coach just trying to hype his players up. When the game is over and the pads come off, players are able to reenter “normal” society.
The reason football appeals to many people is that it acts as a medium for violence that the average person does not have the ability to express in person. If you try to soften the image, then you will lose a large part of what attracts viewers to the game. We as humans thrive on violence; it is a drug for our body that we legally do not have the ability to use. Football, along with many other contact sports, acts as a means of supplying our body with a fix. It is not through actual physical involvement but rather through association by spectating.