By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Sometimes, you're too close to a situation to have proper perspective. Current and former NFL players commenting on Gregg Williams and the bounty issue is one of those cases.
A victim's family can't be the judge in court, and can't be on the jury. Neither can the defendant's family. They're too close to it, and they'll act out of emotion rather than reason. Their comments are worth hearing and reading, and certainly provide a unique perspective. They should be taken into account and acknowledged. But their passion skews their judgment.
More than a few times over the last several weeks, I've heard from several current and former NFL players that football is a violent game, violence is part of the NFL culture, and bounties have been a normal part of NFL culture for a long time. I've heard from many of the same men that it's because of this that Gregg Williams is being treated too harshly, and the situation isn't such a big deal.
No way. I'm not buying it. Its prominence and existence doesn't make it alright, and our ignorance of it isn't proof than it should continue.
I work with a few ex-NFL players at 94WIP, and I respect them all a great deal. I've heard or very own Ike Reese say that the Gregg Williams tapes shouldn't be made public, and regular people just don't understand. "This is the way the game is played. This is standard operationg procedure," Ike said on the air.
Exactly. That's the problem. Standard operating procedure is broken. This country's economy crashed and burned because of standard operating procedure. Think about all of the things that were at one time, "standard operating procedure" in this country. Than goodness we questioned them.
"It's our culture, it's the culture of professional football," Ike said.
Sometimes the culture is wrong, and sometimes the status quo needs to be changed. Just because something has been done forever doesn't mean it should be done tomorrow. Sometimes people need to be protected from themselves.
I don't know what an NFL locker room is like, that's true. And that's the point. The fact that I haven't been in a locker room gives me a better idea of what could be wrong with it. There's a risk of injury when you're an NFL player. That's what you signed up for. But I don't think anyone should be able to sign up for what Williams was doing.
Is Gregg Williams being made an example of, and most likely being punished for the crimes of many? Absolutely. Welcome to the real world, where a caught speeder on the side of the road is there, at least in part, to deter others from speeding. That's life. The ones who get caught are made an example of, in an attempt to stop it from happening again.
I was pretty sickened when I heard what Gregg Williams said in the New Orleans Saints locker room. And the fact that many players see it as alright, is one of the biggest reasons why it needs to never happen again.
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