Williams' strategy and Saints' appeals

The New Orleans Saints' Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt won the potential for financial relief after appealing their bounty-related punishments to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The bulk of their appeals failed, however, affirming Gregg Williams' strategy as the right one for his situation.

Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams, decided against appealing, and for good reason:

  • The contrition factor: Williams was the brashest and most flagrant violator of NFL rules. His eventual reinstatement depends upon the sincerity of his contrition. Appealing the commissioner's decision would have sent the wrong message on that front.

  • Suspension length: The league handed down well-defined suspensions to Payton, Loomis and Vitt. Williams was suspended indefinitely. It would be tougher to appeal "indefinitely" than to appeal a set amount of games. The commissioner had already said he would review Williams' case following the 2012 season. Shortening that time frame would have been unrealistic. If and when Williams does return, he'll do so most effectively between seasons.

The best strategy for Williams will be to keep a low profile in the short term, cooperate fully with any future investigations and, eventually, to publicly explain the error of his ways.

Williams, though widely scorned at this point, will have opportunities to redefine himself through outreach programs and charitable works. Sports figures routinely draw from their own mistakes in advising others to take different paths.

This will be a tough transition for Williams, with no guarantees for success. His decision against appealing marked a small step in the right direction.