While a league source said Dunbar, who has since signed with the St. Louis Rams, and Harper are unlikely to be subjected to disciplinary measures, the revelation was considered significant because the league viewed it as additional evidence of a bounty system that was the focus of a three-year investigation.
However, two NFL Players Association sources strongly disputed that characterization, defining a "whack" hit as a forceful yet clean and legal play by a defender, and thus a "pay-for-performance" issue that is a far less severe violation of league rules.
"A 'whack' hit isn't a hit that injures a player," insisted one defender who played for the Saints during Williams' three-year tenure as coordinator. "It's the equivalent of a 'pancake' for an offensive lineman – a clean hit that knocks a defender on his ass. Everyone who knows Gregg knows what that means."