Just a couple of weeks ago, a scandal broke out in the NFL involving one the feel-good stories in the NFL in recent seasons, the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints found themselves wrapped up in an investigation involving former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. The reason for the investigation was based on Williams, and the Saints running a bounty, or pay-for-performance system, with their defensive players.
According to the NFL, Williams would pay his players for big hits and knocking players out of games.
During the NFL’s investigation they have uncovered that Williams, and the Saints had bounties on many players mostly quarterbacks including Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner, Brett Favre and more recently Cam Newton.
With all the information the NFL gathered during the investigation, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had has handed out some punishments to the Saints organization.
Goodell brought the hammer down hard on the Saints, as he dished out major suspensions, including head coach Sean Payton, who will be suspended the entire 2012 season without pay and Williams has been suspended indefinitely.
Some question Goodell’s punishment, saying that is too harsh, but Goodell responded to criticisms during a interview about the scandal saying, “ I don’t think you can be too hard on people who put at risk our players health and safety.”
This scandal comes at a time when the NFL, is trying it’s hardest to make the game safer, this bounty system goes entirely against what the NFL is working toward.
In view of all the controversy facing the Saints, former safety Darren Sharper came out publicly to talk about the scandal facing his former team and denies any bounty system saying, “ We played within the rules.”
This brings up the real issue at hand the difference between a big hit that is done within the rules and a hit that is brought on with the intentions of injuring another player.
I don’t mind players talking about hitting another player hard during the course of the game, but I do mind players putting money on knocking players out of a game, and jeopardizing one’s safety.
As a football fan I am all in favor of keeping players safe.
It is never worth seeing a player have a life-altering injury during a game. On the other hand, a part of football is the intense hitting. Everyone knows that hard hits draw in the fans and the ratings.
I can understand teams and players having an incentive program for big hits, because all teams thrive off big hits. Most football fans know that a solid hit can change the complexion of a game.
So even with the Saints being the focal point of this bounty scandal, I can guarantee that these bounty systems exist in many NFL locker rooms.
It is ignorant to believe this would only be going on with a single organization.