As more and more information comes out regarding ‘Bountygate’, we came up with some of the determinations and decisions that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will have to face and then impose on the cast of characters and organization who were involved in this whole ‘Pay for Play’ operation.
First, however I want to address all of the football purists out there who say things like, “It’s just part of the game.” Or “Teams have been involved with some sort of ‘Pay for Play’ scheme for decades!” Unfortunately, these comments are totally true, except for one minor detail. It’s wrong and more importantly, illegal.
In fact, the league continues to come out with new ways, every year, to protect players from injury. From what a defensive back can and cannot do to the quarterback, to what a cornerback or safety cannot do to a ‘defenseless’ receiver, Roger Goodell has gone out of his way to find ways to lessen the brutality that professional football can inspire.
This whole ‘Bountygate’ conspiracy, which has now been documented, has been going on within the Saints organization for 3 years now and, with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams at the helm, took place for another 3 years in Washington with the Redskins as well. Was Williams the first to institute this barbaric type of defensive schemes? Probably not. Should he be the last one to orchestrate and authorize such a devious plot against opposing players? Absolutely!
So how will that come to pass? What does the Commissioner have to do to stop or at best minimize these types of prolific and horrific covert actions of other coordinators and/or coaches? He needs to draw a line in the sand and instill a zero tolerance policy for any actions even remotely similar to what was just uncovered by the NFL legal authorities in New Orleans.
Given the actions taken by Goodell after the now infamous ‘Spygate” ordeal a few years back, it’s originator, Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and the New England Patriots $250,000. Clearly, ‘Spygate’ was in no way as serious a conspiracy as ‘Bountygate’ because no one was targeted for injury. Given those penalties, this is what the commissioner has to do in order to send his true message of zero tolerance:
Headcoach Sean Payton: $1M He might not have orchestrated the plan but he knew about it and let it continue under his watch.
Owner Tom Benson: $500,000 If you’re thinking he should receive some leniency because after being made aware of this situation he approached General Manager Mickey Loomis and asked him to put a stop to this, then you do not know how to run a business. When something as abhorrent and serious as a ‘Pay for Play’ rule is instituted in your organization, you don’t “ask” your G.M. to stop it. You call a meeting with everyone under your employ and you say, “This stops today!!” If I hear or see that it hasn’t, those individuals will be fired immediately!” That’s what a concerned profesional owner does. Benson didn’t.
General Manager Mickey Loomis– $500,000 This is the man who not only was aware of what was happening, but had every opportunity to stop it after being requested to so by his boss, owner Tom Benson, but decided to look the other way. What example did he set?
Linebacker Jonathan Vilma– Suspension for 6 games. This is a seasoned veteran who should know better. Instead he put up $10,000 for anyone that would hit Brett Favre hard enough to knock him out of a game. The combination of money and lack of playing time would hurt him where it would do the most damage. In society, it’s a felony to pay someone to hurt, maim, or kill another person(s), so why should it be legal in the NFL?
Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams– Suspension from the league for 2 seasons without pay. Seems harsh does it? Well, when you break it down he would realize a 1 year suspension for the three years he practiced this form of ‘paid violence’ in Washington, and 1 year for the three years he did this in New Orleans. Not sure, but with this type of punishment, Williams probably will never do this again…if he’s ever hired again. Ah, but he said he was sorry…well, as ESPN’s Michael Kay’s Dad always said, “Sorrys don’t fix the wheel.”
New Orleans Saints– It would not be unreasonable for the commissioner to punish the franchise by taking away their 1st and perhaps even their 2nd round draft picks in this years NFL draft. The team has hurt their franchise and the NFL. Now it’s time for the Saints to pay for their transgressions.
Roger Goodell and the National Football League have been given a collective black eye in all this controversy. That black eye needs to heal and heal quickly. A slap on the wrist won’t cut it given the offense that was instituted in this case. Bounty hunting, paying someone or a group of people to hurt or injure others purposely , is illegal in sports and in society. It took long enough for this practice to surface and be uncovered. Nip it in the bud Commissioner so it will have less of a chance to reek its ugly head a second time.
Darren Sharper (on denying that players ever intentionality to injure opponents in an interview with NFL.com): ” “I think this is something that, from when I got in the league in 1997, has happened thousands and thousands of times over,” Sharper said about payments among players for big plays. “It’s ridiculous that someone is trying to say that we made bounties on knocking guys out, when basically all it was is that when a guy gets an interception, then he might get paid. That’s something that guys do amongst themselves.” and read http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/sports/football/former-jets-player-calls-bounties-inmates-governing-themselves.html?_r=1
Ok so the Saint’s are going to be punished. I get it and completely understand. But I want to clear this up, the bounties were there to encourage better playing, not promote injuries. The money they would have made for a “knockout” would be nothing compared to the fine they would receive from the NFL, and along with that there would be a 15 yard penalty and possible ejection/suspension if the hit was unclean. How on earth is this good for the player/team? Read the article. Also, if a player is injured due to a clean hit, that is no one but the NFL’s fault. To say it was worse that spygate is a joke. The football players and coaches are not evil or stupid, a couple thousand dollars is nothing compared to the NFL fine they would receive and the 15 yard penalty and possible ejection/suspension. The Saints are not any more evil or dirty that any other team in the NFL is the point I am trying to make, but I guess that is the reason they will be punished and made an example of.
First of all, thanks for commenting. After all, responses, both for and against an article, is what encourages us to do what we do. That being said, at no time did I ever indicate that the pay for play practice was something exclusive to the Saints. All I said was it was wrong and illegal and deserved to have consequences, especially in light of Williams’ repeated bounty programs in the past that have been well documented.
Belichick wasn’t the first to ‘cheat’ and spy on others teams; but he got caught. Nixon wasn’t the first man running for President who got involved in some ‘dirty tricks’, but he got caught, Bernie Madoff wasn’t the first to scam people out of their money, but he got caught. And the Saints are FAR from the first to have some clandestine plan in place to purposely hurt with intent to injure opposing players for cash, no matter how insignificant the bounty was. But they got caught. And now that they’ve been caught, I’m saying that the Commissioner needs to make an example out of them in order to hopefully disuade other teams from engaging in this sort of potentionally dangereous activity.
What the Saints and others have been doing is tantamount to Organized Crime. What they’ve done is illegal; both in the NFL as well as in society and it was well organized by Gregg Williams. Clearly during the Saints’ Super Bowl run, they weren’t concerned about penalties for their actions. What they did was well rehearsed, premeditated, and carried out to perfection. Unfortunately, they now have to pay for their transgressions just like I would if I paid someone to injure a co-worker and make it so they had to miss work for a while so that I could take advantage of their absence.
As for Darren Sharper’s comments, what do you expect, did you expect him to say he went out every game in order to injure a player so severly that they had to be carted off the field? Gregg
Williams already admitted his guilt in his apology saying that, “It was wrong and I knew it was wrong.” He personally didn’t play on the field, guys like Darren Sharper did. Or do you think that this scheme was all in Williams’ mind and was never carried out?
Carl Banks, and I’m not sure whjo interviewed him over the weekend, said in all his years in the NFL he had never heard of a scheme like this. And maybe he’s lying, but I’m not sure what he has to gain by coming forth and offering this information; he isn’t even playing any longer…
Point is whether the Saints are the first or the 31st team to engage in these activities, they got caught and will have to pay the piper. In fact I would think that this is matter for Louisiana’s Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell and possibly the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. We’ll see how this plays out….
Very nice break down, love the dollar amounts, sounds good to me, lol!
Something needs to happen in a big way!
It will happen in a big way. Rest assured.
Sorry if it sounded like I thought that you said that the Saints were the only ones doing this. But yea, the NFL doesn’t wan’t bounties so they will come down hard on them. I agree 100% that they should be punished, and I really hope that the Saints don’t do anything like this ever again. Honestly it is kind of funny that the Saints ran this program and the defense still sucked. http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7647180/nfl-call-bounty-programs-cheating One thing I think is bad about the bounty is that the Saints did it after the NFL told them to stop. That is just not smart, because the bounties obviously didn’t help enough to get the team in trouble. This entire thing just annoys me. At least we now have a different defensive coordinator and Brees is signed for another year. Just curious, what is your favorite football team? Obviously mine is the Saints hahaha
I realize that it could be harder to accept what’s going on as a Saints fan. One is more apt to understandably ‘minimize’ the severity of the situation. If this ‘pay for play’ edict din’t work, as you/ESPN suggest, and the Saints’ defense did not improve, then this whole ordeal is even sadder.
And as far as I know and what’s been published, it wasn’t the NFL who told the Saints to stop, it was their owner, Tom Benson who told G.M. Mickey Loomis to make it stop. As far as having a new coordinator and a Brees signed for another year, what MIGHT make things tougher for your Saints is that, if I’m right, they could very well lose their #1 and #2 picks in this year’s draft and perhaps have all seven of their 2012 picks taken away from them. It all depends on how heavy Goodell comes down on them.
We write about all football teams at one point in the season or another but our team of choice is the N.Y. Giants. And yes, I would be desimated if this had happened to them and I would want the punishments to come down quickly and then move on. (Personally, with the Mara’s as owners and coaches like Coughlin, Parcells, etc..although NOT impossible, I doubt this could have gotten off the ground). Let’s just hope no other team will ever practice this barbarism ever again…
Thanks for commenting!
I really appreciate the detail that you put into your belief for fines! Good work!
I agree that this type of behavior has been around forever! However, I believe that deep down, the NFL, players, and fans really do want this type of ‘rip their heads off’ mentality. Defensive players should play with the mentality that they want to hurt someone. Even in my gradeschool days I remember the coaches telling me to “light someone up”.
If they didn’t encourage big hits and injuring the offensive players then the sacks stat wouldn’t be such an integral part of the rating and effectiveness for a defensive player.
Please read my counter-argument at: http://eggersonian.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/nfl-bounties-why-its-not-really-a-big-deal/
Thanks for your kind words!
Again, I get that the fans not only want to see hard hits, tackles, and sacks, but they have grown to EXPECT them. And that’s the nature of the game. Where the line must be drawn is when these players are offered money to deliberately hurt or injure opposing players with a bonus attached if they are ‘carted off the field’. Not only is that not acceptable, it’s illegal.
Don’t know about you, but when a player has been flattened by another player and he lays on the turf, motionless for several minutes while a hush forms over the crowd, and other players are seen looking on with anquish and concern, (some in prayer), that’s a gut wrenching site for me. Is that part of the sport? Absolutely. Would I like to see scenes like this exaserbated by players receiving bounties with the sole purpose of putting another player on a stretcher? Hell no!
I think this Bounty business makes Spygate look like a scrabble challenge in comparison.
Great stuff, once again.
Oh so true…and as soon as Goodell hands out the punishments it’ll be easy to see which one he found to be the most offensive.
Thanks for the kind words Cayman!
I don’t think Goodell can’t do anything. Teams in the future will just not document any transactions that take place.
I’m placing a bounty on Eli Manning. Go Eagles! haha
Oh but Goodell WILL pass on huge punishments …you’ll see.
As for Eli, did you see the NFC championship game between the Giants and the 49ers? Frisco almost decapitated Eli several times. He was sacked 5 times and knocked down 6. Not sure how he finished that game but he showed me something there.
Thanks for checking in N.C.