I am a huge football fan. The Green Bay Packers are my team, but I will watch any NFL game available. I love the sport which is why I was sad to find out about the ‘bounty fund’ kept by the New Orleans Saints.
The bounty fund involved some of the defense players. Ok, a lot of the defence. The NFL says between 22 and 27 players. These players would pledge money into a fund. During the season, they would use this fund for bonuses to hurt the opposing teams players. If they knocked out a player, they would get $1,500. If a player was hit hard enough to need to be carted off the field, they received $1,000. The more important the game, the bigger the bonuses.
For those of you that don’t know the NFL and it’s rules, this is illegal. Very illegal. The NFL tries hard to protect the safety of the players. Sometimes too hard. But, a few of their rules to protect the players are good ones.
Football is a rough game. Most of the players play their hearts out. People are going to get hurt. From the first time a little boy puts on a football helmet, he knows this. But to pay people to purposely injure the opposing team is just wrong. It has no place in any organized team sport.
It seems to me that a true football player, one who is playing for the love of the sport, is not going to go onto the field with the purpose of injuring someone so bad they lose conscience, just for extra money. Or breaking someone’s leg for a bonus. These aren’t the real football players. These guys aren’t playing for the love of the game. They’re in it for the money.
I’ve never really liked the Saints. They weren’t my least favorite team, but they were close. I always thought they played dirty and now I know why. My least favorite team has always been the Redskins, mainly because I grew up in Baltimore, a big football town, and the Skins were just to close for comfort. The rivalry has been there a long time. Although they Baltimore Ravens aren’t my team, that dislike has stayed with me.
Imagine how surprised I was this morning to find out when that same defensive coach, Gregg Williams, was coaching the Skins, they too had a bounty fund! A former player said it also happened when he was coaching the Buffalo Bills!
Whatever the action the NFL takes against this guy should be brutal. How about we put him on the field every Sunday and let a few of the defensive players on the other team have at him?
Another of his former players said bounty programs were the norm on NFL teams. Another defensive player who didn’t play under Williams said he didn’t know there were bounty programs. Who to believe? Then there is the player condemning who ever it was that ratted out the team. Try to do what is right, and people think YOU are the one that is wrong. Would those who are condemning like to have a price on their heads to be injured?
I hope the NFL’s investigation finds the this isn’t rampant among the teams. I hope they punish Williams to the max and punish all those who participated. Playing as hard as you can should be what a player does every game. But there is a big difference between playing your heart out and playing to injure someone.