NFL Bounties: Does this tarnish the NFL??

By now, most of you have heard about the bounties that were put out on certain players by former NFL coach Greg Williams.  Most notably was his most recent job  in New Orleans.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell finally handed out the punishments to the people there were involved with all of this.  Williams was handed an indefinite suspension pending review after one year and Head Coach Sean Payton was given a one year suspension for his part.  Many people that I have talked to are up in arms about the “light” punishment that Sean Payton was given and I wanted to take the time to address this.

Now, I understand that in no way is it okay for someone to put money down for a fellow teammate or a player that you are coaching to take someone out of the game; to essentially hurt them in any way possible.  One thing I want to address about this situation is that this has been going on for years and now it is being brought up for whatever reason.  Yes, Mr. Goodell has known this is going on in locker rooms across the country, but it has been the players that are issuing challenges to their teammates, no the other way around.  Also, if a teammate challenges you to this it is usually to put a big hit on someone, legally, and maybe put them on the sidelines for a couple of plays or maybe the game.  I know that doesn’t sound any better but if you think about it, it really does.  If Ray Lewis was to issue a challenge to a teammate to take Aaron Rogers “out” that would most likely mean to take him out of his rhythm or put a certain fear in him to make him make mental mistakes.  Maybe it would mean if you get the chance to put a hard hit on him…do it.  This happens in college and yes, even you do not want to believe it, high school football.

What makes this story and situation so terrible is that these players and coaches wanted the player hurt or maybe even carted off the field.  That my friends is in no way, shape or form okay with me.  This game is rough enough as it is without having to worry if a linebacker is going to come off the edge and shoot for your knees to try and put you out for the season.  If a leader for the team looks at his teammates and says I want you to make sure he doesn’t want to get up, that would mean put a hit on him to make him not want to get up.  If that same player was to say, I’ve got 5,000 dollars on the line for the first person who puts a hit on someone that carts them off the field, he would then mean do what is necessary to make sure he doesn’t get up at all.

Yes, it does sicken me as a football fan to know that there are players out there so dirty that they would do whatever they had to make sure someone didn’t get up off the field or possibly end someone’s career.  That is not okay, but if players are issuing challenges to their team to put the fear of God in someone, that’s alright with me and I’m sure it alright with a lot of the football fans out there.

Now on to Sean Payton.  Yes he knew about it.  Yes he did nothing about it.  But I highly doubt that he was in the room when Greg Williams put the money bounty on a player.  I seriously doubt that a man of that kind of integrity and love of this game would allow that to go on.  What Sean Payton did wrong was not do anything about it.  Yes that means he is just as guilty as Williams, but I want to believe that he was so caught up in the thought of winning and planning for the games that he just let it go.  I want to believe that maybe he knew there were bounties, but not the severity of this magnitude.

I think one year out of the game of football and away from the team that he loves and cares for it just want should have happened.  Now is that to say that he should be allowed to walk right back into his head coaching position when he gets to return?  No way.  He should have to earn his spot again just like he did before.  He should have to start out as a coordinator or something to that effect before he is given another head coaching job.  But I can guarantee one thing; Sean Payton will never allow anything similar to this to happen around him again.

My hope is that every coach and player that is lucky enough to have a career in the NFL will heed warning.  This needs to stop.  There is no reason whatsoever that a player needs to drop a ton of money to his teammates to make sure someone cannot play again or ever.  This should be a sport where everyone cares for the well-being of his fellow players and if there are players out there that want to play dirty and have no regard for the rules I have one thing to say to you.

Watch out because the next thing you know, there may be a bounty on your head or knees.  You may have to watch your team win or lose while you get taped out and carted off a field.  I truly hope that this is the end of this nonsense and we can all get back to watching and they can get back to playing the game that we all love and cherish.

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