NFL pounds New Orleans Saints for paying bounties for maiming opponents. Will the NBA, NHL, NCAA, FIFA be inspired?

 

I used to be a boxing fan. Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jake LaMotta were boyhood heroes, and the highlight of my week was the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports, telecasting fights every Friday night. The program was top-rated until more and more fans—eventually including me—gradually came to understand that the object of the game was to cause brain damage, hopefully temporary but occasionally permanent and cumulative, as happened to thousands, most famously Muhammad Ali.

I became an even bigger pro football fan, until being turned off by the violence—not the inherent violence of the game, but the intentional maiming of marquee players like Brett Favre, DeSean Jackson, and Tony Romo.

It was no surprise when earlier this month the NFL disclosed that the New Orleans Saints had paid bounties for injuring opposing players, with extra money for “cart-offs” –when the injured player had to be carried off the field in a motorized gurney.

But today there was a surprise—a welcome one: the league came down with crushing punishments for the practice: Saints head coach Sean Payton was suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season, former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (who apparently initiated the practice) was banned indefinitely, general manager Mickey Loomis banned for half a season, and assorted other fines and penalties.

The punishments will make NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s point: intentionally injuring an opposing player won’t be tolerated. This will add force to the NFL’s campaign against concussions. It will encourage some formerly disgusted fans to return.

And wouldn’t it be nice if it started a trend to clean up dirty play and cheating in other sports. NBA, NHL, NCAA, FIFA, take notice.

 

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4 Responses to “NFL pounds New Orleans Saints for paying bounties for maiming opponents. Will the NBA, NHL, NCAA, FIFA be inspired?”

  1. Jack Marshall Says:

    ARGGH!!! Beat me by TWO MINUTES!!!

  2. Tom Stern Says:

    Great blog!!!!!!

  3. Sean Breslin Says:

    I hope every sport has dirty play cleaned up. This is a good start in the NFL.

  4. Ethics Bob Says:

    There’s been talk of a bounty program when Gregg Williams coached the redskins, but no indication from the NFL. The NFL statement included this:

    “While NFL staff has interviewed people in connection with public allegations of bounty programs at other clubs, no evidence was established showing that the programs at other clubs involved targeting opposing players or rewarding players for injuring an opponent. Commissioner Goodell emphasized that if additional information is brought to his attention that discloses bounties offered for injuring specific opposing players, he will revisit the matter to consider additional discipline.”

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