There has always been conflict within sports: which team is better, if the ball was marked properly, how the refs called a play, etc. But the recent issues of bounties within the NFL, specifically the New Orleans Saints, has created more than just conflict. It’s more than just unsportsmanship…it’s cheating.
The Saints have been found to be offering their players bonuses (aka bounties) for injuring a player so bad that they’re taken out of the game.
Put into evidence (starting to sound like a legal issue lol) was an email that was sent to the head coach, Sean Payton, just before the first Saints’ game in 2011 (against the Packers) that said ‘PS Gregg Williams [their former defensive coordinator] put me down for $5000 on [Aaron] Rodgers.’
The Saints Defensive Captain, Jonathan Vilma, offered $10,000 to any player who knocked Brett Favre (then the Vikings QB) out of the 2010 NFC Championship Game. The Saints were flagged for roughing Favre twice during the game.
Here’s what the punishments were
- Sean Payton, Head Coach: 1 year suspension without pay
- Gregg Williams, Former Defensive Coordinator: Banned indefinitely
- Micky Loomis, Saints’ General Manager: 8 game suspension without pay
- Joe Vitt, Assistant Coach: 6 game suspension without pay
- The Saints were also fined $500,000 and had their 2nd round draft pick taken away for 2012 and 2013
What do I think of all this? I absolutely agree with the NFL cracking down on bounties. Football is not about hurting people…it’s about how well you can execute plays and how well the defense and offence players can come together as a team. Yes, people do get hurt and that’s just the game but it doesn’t mean that a player need to purposefully hurt others.
Sportsmanship has changed. I was lucky enough to attend 3 Packer games last season and I heard things like this often (excuse the language) “Break his fucking arm!” “Knock him out!” What the hell is this? Why would you want someone to be hurt?! You should want to win against the best because then you know you’re the best.
Cheating is for people who can’t win based on talent or strategy. I feel it’s more important to win admirably and based on talent/skill than to win because you beat the crap out of someone. Taking their best players out of the game is like admitting that you’re not good enough to beat the best. If that’s the case then you shouldn’t even be playing.
I am an avid Packer fan (so there’s one reason why I’m upset about the bounty on Rodgers!) and I’m very proud of them. They’re a very down-to-earth team, it seems. They play with heart and spirit.
Play with integrity or don’t play at all.
*All facts taken from NFL Hammers Saints For Bounties from Espn.com