NFL should inflict harsh penalties against ‘BountyGate’

Gregg Williams at the 2010 commencement ceremo...

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In case you live under a rock, you know that the New Orleans Saints and Gregg Williams, ex-defensive coordinator for them and now with the St. Louis Rams, have come under a spotlight because of a bounty system. A system that rewarded players for hurting other players and knocking them out of the game and paid them for it, a bonus check. The NFL must come down hard on Gregg Williams for this, especially if he had such a program in place when employed for other teams. Let’s get this straight, this isn’t about just hard hits, or bang-bang plays, it’s about hurting someone on purpose and being rewarded for doing so. How can it be seen any other way really? I understand that hard hits happen in the NFL, will continue to happen and I wouldn’t want it any other way but when it comes to taking people out… that’s wrong.

Think of it this way and maybe you can see it in a different way. Did Bernard Pollard get a “bounty check” for taking out Tom Brady in 2008? Was it bigger because it was a season ending injury? Did Kerry Rhodes and Eric Smith get a “bounty check” for taking out Anquan Boldin, then with the Arizona Cardinals? How about Philip Daniels and his wrenching of Peyton Manning’s neck back in 2006, what did he get for that? Does it matter that those actions most likely changed Peyton Manning’s life and career? What about Kimo von Oelhoffen and his hit on Carson Palmer in the playoffs? These are just a few instances that I can think of and if these players got what I call, a “bounty check” for what they did that’s just wrong and shouldn’t be in the NFL or any sport.

Other hits like the Dunta Robinson-DeSean Jackson, the hit Kurt Warner took in the 2009 playoffs and some others… those will happen and those are different. How are they different? Well, they are football plays and will happen and can happen at any given moment in any game but someone going out of there way to hurt someone because they’ll get paid extra for it, that’s the difference. If you fall during a foot race then it’s just something that can happen but if someone is paid to push you over, that’s different.

I am not sure what the penalties will be but considering how much Williams has lied I don’t see it ending well for him and serves him right. You know you can have a performance incentives plan and base it on getting interceptions, sacks or breaking up a big play… no one is getting hurt in those, at least not intentionally. Personally, if he was to be fired from the Rams or banned from the game it’d be harsh but you can’t go lightly on him just because other teams do it and he was caught. The NFL has to make a statement to other teams that, ‘if you have this kind of plan in place, end it now.’ From what I’ve read, the NFL is now going to investigate the Washington Redskins since Gregg Williams spent time with them, next maybe the Tennessee Titans and his time with them. Matt Bowen, former Redskins safety, did mention such a program existed when Williams was there as Defensive Coordinator. Williams also spent time with Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills (where he was the Head Coach), and Jacksonville Jaguars. This isn’t just on Gregg Williams though; current General Manager of the New Orleans Saints Mickey Loomis also knew about the program and lied about it but so far, his job seems to be safe.

In addition, just to throw in that this is much worse than SpyGate. You can spy all you want but the players still have to go out and execute and make the plays. You can argue that in most cases the other team knows what you’re going to do just by watching all the film that they do and still usually can’t stop you. As if teams had no idea this season, that Tom Brady, in crunch time, was going to pass it to Rob Gronkowski or Wes Welker. Bottomline is that this is wrong, not just in sports but in life. You should never intentionally hurt someone, it’s immoral and against the law, and to pay someone to do it… that’s low. It will be interesting to see what kind of penalty they give out and something tells me it will be a harsh one.

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