Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bountygate Part 2 -- the punishments

I read with interest Joe Person's story in today's Charlotte Observer where former longtime Panther safety Mike Minter said that while there were no bounties when he played for Carolina that veteran players did offer cash bonuses for big plays.

Minter said the veteran players, including himself, would "pony up" and award bonuses, particularly for big special-teams plays (special-teamers usually aren't starters and don't make as much as the veterans). Coaches weren't involved in this, which was against NFL rules but from all the stories coming in from around the league also sounds pretty commonplace.

What I'm most interested in now, though, is Part 2 of this sordid affair -- the punishments.

Saints GM Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton issued a joint statement Tuesday (they had been silent for far too long) about the bounties, saying they took full responsibility for it happening under their watch and apologizing to owner Tom Benson. I didn't think the statement went far enough, though -- what about apologizing to the players the Saints were purposely trying to hurt?

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to rule on punishments sometime this month, and I think he will come down very hard. I don't ultimately think St. Louis defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (the administrator of the bounty program while with the Saints) will keep his job. Whether he resigns or gets fired or gets suspended for life, I think Williams has to go. His violations were the most blatant.

Loomis and Payton need to at least be fined and suspended for a significant amount of time as well. The players involved -- there were between 22 and 27 of them, according to the NFL -- must be fined for sure and likely the ringleaders suspended.

I think the Saints will also have their 2013 first-round draft choice taken away (they won't have one this season) and their top pick for 2012 taken away too (No.59 overall). Maybe more.

In other words, the punishments will and should be significantly worse than the New England Patriots' Spygate ($750,000 total in fines and a first-round draft pick taken away). And they should come soon -- I think Goodell has tons of information now and don't imagine he will need to wait much longer before lowering the boom and providing a cautionary tale for any other team thinking about trying out a bounty system or even a "cash bonus for big plays" system like the Panthers used to employ, according to Minter.


Anonymous said...

no punishments should be given, the bounties are good for the game

i wish the panthers played hard, maybe they need a bounty system....they are content to just draw their $$$ and lose.

Anonymous said...

You, sir, are an idiot! We're talking about serious injuries to human beings. We are not talking about forcing fumbles and getting interceptions.

According to Tony Dungy, it was under Williams' bounty system in Washington that Peyton's neck was injured. In the end, it could cost him his career and under this Bounty system, Kurt Warner will never play again.

If you think this is OK, you need to go somewhere and pray for your soul for surely it has been taken by the devil!

Anonymous said...

please, blaming the bounty on manning's and warner's injuries is lame. no one hit caused those injuries....but rather years of play in a silly game where adults smash into each other repeatedly.

in reality, teams protect each other with their play. you don't hurt another team cause they will hurt you back.

many teams have had bounties and it has helped them play harder.

the panthers need more killer thugs and a bounty.

we need the bounty to offset all the stupid rules the nfl has created that are ruining the touching the qb's helmet(super lame).

I am pro-bounty baby!!!

Anonymous said...

Let the Saints go marching down to the cellar....this team and their fans deserve misery....

tarhoosier said...

Mr. 11:16, please stay away from my family, my house and my neighborhood. I would prefer you stay out of my county. You have already abdicated from our sentient specie.

Anonymous said...

This is absurd. As of now, there is NO PROOF that Williams nor any player issued a "Go out there, injure and maim the opponent" statement. Instead, it was about fumbles, interceptions, sacks, drive killing plays and yes, big hits. There's a difference between hurting someone and injuring someone. When you're hurt, you can still play; you can't continue when you're injured. And like so many former players have said, they went out there every week to inflict pain on their opponents in an attempt for that guy to give up. Current players are not really talking about this because they’re afraid of Goodell coming after them.

The hit that Warner took in the playoff game was a clean hit...square in the chest. If he was a RB, LB or some other position, we wouldn’t be talking about this. But because Warner is a QB, the hit was bad and it will be discussed forever. Baloney sausage…quarterbacks are players, too! As for Manning, he doesn't even know what hit injured him. And it could very well be an injury from numerous hits over his entire career. Players in ALL sports go after hurt players to finish them off. Shoot, DeAngelo Hall said so this past season when the Cowboys and Redskins played. Romo was coming back after missing time with broken ribs. Hall said, "We're going to target him and try to take him out of the game." Was Hall fined? No.

If the Saints were indeed going after players with the intention of injuring them, then they did a poor job of it. I say this because there were NO abnormal amounts of players unable to play the following week(s) after playing the Saints. There were NO abnormal amounts of players removed from the field while playing the Saints. And finally, there were NO abnormal amounts of Saints players fined and/or flagged for personal fouls, late hits, etc... During that time frame, one player was fined for a late hit on Favre and Harper was fined twice last season for his late hit on Steve Smith (a stupid play on his part) and hits in the Titans game. Video replay on his helmet-to-helmet hit on the Titans QB showed that it was NOT helmet-to-helmet, but the NFL levied the fine because Harper was flagged for it during the game. And when he dragged Washington down by his facemask, Harper grabbed his facemask as he was falling down. Bad looking play, but I doubt it was intentional. But in the end, Harper took his punishment, apologized and didn’t complain, unlike James Harrison.

The Saints are probably guilty of using the wrong choice of words. But to punish them worse than the Patriots would be foolish as they did not gain a competitive advantage over their opponents like the Patriots did. And the outrage that you, Mr Scott, and other media folks have espoused is pure hypocrisy. You applaud the big hit, drive killing tackles, a hit that causes fumbles, etc… for your team, but shun an opponent. I've said it before and I will say it again, if there is irrefutable proof that the Saints went after players to injure them, end their career and the organization was paying them for this, then I will be the first person around here to denounce the Saints. But I doubt the investigation will find such evidence.

Anonymous said...

what an idiot

Anonymous said...

Why am I not surprised that there are idiots out there actually condoning this type of play. Grow up morons.

Anonymous said...

To think the Saints were the only ones doing this would be naive (as this article is getting at with the Panthers). On one hand, I could see using additional money as an incentive to help motivate guys to make as many tackles in a game, or produce fumbles, take aways, etc. However where this gets dangerous is when players and coaches are using this type of motivation to intentionally set out to seriously hurt another player. This game is already violent enough when teams play by the rules. But adding a bounty system to the mix is dangerous and really needs to be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Big surprise to Scott and other Observer writers - Nfl players try to maim each other!!! Next on WSOC: Groupies attracted to rich, violent men ... who try to maim each other!!! Men want to be rich violent stars praised by Scott Fowler ....until they maim someone and then Scott and the NFL declare they are a bad person!!!

Anonymous said...

How about a bounty on these pushead lowlife double standard hypocritical scammer promoting sports writers?

This is the height of hypocrisy pot calling the kettle black when these scumbags promote an admitted thief felon cheat liar pay for play and put him up to be some super god yet in the same breath they call for the heads of so called "bounty hunting" to take out key players?
Is that not what they are paid millions to do anyway and they have to play within the rules on the game as refs are on watching every single play along with instant replay and 80k fans.

Why dont you idiots call your scammer Newton a crook criminal who really did screw the system to your blessing? You are the lowest form of human existence. Dont punish players doing their jobs and promote the worst cheat ever in the NFL.

Auburn should be on a 10 year suspension and NCAA officials all fired.


Anonymous said...

Football is a rough and competitive sport. Players have been getting hurt playing football since the game was invented. I understand the desire to make the game safer, but where does it end. The Saints are guilty of doing the same thing that every other competitive team does. I would argue that bounties spoken and unspoken have been around since money became a part of the game. Before any member of the Saints organization (past and/or present) gets fined and/or suspended, the scope of the problem (league wide) needs to be determined. While I am not about players getting hurt, I am about good hard play. Making an example of or singling out a single team would be would be short sighted and detrimental to the NFL. If you want to lay blame somewhere, pick the league itself. Their lack of clarity on the matter is borderline gross negligence. It seems to me they are trying to play catch up and are looking for a scapegoat.

NFL let’s not miss the forest for the trees. This is a great opportunity to forgive the past and clearly define expectations and consequences.

Let’s not do the same thing NASCAR is guilty of: Being willy-nilly with the rules and make them up as you go along.

Anonymous said...

What Williams & hoodlums did is a FELONY! A FELONY! Conspiring to inflict bodily injury to influence the outcome of a game. And I guarantee gambling by outside concerns who knew about it was involved. Do you not know how serious this is?? It will go way beyond the NFL, to Washington, federal courts and probably the FBI. It's bigger than Vick's dog fighting.

The NFL needs to be severe in its punishment, just to wipe its hands of the entire thing, say it did everything it could, and get out of the courts' way. Williams should be banned for life from all football at any level. Period. HC & GM etc suspended for 2-3 years (& anyone on Redskins that knew), players for 1-2 years depending on how long they participated. Huge fines for everyone put into the retired players' health fund. The Saints should lose their championship. Yes! I said it! And early round draft picks for 2-3 years. Plus fines.

I hope the players whose careers were shortened by these hoodlums take them all to court. Let a jury of their peers decide if what they did attributed to ending a career prematurely.

Remember, Pete Rose was banned for life from baseball for simply gambling. No steroids, no physical harm. That started baseball's slide away from being America's favorite pastime. The NFL needs to be very careful about this.