This past month it has become public that the New Orleans Saints operated a bounty system during the 2009-2011 seasons. The bounty program consisted of a pool that consisted of as much as $50,000. The money was provided by players on the Saints defense as well as contributions from former defensive coordinator Greg Williams. The system rewarded players payments of up to 1,500, with playoff bonuses, for hits that took opposing players out the game.
Since the news became public, controversy has swirled around the club. ESPN senior analyst Mark Clayton declaring the scandal worse than the Patriots Spygate, and calling for the NFL to punish them accordingly. Former Saints players have spoken up in defense of the club, namely Darren Sharper, who discredited claims that the Saints aimed to injure their opponents. He went on to say that big hit bounty programs have been in the league his entire career and that they are found in most NFL locker rooms. It appears that Williams operated similar systems while he coached at Buffalo, Tennessee, and Washington so already there’s evidence to back Sharper’s statement. Despite this, media attention towards the Saints has been entirely negative, with some pundits trying to take away from the Saints run of dominance over the past few years.
I am disgusted by how people are treating the situation, and believe it to be solely a campaign to put dirt on the Saints. The NFL has released no statements as to how, and why they got this information on the Saints. The NFL claims to be acting in the interest in player safety, but rather than make any significant strides in that respect, they’re just putting a single team on the cross. I do believe that almost every team in the NFL has a similar program or at least looks to knock out their opponents players. The NFL could have acknowledged this by having a summit on the matter where all teams could get their new approach towards bounty systems.
If the NFL actually cared about player safety, they’d insure their players lifelong health insurance. They are fully financially capable of this but refuse to do so. They will burn the Saints for rewarding big hits, but turn around and sell those hits on NFL.com as part of biggest hits DVD collections. They refuse to acknowledge that the players who make them their money, choose to operate these systems, with their own money. And like 1500 of your teammates money is any sort of financial incentive to guys making 2.5 million a year(a low estimate for an average defensive starter). The NFL is a corrupt bunch of greedy bastards, and the less power they have, the better the game.