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The Bounty System Stinks

March 14, 2012 - Al Stephenson
The NFL is investigating a report that the New Orleans Saints had a bounty system in place that paid players for "taking out" opposing players. The system was run by then defensive coach Greg Williams, who is currently coaching with the St. Louis Rams. What's worse is the fact that this may not be the only team to employ such tactics.

In a word, the bounty system stinks. When a team uses financial gain to encourage players to hurt opponents, there is something very wrong with the concept. I never played the sport of football, so there will be those that will say I should mind my own business. To that, I say this. One does not have to play a given sport to know that intentionally trying to hurt an opponent is not acceptable and it does not matter what sport you are talking about.

Football is a violent sport. We all cheer when one of our guys decleats an opposing running back, or delivers a slobberknocker to the other team's wide receiver. Though we don't really want to see someone get hurt, we can appreciate that "good" hit. However, when the hit is delivered on one of our own guys, we shudder and usually start crying about seeing a penalty flag.

Athetes are interesting people and yes, I used to be one. I can remember some baseball players showing my team up once while playing in Sandusky. We were getting pounded and the opponents were laughing on the basepaths. While I was on the mound, the player-manager from the opposing team came to bat. I threw a pitch behind him. He glared at me and I glared back. Then it seemed he knew what I meant. He told his players to keep playing hard, but not to make fun of the other team. That's all I wanted.

Another time a player hit a home run off of me and danced around the bases. I told my catcher the next time he came up not to give me a sign, that I was going to stick one in his ear. The next pitch I threw to him was intended to plunk him on the noggin, but instead was low and away and he golfed it to right for another home run. So much for control!

The point of those stories is to suggest that athletes have their own code of conduct. Football players do things in the pile that results from a gang tackle or fumble that might make squeamish people faint. From biting, to eye gouging to "who knows what" takes place in those scrums and is accepted as part of the game. What would have happened had I hit the guy in the head like I was trying to and he was seriously injured? How would I have felt then? Maybe it's time to stop the old "rules" and institute new ones.

The view from my seat suggests that if the bounty system is part of the "game" of football, it's time to send it on its merry way. If the emphasis being put on the saftey of the players is to be truly embraced by those involved in the game, then people who used the bounty system need to be punished. The game will be better for it.

As for the players who took cash for hurting others, let me suggest this rule to abide by. DO NOT do to someone else what you would not want done to you. It's a simple rule that has a golden ring to it, don't you think?


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