Sunday, March 25, 2012
Are you a good sport?
NFL suspensions in Saints' bounty program scandal are justfiedby Nick Celario Mar 21, 2012 5:44 pm Tags: Bounty program, football, Gregg Williams, illegal incentives, New Orlean Saints, new orleans, NFC, NFL, Roger Goodell, Saints, Sean Payton, Sports, suspensions
Nick Celario is a Spartan Daily Sports Editor.
Last semester, I wrote that the NFL should be played with intensity and toughness.
I am not retracting what I said because football is a violent sport, but acts of violence, and receiving payoffs for them, are just not acceptable.
ESPN reported New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton will be suspended without pay for the 2012 season and St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, formerly of the Saints, was banned from the league indefinitely for arranging a bounty program that paid its players additional cash for targeting main opposing players.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis will be suspended for eight regular season games and assistant coach Joe Vitt will be suspended for six games.
The Los Angeles Times also reported the Saints' organization was fined $500,000 and will have to forfeit its second-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013.
"We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement reported by USA Today. "We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities.
"No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised."
I completely agree with this statement.
While I typically oppose Goodell's "No Fun League" type punishments, I feel these suspensions are justified.
According to USA Today, the bounty program occurred as far back as 2009 during the Saints' Super Bowl run and that such "non-contract bonuses" violate NFL rules.
It was also reported that Williams directed the program, and while Payton did not directly participate, he was aware of it and did not take any action to end it.
Williams' indefinite suspension is with good reason.
If he encouraged his players to cause possible career-ending injuries to their opponents, then he should not have a coaching position in the NFL.
If the league did not punish Williams, it could possibly send a message to college and high school players that such behavior is acceptable.
In a sport as aggressive and forceful as football, where serious bodily injury is already an enormous risk to those who participate, urging players to intentionally harm is cruel.
People who promote this kind of conduct should not have a place in professional or amateur sports — period.
Payton's suspension is also just.
ESPN reported Payton ignored instructions from the NFL and the Saints' owners to ensure a bounty program was not in place.
Condoning these acts makes him just as responsible.
USA Today reported an investigation from the NFL revealed that more than 20 Saints defensive players were involved in the program from 2009 to 2011 and were rewarded with cash, and while no punishments were handed down yet, the league plans to do so soon.
USA Today also said Saints middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma became synonymous with the program when SI.com reported he offered $10,000 to any Saints player who could knock out then Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC Championship Game.
Any Saints players who participated in the system, or anyone in the league who has, should be ashamed of themselves.
To be privileged to play professional football and be paid thousands, if not millions, of dollars and then take part in this inexcusable.
In addition, these players are looked up to by numerous fans, several of whom are probably football players, anywhere from Pop Warner, high school to college.
If they modeled themselves to pros who opt into this kind of playing, I can't imagine what the future of professional football would be.
Why take football and lower it to barbarism?
Despite its intensity, football can still be played with respect and sportsmanship.
I hope these suspensions gets that message across to everyone in the league and weren't for nothing.
Did you know that the Nicaragua-El Salvador war, in which 20,000 people were killed, started over a football game? In fact, Ernest Hemingway, the world famous writer, who spent so much of his time in Latin America and Spain, said you could eliminate most Latin American wars and their causes by simply banning football or soccer! Those games get them so worked up into a frenzy against each other that nothing but a total all-out war can truly satisfy the spirit of it The ultimate fulfillment of sports is war!--Destroying the other guy's body that your body might live! War is the ultimate fulfillment of the competitive spirit: the destruction of others for self-preservation. Sports is war in disguise, and the Olympics disguised all this under the totally false and contrary theme song of "Peace"! That's their theme!--Isn't that something! So they speak peace while war is in their hearts, and they talk peace while they prepare for war--prepare their bodies for war.
Ted Rudow III, MA
Class of 1996