News of the Saints ‘bounty program’ broke several days ago, along with news that it was directly overseen by then Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (he’s now defensive coordinator for the St Louis Rams). In addition it was revealed that the Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton knew about the program, and that Loomis failed to stop it even after team owner Tom Benson told him to do so immediately.
After all this information came out the NFL did not suspend anyone involved, despite the fact that all those involved not only had ‘fair warning,’ but knew it was clearly a violation of league rules. Why is the NFL not shy about handing out harsh penalties to players in the name of player safety, yet is tiptoeing around a much more egregious offense by coaches and a general manager? It reeks of hypocrisy and does nothing to dispel the feeling that the NFL is still being run by an old boys club.
If the NFL is truly serious about protecting players (and even itself from lawsuits), it needs to suspend Gregg Williams (who incidentally ran a similar bounty program when he was coaching the Washington Redskins) immediately for a minimum of ten-years, if not an outright lifetime ban from coaching in their league. In addition, and it pains me to say this (as I have a great deal of respect for the way they assemble their team), but similar harsh penalties need to be imposed on both Payton and Loomis.
It seems like the players are always holding the short end of the stick in the NFL and beyond being unfair and unjust, it’s simply not right. There would be no NFL without the players and they deserve to be treated better by the league. James Harrison who has been suspended multiple times for hard hits is treated like an outlaw by the league, and many have openly suggested that some of his hits could be charged as assault.
Meanwhile there is very little talk about Williams being brought up on any charges? From the sound of the NFL report, it appears Williams was in charge of an organized crime unit involved in assault and battery, racketeering and tax invasion as well. Maybe I’m wrong, but that seems a lot more serious than a vicious hit in a game.
I sincerely hope the NFL wakes up and treats these individual’s offenses as harshly as they treat the ones committed by the players. If they don’t they may be hastening their own sports demise (http://www.grantland.com/
You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc
POSTED IN THE MIND SIDE BLOG
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