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New Orleans Saints burden NFL with bounty program

March 9, 2012

Recently a new scandal emerged to keep the NFL in the top headlines of the sporting world. The NFL released a statement that it had found the New Orleans Saints guilty of running a bounty program for the last three years. What exactly does this mean?

The report indicates that Greg Williams, former defensive coordinator for the Saints, would pay players on his defense if they knocked out a certain player on the opposing team. After the report emerged, Williams quickly admitted that he did in fact run a bounty program in New Orleans. Subsequent reports emerged that Williams did the same thing in Washington, Buffalo and Tennessee.

This issue definitely hits close to home for Vikings fans after the NFC Championship game in 2009. The way Brett Favre was abused in that game certainly left some to wonder, at the time even, if the Saints had a bounty on Favre. According to ESPN, there is a moment in the game where a mic’d up Saints player shouts, “give me my money” when Favre sustains his ankle injury.

There has been a lot of speculation as to what the penalty for these allegations will be. Most experts agree that the NFL will issue harsher punishments on the Saints for this than they did on the Patriots in 2007 for SpyGate. It is also probable that Williams will be fired by his new team, the Rams, and may be banned from the league altogether.

The question for me is whether or not Head Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis will receive harsh punishment. In my opinion, if Williams is fired, then Payton and Loomis should receive the same punishment. Why you ask? It was widely reported that the Saints owner, Tom Benson, found out about the bounties at some point in the three year span and told Payton and Loomis to put a stop to it. Obviously the bounties continued.

This should be a fireable offense. If your boss tells you to do something and you downright disobey, then you deserve to be fired. Plain and simple. Of course, this won’t happen because Loomis and Payton are wildly successful with the Saints, and winning brings in money.

Regardless of what happens, bounties have no place in any sport which is the reason this is so serious. You will hear many players say that bounties occur all the time in the NFL, and maybe they do. However, the Saints were running an organized bounty program for three whole years which sets it apart from others. Some notable occurrences of the program include: knocking Kurt Warner out of the NFL, severely injuring Brett Favre and allegedly being the cause of Peyton Manning’s neck problems.

Bounties should not be tolerated at all which is why Roger Goodell needs to hand down harsh punishments towards the Saints and their coaches. Obviously, I have said that I think all involved parties should be fired for their role in what happened, but that simply isn’t realistic. It will be fun to see how it all plays out.

Benjamin Lamers is an alumnus of UW-River Falls. He was editor of the Student Voice during fall semester 2013.

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