This whole issue that has come up of late regarding the New Orleans Saints placing bounties on players of opposing teams to knock them out gives me pause to check my hypocrisy meter.
First of all, these bounties should never happen. The NFL has come to the conclusion that the Saints were playing this bounty game with their former defensive co-ordinator Gregg Williams at the helm of the practice. Already Head Coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis have issued a statement and admitted to the violations. So, the punishment wil be coming from the League. That is as it should be. I'll trust the league to get that right. They usually do a good job in that regard. I suspect Williams will have to pay a price too, and that is also as it should be.
Here is my hypocrisy meter issue clanging wildly in my head. Before this season began, there were major labor issues in the NFL, and the season was threatened. We were led to believe that besides all of the monetary and economic issues that were being hammered out, the players safety question was also a big part of the new collective bargaining agreement. As a matter of fact, the players union made demands that were granted by the league regarding players health and safety.
The union was opposed to an 18 game schedule because of the safety issue of playing an extended season. I would add here that I agree with that position by the players, 18 games in my opinion is too many. The union got the league to agree to less full contact practice during the season. Less intense off season work was another demand, and was granted. All of this concern about players safety was presented on a silver platter for all to see. The union was clearly concerned for their members safety in this violent game their members play. It's evident that players safety was addressed by the league and the union in the contract.
And now we get the story that these players were being offered bounties to take an opposing player out! Sounds to me like the players safety was being endangered by the players themselves. Excuse me if in the next players contract with the league I'm not all teary eyed when we get the court house press briefing about player safety.
I call it hypocrisy, you can call it whatever you like.
There is no question this is a tough game. Played by very tough people. The threat of injury is real, make no mistake about that. My problem is lip service. Live up to the standards that you profess. Players safety that is important during a contract, but not during a game is unacceptable. Paying bounties for taking a guy out is unacceptable. Until you get that squared away NFL Players Union, you've got a major credibility problem!