Punishment too light for those involved in NFL bounty scandal

By Mari Pothier | gargoyle@flagler.edu

So we’ve all heard about it: Coach Sean Payton being suspended for a year over the bounty scandal plaguing his New Orleans Saints. What I don’t understand is why Payton, and other coaches and players involved in the bounty scandal are not being expelled from the NFL and brought up on criminal charges for their behavior.

According to an article on ESPN, “the scheme involved 22 to 27 defensive players, targeting opponents including quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner. ‘Knockouts’ were worth $1,500 and “cart-offs” $1,000, with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs.”

Personally, it’s hard to believe that any coach or coaching staff would actually partake and allow their players to be involved in such unsportsmanlike conduct. That is not the purpose of football. I mean I understand that football is a contact sport plagued by injuries, but it’is crossing the line when players are being paid to purposefully injure other players.

What really bothers me about this situation is the fact that the New Orleans Saints let something like this go on within their organization.

Sen. Dick Durbin, in an article on abcnews.com said, “Accidents will happen and injuries will happen. That’s part of the game. I knew it when I put on my uniform and went out on that field. But I never dreamed that there would be some conspiracy, some bribery involved in some other player trying to intentionally hurt me or take me out of the game. That goes way beyond sports.”

As a result, coaches and players involved in the scandal shouldn’t only be suspended for their participation, but expelled as well as brought up on criminal charges. If any other private citizen was paid to injure another citizen, they would be arrested. It is no different than hiring a hit man. Maybe the coaches didn’t pay their players to kill anyone, but they did pay them to inflict injury. But because they are famous football coaches they will walk away from this scandal with nothing more than a suspension on their record?

Players and coaches involved certainly weren’t being good role models for the children in our society. Kids look up to football players with stars in their eyes, but what good are the players involved in the bounty scandal teaching? They are simply showing them that money and greed is more important than the safety of others.

Currently, Payton, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant coach Joe Vitt are appealing their suspensions and I hope they don’t get off. They need some sort of penalty regarding their involvement with the bounty system to help ensure this doesn’t happen again.

I’m disgusted that there are coaches who offered their players these bribes, and that there are players who actually took them up on this offer to intentionally hurt others out of greed.

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