New Orleans Saints Punishment-Snap Judgment
Written by Curt Popejoy on 03/21/2012
When the word came down today that Commissioner Goodell was going to swing the Hammer of the Gods onto the New Orleans Saints franchise, I had to gather myself a little before I commented. I read over my Twitter feed at all the knee jerk reactions, I myself Tweeted a mock comment from the commish that amounted to “Blammo!” but I wanted to take a moment to let all this sink in. Really if you think about this, there were two punishments dished out here.
First was obviously on the Saints. They had an organized system in place that was paying players additional compensation when they injured other players. The particulars of the punishment are severe. A full year for Head Coach Sean Payton, half a season for GM Mickey Loomis, and the career death penalty for Gregg Williams. The team that really got hosed in all this is probably the St. Louis Rams who had high hopes for the season with Williams running the defense.
But beyond the Saints, who is really on notice with this penalty is the rest of the league. Don’t kid yourself. Even if it isn’t something that happens on every team, it happens on other teams. The notion that this was happening in a vacuum is absurd. I am just thankful that some former players like Mike Golic and Mark Schlereth have come out and set the record straight that these things exist. But I throw up in my mouth a little every time a current player takes the high road when asked. Do they really think fans are that dumb? Or worse yet are they? Regardless, this penalty sent waves throughout the league. I guarantee phones were blowing up with texts about this by lots and lots of NFL players and coaches participating in something similar on other teams and the commissioner and the league hope that seeing this go down so hard is going to scare the other teams enough that they will cease all of this. It wouldn’t shock me if more teams were implicated in the investigation of the Saints and Goodell just chose to hit one team really hard rather than spread it around.
Do I think the punishment was too much? Of course I do. I have zero rooting interest in the Saints team, but no matter which team it was, there’s no way they “earned” this. Unless they were poisoning the opposing teams through their Gatorade there’s no precedent to punish them this severely, UNLESS isn’t to punish the entire league. Sorryboutcha Nawlins.
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least comment on the whole notion of a bounty system. A few extra bucks or not, these men play a violent sport, where their respective employers give them a paycheck of varying amounts to do their very best in a very violent sport. If the notion of a bounty never existed, players are still going to try and hurt each other. They do it every single play. It’s why teams try and hide injury status of players. It’s why the Patriots play a weekly shell game with their injury report. If players return to the field with an injury you can bet opposing defenses are going to target it. Many players say as much. Because they are only getting their normal compensation for that, and not an extra $500.00 it’s ok? This whole notion that these bounties are somehow evil and worse than the inherent violence that accompanies football reminds me of the whole performance enhancement debate. It happens folks, get over it.
I sincerely hope that they Saints are able to have some of these penalties(as well as upcoming penalties on players) reduced. The only real crime I think they committed was getting caught. The comparison has been raised to Spygate, but I differentiate because I don’t believe the vast majority of teams cheat. But I do think they try and hurt each other on a regular basis. It’s called football.
Last Edited: 03/21/2012