The most recent headline of the bounty gate has been hilariously ironic. I’m sure that you are intrigued by the current events, but looking back at the instigation of the mayhem is equally laughable.
First of all, “bountygate,” really? Comparing this bounty issue with Richard Nixon’s transgressions as a president? It’s not that this isn’t important, but as important as the events that lead up to Nixon’s resignation?
Anyways, Roger Goodell fell prisoner to the moment, suspending players like Jonathan Vilma and coach Sean Peyton for the whole season. And yet, he suspended other players and coaches, who apparently had similar amounts of evidence against them, for fewer games. In light of concussion research and player safety on red alert, he made what seemed like the right decision at the time.
The NFL Players Association decided to appeal the suspension by backing the players who allegedly have been complying with a bounty system intended to hurt players. Again, the NFLPA was backing players who were trying to hurt other players. Yes, I understand that they believed that the evidence was not substantial enough, but in an era of football when everyone is trying to make the game safer, why not use these players (who were clearly involved in a bounty system to one degree or another) as an example for a safer NFL?
The next obscure moment was when Roger Goodell called for reinforcements, likely thinking that he was going to backed by Paul Tagliabue, the man he succeeded. Even if Tagliabue didn’t back him, he wouldn’t be the one reversing the punishments. He wouldn’t have his name attached to the reinstatement of the players.
When Tagliabue proceeded to reverse all of the players’ punishments, he put all of the blame on the administration and coaches. Sean Payton and Joe Vitt got slapped even harder, as the blame fell away from the players and upon them as they had been essentially lying to Goodell.
There is no doubt, however, that if someone is getting punished for a bounty system, the players are somehow responsible. That’s what doesn’t add up. Players were the ones going out there trying to injure Brett Favre, not Sean Payton. Understandably, Payton should have stepped in and cut it out. Instead, it appears as though he endorsed it. Shouldn’t the players have known how awful it is to be injured? Shouldn’t they have been able to empathize with the players they were trying to hurt? Again, it’s not adding up.
In sports media, everyone is trying to say who won and lost. Those people forget that the meaning of life is not the sporting world for everyone. You can’t define everything in terms of sports, and not every situation has a winner and loser.
The Bountygate exposed a barbaric side of the NFL that needed to be rooted out. Retired players in the media tried to explain that it was just how the league was. However, abolishing this status quo of tackling for the sake of injury rather than tackling for the sake of victory is all-important. It should encourage player safety, limit injuries, and, most importantly, improve the integrity of the game.