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I wrote a second column about the rogue New Orleans Saints and about paying bounties to injure opposing players. I wrote a second column on the subject because this is a scandal and the scandal is getting worse as we learn more. Many Zohn readers wrote to me after my first column, saying football is inherently dangerous and violent so it’s unfair to penalize someone for a bounty program. I say that point of view is morally flabby and I do not accept it. That’s what I wrote my second column about, moral flabbiness. To read it click here.

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16 Comments

  1. Stan

    I can understand-never condone- that criminal with PTS of a horrible childhood for what he did,then I can multimillionaires for chump change and a thrill attempting to make Payton Manning a quadriplegic.
    Or Lowell,to use another analogy-when I give money to a bum…I expect he will use it to buy alcohol or drugs. And why not? to live a terrible dirty cold life on the streets,numbing himself seems like a natural need.
    But-when your filthy rich,have all your needs met and you go out and drug yourself into car accidents or steal necklaces(wink Lindsay)Then I dont have much sympathy..and lenient judges then dont seem to be acting in kindness for celebritys but protecting one of thier own behaving badly..
    And now will Goodell show that the coachs and management are a higher tier in the NFL?..of course he will. Already…Sean Payton sitting out a few games is the rumor..no talk of ban,and even N.O. owner Wilson hasnt even mentioned the word “fired”..or “terminated”.
    I think Pete Rose must be the unluckiest SOB alive…He was the last American pro player to be truely punished for cheating. Oh,he deserved it of course-lol-but that he got the death penalty instead of the McGwire slap on the wrist is Charlie Hustle’s last bad gamble.

    March 5th, 2012 5:27 pm

  2. Dennis

    Let me pose this question: what if money wasn’t involved? What if the coaches coached to go in and hit hard when you hit and if you take them out of the game all the better. No money, just pride and recognition. Is that OK?

    Shouldn’t Ndamukong Suh and his head coach suffer the same penalty as anyone on the Saints even if bounty’s are not involved with Detroit?

    I think the bounty issue is really a side issue. The real moral issue is the mentality of hurting some one just to win regardless of the financial consideration. I think that is the point those of us who disagree with you are trying to make.

    Again, the 49ers have more people with $15,000 plus fines for flagrant hits than the Saints do. In your world of high moral standards, is it just about money or is it about intentions. For me it is about intentions. Every team in the NFL needs to be looked at.

    March 5th, 2012 5:31 pm

  3. chris

    Throwing Payton out of the league wont change the system. Or all of he other head coaches or assistant coaches that were invloved with Greg Williams, who seems to be the one who is the root of the bounty issue. And Lowell, I think where you get in trouble with this and the game of pro football is using the word “moral”. To win in the NFL there has to be no morals. Thats why the 49ers play on the edge of the rules and made it all the way to the NFC title game. Thats why the Raiders in the 70′s did what they did on defense. Even the soft spoken Bill Walsh would throw his morals away to win a game. I recall a play in a 49er at L.A. Raiders game in 1985, when Niner DL Stuckey got to Jim Plunkett for a sack. Instead of just bringing Plunkett down when he had him in the grasp, Stuckey pile drove him into the ground, and then fell on him with all of his weight, separating Plunketts shoulder and knocking him out for the season……theres no morals in pro football then, now and forever.

    March 5th, 2012 6:00 pm

  4. Johnny Christo

    Lowell, two of your readers above just don’t get it…

    Also, a small semantic gripe: if a story has legs, it is because the story will run (not because it will stay around for a while). That’s a UCLA BA superseding a Stanford PhD!

    The bottom line, which you finally reached by the end of your column, revolves around intent. The truth of the matter is that when those in leadership positions, i.e. coaches & FO, knowingly break rules, they should lose the privilege of being part of the club. Add to this basic tenet the fact that the objective of their malfeasance was injury to players and the outcome can only be lifetime banishment.

    March 5th, 2012 7:24 pm

  5. Mark M

    These type of slippery slope arguments never hold any weight for me. There is a line and the league will define it, as Goodell has been doing recently in light of concussion studies. He really has his work cut out for him now. But the hole Christian lion analogy is way over the top.

    I would have no issue personally if Payton and others were banned forever. Indeed, I think he and Williams deserve it. But there is no way that will happen. They’ll (the NFL) never shoot themselves in the foot and get rid of talent like that. It doesn’t pay off in any sense. No one watches football for moral reasons. And society….the law of the land….has no jurisdiction over the gridiron. If it did, say like the feds with baseball and roids, then you might have a case.

    The story may have legs, and it is indeed a fascinating wormhole into the heart of the sport, but the end result will be minimal in my opinion.

    March 5th, 2012 7:48 pm

  6. Joe Sanchez

    I read Joe Posnanski’s blog explaining why there wasn’t more fan outrage. To me football is a contact sport and it is inherently violent. Players get incentive pay for tackles and sacks. It is a small and slippery step to paying to take other players out of the game.

    Gregg Williams deserves whatever punishment he gets. Paying bounties to injure people is morally and legally wrong. But the system is set up in a way that Greg Williams happened and will happen again. How many AFC South fans breathed a sigh of relief when Peyton’s neck injury was announced? I know I was happy when Pierre Thomas went out after the Dashon Goldson hit.

    I love Am. football but I think the game can’t survive the way it is now. It’s a merciless, violent game that destroys the players’ bodies and minds. I dream of NFL stardom like half the country but I would never let my children play football.

    March 5th, 2012 10:25 pm

  7. Dennis

    I see that Ronnie Lott and Tony Dorsett think the same way I do. I guess they don’t get it either. Of course, they just played the game. They didn’t right about it.

    March 5th, 2012 11:00 pm

  8. Dennis

    I meant write.

    March 5th, 2012 11:01 pm

  9. Johnc

    I am glad you are sticking with this important story. Unfortunately some still don’t get it. They confuse a hard contact sport with “immorality”. By that definition Hockey and Rugby are immoral also.
    Criminal intent is when players are given the incentive to intentionly injure their opponents. In the case of the Saints they were offered money on a sliding scale depending on the importance of the game and the degree of the injury. A “Cart-off” was ideal.
    One commenter on here suggested that the Niners are on the cutting edge because they had an outstanding defense that won 14 games. For this they are labeled” immoral”. I doubt this person ever played football. But the self righteous indignation is misplaced.

    March 6th, 2012 2:51 am

  10. Dennis

    Johnc, my point was that the immoral nature of the sport happens when the intention is to take people out of the game for whatever reason: the money (bounty) isn’t the only aspect that makes it immoral. I did not mean to imply that the 49ers were immoral for taking out players during the season unless that was indeed their intent, regardless of the money issue. I am trying to make the point that because they had a lot more flagrant penalty violations than the Saints maybe the NFL should look into why. Was it because of just good old fashion hard hitting and accidents will happen or was it intentional? If it was intentional than it makes no differnece to me if they got paid to do it. It is just not right and it crosses over the moral edge .

    March 6th, 2012 8:44 am

  11. Tiburon Dave

    At some point, football will cross a border from a civilized game (OK, semi-civilized) into all-out war or, if you prefer, a blood sport like the Christians and the lions in the Colosseum in ancient Rome. Maybe it already has crossed that border.

    This part of your column is the crux of the issue. Football fans have lost sight of the fact that the men on the field every Sunday are PEOPLE.

    They are sons, and fathers, and husbands, and uncles. They go home to the same issues that all of us do every day; but most of us don’t think of them that way anymore.

    They’ve been dehumanized as gladiators…mythical beings…animated robots…but they’re not…they’re just guys plying their trade…

    None of you would think it was right for the foreman of a steel plant to put up a pool and bounty to see which guy on the smelting crew lost a hand today…

    It’s not right on the football field either…

    March 6th, 2012 9:05 am

  12. Stan

    One of the “goals” I read to get paid a bounty was another $1500 more for a “cart off”..when a player had to taken off on a stretcher. Imagine that,when the fans are stone quiet at the stadium hoping the guy down will move and the announcers are making prayers outloud in hushed tones..there are Paytons players thrilled at the payoff. A pro who makes millions risking anothers career for unmoral needs.
    One last-Kreuger really is despicable. He’s splitting hairs and semantics to defend hurting,maiming, the other guy to win. Just as he did before the 49er Saints game.

    March 6th, 2012 10:58 am

  13. Stan

    Intentiontal,INTENTIONAL,hurting and maiming( I can hear Dennis already)…We ALL KNOW football is a tough sport,but it isnt part of the rules to intentially hurt the other player. Win by attrition of intentionally hurt players would make a crappy sport.
    Sure,football can be brutal…Football practice can be hard..players get hurt hitting a dummy,tear knees doing those tires..have heart attacks in 110f degree heat practices..none of that is INTENTIONAL!…
    Geddit?

    March 6th, 2012 11:03 am

  14. Nancy Rogers

    Paying players to injure their opponents is wrong. Period. The culprits should pay a big price, not just get a slap on the wrist. All this blah blah blah about football being a tough sport so anything goes is making me sick.

    March 6th, 2012 11:11 am

  15. KauaiRobert

    The issue is not simply if paying for illegal hits is moral and if football is a violent sport etc…
    .
    Performance-based incentives of ANY kind above and beyond contract pay is against the colective bargaining agreement, period.
    .
    That means they can’t do it.
    .
    They did.
    .
    They were told to stop.
    .
    They didn’t.
    .
    They got caught.
    .
    They should be punished.
    .
    .
    .
    -ALOHA-

    March 6th, 2012 4:14 pm

  16. chris

    sorry Nancy, but like it or not, thats just the way the game of football is and has always been, violent and brutal……….one motto of the 1970′s Oakland Raiders was …..”if you’re not cheating…..then you’re not trying”.

    March 6th, 2012 5:56 pm

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