No I’m not talking about the mullet totting, overly tanned bounty hunter Dog. The bounty hunter we’re speaking of is far worse (well according to the NoFunLeauge), Gregg Williams.
For those of you that haven’t heard about the recent “Bounty Program” scandal that has become big news as of late in the sports world, it involves former NFL New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Williams had a bounty system for his defensive players – money he awarded for big plays, including hard hits that took out specific players.
Now many of you, like myself, are probably wondering where the harm is in football players being rewarded for doing what they have been taught to do. I mean, as a defensive lineman it is your job to rattle your opponent and make sure you hit the player hard but cleanly. The possibility of being knocked out of the game comes with the territory. No one plays football thinking they wont be tackled or injured. Even when a player does hit an opponent cleanly, there is no way of forseeing whether or not that person get hurt and this certainly shouldn’t be the fault of anyones if this is to happen – especially if the hit is done within regulation.
What some commentators are trying to argue though is that it’s not “right” to be rewarded for injuring another player, or that having a “hit list” for certain members on a team is correct. No matter what sport it is, you always go after the best player. Its important to slow him down, take him out of his game – do whatever is necessary (legally) to limit his abilities. From as young as Pop Warner to HS and college, linemen are rewarded and recognized when they have hard hits. Those little stickers on the players helments and awards are their “payment” for doing what the game entails them to. Does this mean that we should do away with these rewards as well?
Though this “bounty program” has been part of the NFL since the beginning, the issue is, as a Chicago Times writer stated, “it’s an indictment of a coaching mentality that adds fuel to the NFL debate regarding concussions and the long-term affects of football brutality in an era when players are not only bigger than ever, but faster than ever, too.”
Personally I believe players, whether given $10, $100, $1000 or even a sticker to make big impact hit plays will do so regardless if rewarded. To keep your place on the team, for recognition and praise, these players will do whatever it takes to win.