By Guy Mitchell aka sweetg1

The NFL has a problem with the bounty situation, and everyone knows it. I’ll start this by saying that I agree with most that the NFL has become a league where you can’t hit anybody. It’s not the same football that I grew to love, where you can’t touch the quarterback and you dare not hit a “defenseless” receiver. I’ve seen many safeties pulling up or act tentative, not to deliver the blow that they were taught to deliver for what looked like fear of being fined. For some of the rule changes, I think they were good for the league. It’s a well known fact that the NFL has a concussion problem and the lifespan of an NFL player is probably 20 years less than that of the normal man. Some of the changes aren’t good because we reward a guy who runs 0.1 second faster than his counterpart and we reward a guy who is much stronger than his backup, but he is not rewarded for “getting there” slightly faster with much more “zest”. The defense is sometimes rewarded for being a hard hitter and a strong “finisher”, but is penalized for unnecessary touching. Today’s game is all about the offense, especially when they are getting 30-40 points in what is becoming an aggressive version of two hand touch football (but make sure those two hands are above the waist and below the head!).

However, the rules are the rules and Gregg Williams admitted that he knew what he was doing was wrong, but he did it anyway. The defense for Williams is this wasn’t a one-time offense, as he has done this all over the league. The NFL is the one that tries to play holier than thou with suspending guys before they are convicted and for eliminating cheaters (Spygate, steroid users, and the coaches that set up blockades on the sidelines are the offenses that quickly come to mind). It correctly tries to be the league that sets the standard for fair play in an environment that also encourages hard hitting. But here you have a guy who not only admitted doing this and admitted he knew it was wrong, but he also created an environment where guys were encouraged to hurt someone. This is everything that the NFL professes not to be. Therefore, it must set the example by banning Gregg Williams from coaching for at least 1 year. If the NFL is going to “set the new standard” for what is right, it must take the biggest offender and “make an example” of him. If the NFL gives him a slap on the wrist (like a $10,000 or less), then what they are saying is that encouraging a player to hurt another player is worse than spying on another team or appearing on the police blotter for a misdemeanor. You’ll recall that Spygate not only cost a coach his job (in Denver), but it also cost the team draft choices. Can we honestly say that encouraging a player to hurt another player is not as bad?

Again, I can’t stress that I don’t like the fact that the rules have changed as they have, but the rules are the rules and they must be followed.

What I see as a secondary problem is that many teams in the NFL institute a Kangaroo Court, where players fine themselves for doing certain things or for saying certain things or for appearing in the media. Most of the Kangaroo Court systems send the money to a charity or they use the money to host a party. It’s sort of a fun way and something that the players do during the season. For instance, Tim Tebow was fined by his teammates when fans put a billboard telling John Fox to play him. If a player said something dumb in an interview or was late to a team meeting, he could expect to ante up. While I’m not suggesting that this sort of fun is the same as encouraging one player to hurt another player, it is the same with respect to the fact that both scenarios are “paying for actions – good or bad”. They are payments conducted outside of the contract. I don’t think it would be totally unreasonable for the NFL to begin looking at this sort of “payment” system next. I think it would be a shame if Kangaroo Courts were eliminated, but the league would have to start looking into ALL of these payment systems and use consistency with what they do.