Commissioner Roger Goodell has been policing the league for uncharacteristic acts from off and on the field incidents. The recent bounty scandal punishments laid out to the New Orleans Saints is just the beginning of more behind closed door actions that are now becoming the cold hard facts of the game.
After suspending Saints head coach Sean Payton and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the league recently took disciplinary action on the players who participated in the Saints bounty scandal. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma was suspended for all of next season without pay and three other players were disciplined of a shorter ban. Former Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with the Green Bay Packers, was suspended for the first half of the 2012 season. Will Smith will be absent on the Saints defensive line for the first four games, and former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, will miss the first three games of the season.
Now that the hammer has been hammered down on the league, former players, current players, fans and media have been 50/50 on the Commissioners’ player safety rules. Some say the disciplining has been way too harsh, some say more punishment should be thrown into the pool, and some whispers in the loud and clear have been making the wave lengths that bounty acts should be banned by the league for good.
Mainly, the thin line between dirty play and player safety has hit a cross road. And when large sums of dollar bills flood the pockets of anyone in this great earth, there’s always an evil that comes along with it, even if it means to protect your own neck. Future Hall of Fame receiver and current NFL analyst, Cris Carter admitted to placing money bounties on players for his own safety on the Hill and Schlereth radio show.
When asked about his take on the recent suspensions, Carter openly talked about the league he grew up in, and how he would protect himself from being taken out by players that had intentions of injuring him.
“I’m guilty of bounties, I mean, first time I’ve ever admitted it, but I put a bounty on guys before,” Carter said. “I put bounties on guys. If a guy tries to take me out, a guy takes a cheap shot on me? I put a bounty on him right now!
“Bill Romanowski, he told me he was going to take me out before the game, warm-ups. No problem. He said, ‘I’m gonna end your career, Carter.’ No problem. I put a little change on his head before the game. Protect myself. Protect my family. That’s the league that I grew up in,” Carter said.
Clearly, Carter has stated that he by no means placed change on the heads of guys to be taken out, but in my opinion, a player shouldn’t have to dish out Benjamin Franklin’s for a teammate to protect him. Players already have the mindset of protecting their teammates in the world of battling to win games in sports. Professional athletes make enough money as it is. Is this the simple fact of the old saying of more money, more problems, or the more money you make, the more you want?
The truth of the matter is the Commissioner has lots of weight on his shoulders. The league has been implementing new rules for player safety throughout the years, and the truth behind the games bounties out in the open will only place more disciplinary action along with more player protection to come in the future. And that’s the brutal truth.