I've been keeping quiet on this whole "BountyGate" thing but I can't stay out of the conversation anymore. I've heard so many opinions on this topic; so many times I've heard people talking about this subject and sometimes valid, decent points are brought up but sometimes... sometimes, it's just utter foolishness. I heard something on the radio tonight that I find ridiculous. It motivated me to write this blog, so here goes. I've got two points I'd like to make, the first point is the less important of the two, in my opinion.
Point number one: Gregg Williams shouldn't receive a lifetime ban from the NFL. Let's be honest here, folks. Williams was not by any means the only coach participating in this kind of foolishness. He's just the only one that's been caught so far. I understand that Goodell may want to make an example of him and use his punishment to establish a precedent; something that will keep another situation like this from happening. But Williams is just one out of probably 32 defensive coordinators who has attempted to motivate his defense by telling them to go all haywire on the opposing team. Banning him for life is too sever, in my opinion. Let the guy sit out a year or two and then bring him back. Give him a chance to rehabilitate his image, much like Michael Vick was given that same opportunity. And that's all I have to say about that.
Now for the second, more important issue. I heard a guy on the radio today tell a story. The story went something like this. This guy is a former collegiate football player; an offensive lineman to be specific. He says during one particular game there was an opposing defensive end who was getting tons of pressure on the quarterback. Apparently at halftime the head coach told his offensive linemen to injure the defensive end in an effort to protect their quarterback and give their team a better chance to win the game. The guy says because of that incident he has no problem with Gregg Williams telling his players to target Frank Gore's head, or to target Michael Crabtree's ACL (or whatever the specifics were).
I found that former player's story repulsive.
I don't care what the circumstances are, attempting to injure an opposing player on purpose is beyond bush league. It's despicable behavior. Football is a GAME, for crying out loud. NFL players use that game as a means of providing for their families. Attempting to injure them is an attempt to take away their livelihood. It is, in essence, taking food out of that players' childrens mouths. It's taking away the roof from over that players' familys heads. There is NO excuse for blatantly trying to seriously injure another player, EVER.
In my opinion the beauty of sports is that it provides an arena for a matchup of brawn and brains. Physical talent and mental preparation meet hard work, practice, and so on and so forth. Defeating your opponent because of your superior physical skills OR superior preparation is admirable. But defeating your opponent because you purposely injured them is cowardly. It's saying, "Well that player is better than me and I can't overcome him, so I'm going to hit him below the belt and remove him from this competition". It's weak. It's cowardly. It flies in the face of competition. It's another form of bullying. It's despicable behavior and NOBODY should condone it. Any player who engages in that sort of thing ought to be ashamed of themselves. They ought to feel so guilty that they hunt down every player they hurt and apologize. They should feel obligated to retire from the sport that they obviously don't deserve to play. I can't stress enough how horrible it is to purposefully hurt another player. It's so low that it should NEVER be considered as a viable option.
To make a long story short, I believe that Williams should eventually get another chance but from now on ANY player or coach that engages in the purposeful injuring of another player should indeed be banned for life.
And for anyone who believes that the Saints' attempts at injuring those 49ers' players was above board because Williams made no mention of money, you guys need to seriously re-evaluate what's important to you. How would you like it if a co-worker bashed in your knee with a baseball bat because they knew you were going to get a promotion they wanted? Seriously... if you're making excuses for Williams' speech because he failed to mention any monetary incentives, you really need to check yourself and ask yourself exactly where you missed the boat so badly.
We, as humans, should be able to engage in a GAME like football without trying to send people to the Intensive Care Unit. Our desire for personal success and glory should NOT drive us to trample over anyone in our path with reckless abandon.
In summary, we need to remember that sports are GAMES and that our opponents health is more important than a win or a loss.