Stupid and Reprehensible

Last week I wasproud to be a New Orleanian. This week not so much after the revelation of theSaints’ “bounty” scandal. Football is a violent enough sport without players deliberately trying to hurt someone. Unfortunately, some Saints fans are already resorting to the lame “everyone does it” defense. That reminds me of Tricky Dick’s apologists during Watergate. The Picayune’s Jeff Duncan sums the whole sordid mess up quite well:

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Saints had become America’s Team. Everyone universally loved the story of their post-storm chumps-to-champs makeover. So much for that.

The Saints will now rank alongside the Spygate Patriots and cocky Cowboys among the most despised teams in the NFL. This story will follow the Saints for years. It’s not going to go away after the league hands down its punishment.

It also will tarnish the legacy of owner Tom Benson, who appeared to do everything right in this case yet was failed by the men he entrusted to lead his organization. Loomis and Payton were derelict in their duties.

This wasn’t a one-time indiscretion. This was organized, institutionalized system of improper behavior and actions that took place over an extended period and condoned by team leaders.


Everybody loves a winner. Everybody, likewise, hates a sinner. And in the NFL there are few greater sins than playing dirty on the field and defying the commissioner off of it.

In this case, not even the Saints can expect salvation.

Their punishment will be harsh. It will be extensive. And it will be just.

12 thoughts on “Stupid and Reprehensible

  1. I felt that way last night, but after watching ESPN all morning and reading many articles, I feel differently. It seems this was going on across the NFL. The Saints are merely the scapegoat for whatever reason. It’s disgusting no matter who was doing it and as many have pointed out …there were no dirty plays- they would have been called on it. Hits were clean. And how many times were Saints players victims of such “bounties”. This is just the tip of the iceberg and let’s hope the investigation continues because if the Saints are the only ones punished in this…thats a greater atrocity.

  2. Look, even Matt Taibbi (a huge football fan) says he doesn’t know how much longer he can justify a sport that’s causing brain damage. Now we know what these hits do. Will we continue to support the sport, anyway?

  3. @Lisa: There seem to be different bounties BUT the Saints were involved in trying to injure players so badly that they had to leave the game. That’s inexcusable whoever does it.

  4. I dunno, but to me there’s more than a bit of Inspector Renault in this. Incentives to knock opposing players out of the game? Hmmm…didn’t Al Davis famously say “the quarterback must go down, and must go down hard” decades ago? On the flip side, anyone remember Tony Siragusa knocking (Raider) quarterback Rich Gannon out of a playoff game by falling on him? Something tells me that wasn’t by accident.
    Luther Campbell admitted to paying Miami Hurricane players bounties for hits. Gregg Williams made it clear they were going after Brett Favre and I remember watching the game and thinking more than once that they were really pushing the edge…and that a younger, less controversial Brett Favre might well have seen a few (non) calls go in his favor.
    My guess is that this will be a black eye, but in a few months the scandal will go away…however, bounties, or whatever they’re called, won’t. Like it or not, they’re a part of the game, along with all sorts of stuff we don’t know about and for fans of American rules football, stuff they probably don’t want to know about.

  5. They used to write the names on their towels in the early 1980s. Their “hit list”. The NFL made them stop writing down the names of their targets. Then we all pretended that was the end if it.

  6. I think the bounties are reprehensible.
    OTOH, I’ve always expected such – makes me wonder if the Saints “just got caught.” Because of that, I am wondering if the powers that be will just make an example of the Saints and not do anything about a systemic problem -or- if they will actually care enough to do something league wide. Admittedly, I’m not holding my breath due to, like any other corporation, several delays and even outright fighting the implementation of safety measures in other cases (for example, you mentioned the problem with concussions).

  7. Football is one of my favorite game to watch. Actually I am one of the avid fan of one of the famous football team. I can say that this is not a violent game. This is what we call “depend”.

  8. Love my Saints. The punishment should be harsh. Learn from it and move on from this dumbass policy.
    Just a dumbass, cheap, low-class action. Pisses me off to know this was going on.

  9. The referees are key to this. How were they involved? What was their payment? It could not happen without their allowing it. I saw several obvious infractions against Favre before he was “taken out.” The refs let it go on.

  10. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Saints had become America’s Team
    No they didn’t. Does this guy even know how sports fandom works?
    Everyone universally loved the story of their post-storm chumps-to-champs makeover
    No they didn’t.
    /Colts fan

  11. Well, damn.
    Here I thought a couple good things had come from the NFL: Drew Brees and Sean Payton, as well as Tony Romo. (Yeah, that’s what I watch football for … Brees and Romo. Receivers like Witten and Austin don’t hurt.)

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