Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Not so Saintly...

Today's NYTimes reports:

"The National Football League suspended New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton for a year without pay Wednesday for his role in the team’s bounty program, which promised money to players if they knocked opponents out of games. The unprecedented punishment was a stunning blow to one of the N.F.L.’s most successful teams, but also a strong message about how seriously the league took the threat to player safety."

Several other Saints, including their former defensive coordinator, are also in line for strong penalties.

I am primarily a baseball fan, but I do follow football (esp. the N.E. Patriots), and this seems the least that the League could do. It's one thing to steal signals -- cf. Patriots coach Bill Belichick and "Spygate" in which Belichick was, correctly, assessed a $500,000 fine --  but it's quite another to encourage your players to injure players from another team, and to offer financial bounties to do so -- the more serious the injury the bigger the payment. Even in a sport of casual violence, this is not just thuggery but management-sponsored thuggery. I think that the penalties, as announced so far, are probably not sufficient, and should be extended to very hefty fines to the team as a whole and individual players as well. (This may happen in the days to come.)

If we can't punish the banks and their officers who brutalized most of us, at least we should get some of the culprits who brutalized a major sport -- and, arguably, many of the fans who watch it.

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