This is humorous, if it wasn't so obvious.
NFL teams and players offering cash rewards for big hits on their opponents? NO! Say it ain't so!
So now NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is going to come in like the local sheriff who breaks up the high-stakes poker game. Even though he was just at the game twice last week. Please! This is about appearances. Not to the fans who love the NFL, in large part because of the violence. This is all about how the NFL is going to look in court in a few years.
Because in late January, the NFL was sued by some if its former players for not doing enough on behalf of their safety. There is no settling this case. The players want big money, and the NFL can't afford to write one check, because if they write one they'll be writing them forever. So this is going to trial before a jury.
The NFL saw it coming. For a year they have talked about player safety all the time. Even changed a few rules, they claim, on behalf of player safety. So now when they discover that apparently players have tried to hurt other players and were even given cash incentives to do so, well they are shocked and appalled!
Right! Kind of like the E-Trade baby's face when the guy next to him doesn't win the scratch-off lottery. Oooohhh!
If Goodell wanted to be a commissioner of integrity and not a pandering fool of hypocrisy and hyperbole, he would announce the following.
"Bounties may have had a place in the NFL and it's come to my attention, have been in place since before we had Super Bowls. But not anymore. Any team that is caught allowing a bounty to take place will forfeit five first-round picks. Any coach caught implementing a bounty system will be fired and banned from the league. The same for any player. The NFL is a game of contact, not one with an intent to injure, and it will not be tolerated from this point forward.
"I am not suspending or fining any players, coaches or general managers who have conducted bounties in the past. To do so would be selective retribution at best and hypocritical at worst, since apparently this was an accepted part of the league in some form. But not anymore.
"As for the New Orleans Saints, they will forfeit their 2013 first-round draft pick (since they don't have a first-round pick this year) for not stopping this when we first found out about the bounties and told them it must be stopped. When the commissioner's office tells you to do something, you do it. You don't just pass the buck and hope it gets done."
Why five first-round picks? When the Minnesota Timberwolves were found to have intentionally circumvented the salary cap to sign a player, the NBA penalized them with forfeiture of five first-round picks. Why do the Saints get penalized a first-round pick? Because the Patriots were penalized a first-round pick for Spygate.
But this will not happen. Because this is not about fairness. This is all about winning a lawsuit later this decade.
The Saints are going to lose more than a first-round pick. Expect fines totaling a million dollars for general manager Mickey Loomis, head coach Sean Payton and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Williams, who is now the defensive coordinator in St. Louis, will likely be suspended at least half the season, if not all of it. Payton will likely be suspended two to four games. Players known to have offered bounties will be suspended, too. Goodell is going to go to town on these people, because he can.
Because he wants the league to look good.
Not to his players or fans.
But for 12 potential jurors a few years down the road.
This is all about C.Y.A.
Which might as well become Roger Goodell's middle name.