I am not condoning the Saints’ bounty system.
I am not saying that I’m comfortable hearing former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams talk openly about hitting players in the head.
But, honestly, what did we think was said in NFL locker rooms?
What type of mentality do you think it takes to play football? Nevermind play it in the NFL?
It is a brutally physical sport played by men that are called gladiators and warriors. Some of them play in “the trenches.” They often “battle.” Players often call their games a “war.” The strongest don’t just survive but win. And as the most celebrated coach in the sport’s history (Vince Lombardi) once famously said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
Yet now we are suppose to be shocked that apparently the opponents are trying to hurt each other?
In fact, they are trying to knock each other out of the game. Because that gives them a better chance of winning.
All of this sudden concern in the last two or three years for “player safety” is because NFL commissioner Roger Goodell saw a lawsuit coming. Two months ago it arrived. Dozens of former players suing for unspecified damages saying the league did not do enough to protect its players.
Now I’m the same guy who a year ago wrote that because of recent scientific data we needed to limit the amount of hitting and head trauma that occurs during football practice at the Pop Warner, high school and college levels. Not games, but practice! Now while I think more should be done to protect the bodies and brains of those not yet old enough to drink, unless you are going to outlaw football (along with hockey, MMA and boxing), people are going to get hurt when they play it.
It really is like smoking. Everybody knows it’s not good for you. We don’t even let you smoke until a certain age. But after that, if you want to smoke, fine. You are likely dying faster than the non-smoker next to you, but knock yourself out.
This just in, football is not good for your health. So if you play it, realize that bad things may happen to your body. It was and is your decision to play. In the back of your mind you either knew, had a good idea or just ignored what was possible.
No former or current player deserves to be hurt. No one deserves to suffer after their playing days. But actions have consequences.
I think it’s appalling that the former NFL players don’t have a better pension from their own union and health insurance for life provided by the NFL. That is the compromise that the NFL and the NFLPA need to seek out right now.
The former players want some money and better benefits. Give it to them. You will be swimming in $20 billion of revenue annually by the end of the decade. A lawsuit can ruin your league. If you are found guilty you won’t have enough money to pay everyone off. If you are found guilty, then the other sports where violence is apparent are also doomed.
Enough with the Bountygate!
Settle the lawsuit by doing “the right thing” that should have been done decades ago.
And then give us the NFL back. You remember the NFL?
Nitschke, Butkus, LT and Ray Lewis.
A league that thrived because of its violence.
Instead of everyone complaining about it.