Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Saints' Punishment Comes In

As a result of their three seasons of setting a "bounty pool" for opposing players, The New Orleans Saints will be fined $500,000 and two second-round draft picks. Head Coach Sean Payton will be suspended without pay for one year (irony: this means the Saints will save over $8 million), GM Mickey Loomis will be suspended for 8 games, and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will be suspended until Roger Goodell vomits.

I am...completely okay with this punishment. I think the "bounty pool" was a pretty egregious violation, and the punishment for that oughtta be harsh. I like that the punishment affects the management and front office, not just the players (I note that the further up the chain you go, the lighter your punishment is. That's weird, but given what we know about the situation, I do think it's fair to assume that culpability decreased further up the chain, too). I feel bad for Saints' fans for this upcoming season, but I don't know how you could have possibly structured a punishment without screwing them over, anyway. And hell, maybe this will inspire some more of us fans to think long and hard about how much violence we're willing to stand in the NFL, given that it now could have long-term consequences for our teams.

On the other hand, a lot of people I listen to are pretty apoplectic about this. I'm not sure I can follow them on this one. I understand that this punishment will not fix the problem of violence in football. I understand that it does nothing for players with concussions or long-term head injuries. But I don't know if anyone's saying it WILL, y'know? I mean, if this is the last thing that Goodell and the NFL do about violence, then yeah, it's not nearly enough. They can't clap their hands and say the problem is solved, like I said before. But I want to see if they do that before I condemn them for it.

I mean, the follow up is always important. But I don't see why this wasn't a good start.

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, I think the people that decry this judgment for the reason that it doesn't help past victims are really just digging for an excuse to attack the judgement because they can't say what they really think: That they have no problem with the bounty. Punishments by definition can not redress a wrong, they are punitive in nature for the express purpose of discouraging future conduct. If you think the bounty system was bad, then you WANT a harsh punishment to discourage future instances. But I'm not convinced that the critics really do want to discourage such a practice. In the case of former players, I'm not convinced it's because they didn't participate in such systems themselves, or at least aimed to injure people.

    If that's the case, their pearl clutching is simple projection. Deep down they know their behavior was wrong, or that their current beliefs are wrong, and they can't bear seeing society point that out and hold it up for judgment. So they look for an excuse to attack it.

    And if the argument is it doesn't do enough, well, I'm fine having that debate, as long as we don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Saying this punishment isn't enough to deter future conduct isn't justification for not handing down a punishment at all.