July 29, 2011; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton (right) and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (left) talk during the first day of training camp at the New Orleans Saints practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Weighing in on NFL Bounty Penalties


There was some initial shock when the NFL yesterday came down hard those involved in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, not because of how much of a penalty was levied, but who and who wasn’t involved.  Initially, I saw head coach Sean Payton’s penalty as about right, then though it wasn’t harsh enough.  I feel the same about general manager Mickey Loomis, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and the Saints themselves.  As far as the front office goes, they got off easy.  The NFL is yet to weigh in on player penalties.  Word is now Congress is going to get involved.  Bad idea.

Payton is ultimately responsible for what took place on the field.  As far as I’m concerned, he got off easy.  The harshness of the penalty is mostly because he lied about the bounties, which is even more troubling.  Basically they are saying if he didn’t lie/cover it up, then he’d probably be on the field at some point in 2012.  Sure, Williams deserves the indefinite suspension, but just one year for Payton, 8 games for Loomis.  The Saints get fined.

Now Congress wants to have hearings on the subject.  Please.  Why can’t they just stay out of it?  What could possibly come out of the hearings?  Nothing but a waste of taxpayer money.  We didn’t vote our senators in to set up hearings about NFL players hurting one another.  First of all, it’s a rough sport as it is.  Let the NFL police themselves, even if the penalties in my estimation were not severe enough.  No good will come out of any Senate hearings.

I know we will hear about this for a long time.  The NFL will undoubtedly find punishment at the player level.  What that will look like remains to be seen.  For now,  Payton can’t coach until 2013 and Williams may never coach in the NFL again.  Fine by me.  Just keep government out of it.

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