If you know nothing about the bounty program in the NFL, let me summarize. The New Orleans Saints had a system in place in which their defenders were paid bonuses of thousands of dollars for knocking players on the opposing team out of the game. Basically, they were given incentive to intentionally hurt other players.
“Oh gosh, that sounds awful,” you might think. Yes, it is awful. I particularly found this quote by Cam Newton, QB of the Carolina Panthers and a target on the bounty list, very moving:
“If I’m a running back, if I’m a receiver, if I’m a linebacker, if I’m a D-tackle, you always have to respect that other person’s career because they’re feeding families just like I’m trying to feed my parents,” Newton told the Los Angeles Times. “And if you take those joints, those ligaments away by taking a cheap shot, it’s bigger than one, little `Yes, we took down their starting quarterback.’ This quarterback can’t even throw no more because you took a late hit on him. Yeah, it’s 15 yards. But you’re limiting this guy’s whole career.”
I can too easily imagine men acting tough, claiming they would pound the snitch that snitched. That pisses me off. That’s not manly–that’s barbaric. This is the NFL–not a battle. If you want blood and guts, I’ll build you a time machine so you can watch the gladiator games. That ought to quench your thirst for blood.
That’s the problem of the NFL. It’s such a violent game inherently, and the league is trying to protect itself from becoming an unregulated fighting match. People want to see bigger booms, louder smacks, and nastier collisions. But we forget that these are young and grown men sacrificing their bodies for our viewing pleasure.
Go ahead and lecture me on brotherhood and camaraderie if you think this bounty program is something normal and to be expected. I won’t accept that. Just read Newton’s quote. The NFL is a job. It’s full of men trying to provide for themselves and their families. And you think providing incentive to harm those men, to decapitate them from their work? That’s like me coming after your dad with incentive to get him fired from his job.
Bounties in the NFL are stupid. They are a moral corruption of the game. If you defend them (fans or NFL players), you need to reassess your moral character. Bounties are for Boba Fett.
Newton’s quote also gives me a more profound respect for him.