The Hardest Hitting Commissioner

By on March 22, 2012

The "Don" Roger Goodall (PR Photo)

Someone, please, tell me Roger Goodell was wrong in the punishments he dished out over the New Orleans Saints’ bounty system so I can tell you you’re wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I despise Roger Goodell as the commissioner of the NFL, but he was right in his stiff penalties for many different reasons.

As an Ohio State student and fan, I know what it’s like to lose a coach to scandal. The forced resignation of Jim Tressel taught me that the lie is usually worse than the crime—and it’s safe to assume we can all agree this bounty system is a bit worse than players receiving improper benefits.

By lying to Roger Goodell after being warned about their bounty system, the Saints sealed their own fate and made the penalties worse than if they were just honest. The Buckeyes lost a head coach and were completely banned from postseason play in the 2012-2013 season. The Saints lost head coach Sean Payton for the entire 2012-2013 season (and he won’t see a cent of the $7.5 million he was due), the Saints will lose multiple draft picks and former defensive coordinator Greg Williams is suspended indefinitely. Those punishments aren’t as rough as Tressel’s, who can’t coach at any university in the next five years.

Some people feel like Goodell was too tough on the Saints and really “lowered the boom” on them. Let’s not forget what kind of commissioner Goodell is. He doesn’t take any nonsense that reflects poorly on the league and hates being lied to. Just ask “Pacman” Jones and Mike Vick how the whole lying thing works out.

Not only that, but Goodell has made it clear it is his job to enforce player safety and a bounty system promotes the exact opposite. It’s no coincidence that the Saints had bounties on Brett Favre and Kurt Warner and each ended their careers due in large part to injuries sustained in playoff games against New Orleans. A bounty system is literally putting out a “hit” on certain players and rewards players on your team who execute those orders, whether it was clean or dirty.

We have to remember that the NFL is being sued by former players left and right due to lack of safety in the game. Obviously nothing can be done

Brees - Brady: Bounty Gate/ Spy Gate (PR Photo)

to make football completely safe outside of removing pads and making everyone wear flags. However, Goodell has to make a statement that the things that can be controlled, like implementing a bounty system, are completely removed from the game.

In addition to the safety concerns, knowledge of a bounty system in the NFL makes for Goodell’s worse nightmare—it makes the league look like a bunch of thugs. Many former players are disgusted that players and coaches would put money on maiming other players. Just how would the average non-football fan view this? If it’s wrong to gamble money on animal violence, we shouldn’t encourage people to intentionally try to hurt others. Violence is a part of the game, but rewarding players for going after one another is barbaric.

I applaud Goodell for making a stand against the bounty system and going after the right guys. My biggest criticism of Goodell has always been that he seemingly had it out for the players and didn’t support the players. Goodell said he holds management and coaches to a higher standard in this particular case, but he is not finished and will penalize the players involved later. With these major penalties he’s shown he is consistent between penalizing players, coaches and management.

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