From now on I will only address Roger Goodell as the hammer. When the hammer comes down on you, he comes down on you. Today Commissioner Goodell added the final nails to “Bounty Gate” coffin handing out some harsh and blistering punishment to four of the New Orleans Saints players involved in the melodrama that has become a backdrop of NFL controversy since allegations of bounty payments were revealed over two months ago.
The Saint hammered the hardest was defensive leader Jonathan Vilma who will miss the entire 2013 NFL Season and forfeit $2.6 million in base salary.
:The Discipline handed down are that Jonathan Vilma will miss the entire 2013 season without pay.
:Scott Fujita (Now with the Browns) will miss the first three regular season games without pay.
:Anthony Hargrove (Now with the Packers) will miss the first eight regular season games without pay.
:Will Smith of the Saints will miss the first four regular season games without pay.
In a statement released by the NFL and Commissioner Goodell, he stated that “It is the obligation of everyone, including the players on the field, to ensure that rules designed to promote player safety, fair play, and the integrity of the game are adhered to and effectively and consistently enforced.”
The Hammer Goodell also said, “Respect for the men that play the game starts with the way players conduct themselves with each other on the field.”
It has been reported that Vilma received the harshest punishment because the line-backer helped create and support the bounty program. On two occasions Vilma was at the forefront of bounty payments offering $10,000 payments for big hits on Brett Favre and Kurt Warner during the 2009 Super Bowl run.
Upon first glance the punishments are harsh and somewhat shocking. From a business and product perspective the suspensions are warranted and necessary for Goodell and the NFL. This great league I love is under fire from all angles regarding player safety and treatment. The NFL is currently bracing itself for lawsuits from former players who feel their safety and will being was jeopardized during their playing days.
The NFL is the best thing going and all those involved from players, fans, coaches, and ownership understand that this a physical and violent games and those qualities are reason the game is special. Bounty systems have no place in the game and turn it from competition to savagery.