The New Orleans Saints have certainly been big news lately with their "bounty" system having been exposed. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has dropped the hammer on their management side, with everything from suspensions, loss of draft picks, and hefty fines. Some of the players involved are probably pretty nervous right about now, because they're next. Like the old saying goes -- Justice cometh, and that right soon.
Yet an argument has been made by some that this doesn't go far enough. They maintain the bounty system should be regarded as a criminal matter, subject to prosecution, and the penalties thereof.
What they seem to overlook is bounties have been, and still are, interwoven into the very fabric of America. An outrageous statement? I don't think so. Though there's a lot of examples, here's just a few.....
Consider the Old Wild West in America. Bounties were commonplace. Many times the poster said "dead or alive". Never mind a trial and evidence, cold blooded murder was not only accepted, but encouraged. It didn't matter if the bounty hunter(s) shot the alleged bad guy in the back, or even while he slept. Throw the corpse on a horse or wagon, bring him in, and they got their money -- no questions asked. They weren't considered criminals. Far from it. They became legends.
Fast forward. The Kennedy administration offered a bounty on Fidel Castro of Cuba. Dead or alive. During his roughly 50 year rule of Cuba, what did Fidel ever do to harm the United States? Nothing.
FF again. 9/11 hits the USA, and there's bounties everywhere after the terrorist attacks. $10 million for bin Laden, $5 million for this guy, $3 million for that guy, etc, etc. The Bush administration even made them into a deck of cards. Remember that? Dead or alive. Show us the body and here's your money. Just like the old west.
On a lower level, there's thousands of "bounty hunters" in the United States right now. Notwithstanding the Dawg show on cable TV, many of these people don't wish to be called that anymore. Nowadays, they're "skip-tracers". It's just another step in the politically correct nonsense that makes bald people "follicly challenged", and the like. That means chasing down people that have stiffed a bail bondsman and didn't show up in court. Oftentimes these bounty hunters run roughshod over a citizen's rights. But as long as they can deliver the body and get their money, no questions asked, that's all that seems to matter.
If you want to start making criminals of the people who not only offer the bounty in the first place, but do bad things to collect it -- then start in Washington DC. Maybe we should dig up all those old west heroes that still have their boots on, and have them flogged posthumously. Might as well give JFK a few lashes too. Modern day bounty hunters? Make them ring the doorbell like the Avon lady.
The Saints had a bounty system. A thousand here and a thousand there. This was amongst players that are making hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars every year. The whole mindset of the NFL is to beat the tar out of the other guys. Do you really think an extra grand or two made that much of a difference to these guys in how they played? That's chump change.
Bottom line? It's all about perception. Like most large corporations/companies, the NFL is very image conscious these days. Through the media, the public is much more aware of injuries, such as concussions, than they were in the past. Roger Goodell is trying to walk a fine line between keeping the NFL as a hard-hitting intensive sport -- which, by the way, firmly established the NFL as the king of American pro sports in the first place -- while trying to appease those that think the sky is falling every time a serious injury occurs.
As for possible criminal prosecution involving the Saints bounty program? I'll go along with that on one condition. That the people that are advocating it get charged with felonious ignorance of history, with a misdemeanor charge of wimpiness tacked on.
Those aren't laws? Well, they ought to be.