I Don’t Get It

First off, I’d like to explain just what I’m talking about.

Recently, it was discovered that former New Orleans Saints defensive co-ordinator Gregg Williams used a bounty system with his defensive players that payed out money for game-ending hits on targeted players (a.k.a. the opposing team’s star players). The whole situation is a little more complex than that, but that’s the basic gist.

Now, I would like to say this: I understand why the NFL is looking into this. It is against the rules for players to be paid for in-game achievements. You can’t pay a guy for intercepting a pass. He’s already paid to play. And you can’t pay a guy for taking Tom Brady’s head off in the second quarter. So, this whole bounty thing is against the rules and I applaud the NFL for sticking to the rulebook. They should enforce the rules, otherwise what’s the point in having them?

What I don’t get is why this has blown up into such a big thing. I know player safety has become a hot topic in recent years, but come on. Are people stupid? This is fucking football, man. All they do is try to hurt each other. Whether a player is getting paid a “bounty” to take somebody out of the game or not, they’re going to try to do it.

You think Ray Lewis goes out on the field thinking “I’m am going to play it safe and make sure nobody gets hurt”? Of course not. He goes out there, looks at whatever quarterback he’s playing against that day and thinks “I’m gonna take this fucker’s head off”. Sure, he doesn’t want to literally kill the guy. But he does want to injure him. He wants his team to win, and if that means giving a guy a concussion or breaking an ankle, that’s what he’ll do. Gladly.

Or Ndamukong Suh. That guy is, in my opinion, the meanest player in the NFL right now. You think he doesn’t go out intending to injure? If you do, you need to check your head, my friend.

It’s the same for all the players. I named two guys who are known as tough, mean dudes, but it goes for pretty much any defensive player. And most of the offensive ones. If you get a chance to really hurt another team’s player, you take it. Because it gives your team a better opportunity to win. And that’s what you’re paid to do. To win.

If you really think about it, most defensive players are paid legitimately for the same thing. Obviously, there’s more to playing defense than just hurting people. But how do the real big name defenders rise to prominence? How do they make a name for themselves? Not by grabbing onto a guy’s jersey and holding him down. That’s for fucking sure. They get the fame, and the huge contracts, for dealing out punishment, punishment that frequently leaves the opposing players with broken bones and concussions. They get reputations as ferocious defenders, which gets them big money on their next contract. And what do you think all that money is going to them for? To be the same player, the same mean guy who wants to take opposing players right the fuck out of the game.

I’m not going to bother going into the fan appreciation angle of this story either. We all know how everybody says they hate to see a player get carried off the field. The fucking announcers say that same line every time it happens. But we all know it’s bullshit. Maybe the fans feel bad when it happens, but that’s just because they were screaming for blood two seconds earlier.

So, I don’t get it. What’s the big deal? That’s what I’m asking. Is everybody really so surprised? Is the idea that players want to hurt each other really so foreign?

Football may be a game, but the players, coaches, and various co-ordinators play to win. They want every advantage, and if they need to break a few rules, spend a few bucks under the table to get them, that’s what they’ll do.

Winning brings glory. Winning brings fame. Winning brings pleasure. Winning brings money. So the players try to hurt each other, bounty or no, because they want. They want it all, and a broken leg here or a dislocated shoulder there can get them a little closer to having it.

It’s not shocking. It’s common fucking sense.


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