Once again the spin machine located in the National Football League offices in New York City is hard at work. As former Saints’ and current Rams’ Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams goes before the ‘assistant principals’ today, many are expecting the League to make a huge example of the Saints, many players, and Williams for what is now being called “BountyGate.”
How many frickin’ ‘Gates’ are there these days and do we really need another one by the way? Apparently Hollywood isn’t the only industry that has lost its’ creativity. As of right now, Williams isn’t even scheduled to meet with Roger Goodell and will instead meet with two League security officials. In other words, Goodell is so concerned about ‘player safety’ that he doesn’t feel it necessary to meet with Williams himself.
Never mind that Goodell had no problem summoning Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker James Harrison to New York because of his actions on the field. Whether you think Harrison crosses the line at times isn’t the point because even I admit he leads with his head, but this isn’t my point. Why now is Goodell all of the sudden ramping up the rhetoric for ‘player safety’ once again? The Baltimore Ravens’ Terrell Suggs actually used the word ‘bounty’ in a radio interview in which he said the Ravens were clearly targeting the Steelers’ Hines Ward and Rashard Mendenhall. For their part, the NFL gave Suggs a ‘warning.’ I can sense the fear Suggs must have from this painful, discipline!!!! What a joke.
Already some of the top NFL writers are buying into the notion that Goodell will come down with the wrath of Zeus on these individuals. Peter King of Sports Illustrated claims Goodell will be just as hard here as he was on the Patriots for SpyGate. If this is true, Saints Head Coach Sean Payton and the ownership will be slapped on the wrist with a ‘hefty fine’ and loss of draft picks. Golly gee, that ought to show them! It sure did teach the Pats a lesson didn’t it?
If Goodell is serious about curbing this behavior then he’ll suspend Payton and Williams for a significant amount of time as well as the players who were involved. If you’re going to fine guys like James Harrison and Ryan Clark and Ndamukong Suh for actions on the field then he damn well better go after calculated ploys aimed at seriously injuring players for money.
The bounty is nothing new in professional football. It’s been around in one circle or another for decades. The problem is that the League has done nothing more than give these acts warnings which are absolutely useless and act as no deterrent whatsoever. Goodell has a huge opportunity here to once and for all put this favoritism that people like me accuse him of having to bed. I’m not holding my breath.
How will he look on the witness stand when he is testifying in the case brought by former players for head and other injuries if he has not proven to be the ‘hammer’ his minions claim he is? I have no doubt that Goodell will find a moment in his schedule today to pop in on Williams and have a chat. What results from this entire mess had better be swift and severe punishment because Goodell can’t handle any more bad press when it comes to ‘player safety’ and what he calls “Protecting the shield.”