Last week I had to stay out of it, when Dictator Goodell wrongly suspended 4 players from the Saints in their dealing with "Bountygate" our own Captain of course took Goodell's side with these columns about how the message has been sent, and it was right for Vilma to lose a year and Goodell is the greatest. He is in reality just happy that this deflects the attention off the tainted championships in New England. Goodell is a hypocrite, liar and is nothing about an ego maniac.
This doesn't make it right, however, I would bet that most teams in the NFL used a pay for play system behind the scenes, it would be stupid to think otherwise. Darren Sharper of the New Orleans Saints said that every team he has ever played for (Green Bay and Minnesota) had these scenarios.
In 2011 Rex Ryan wrote a book Play Like You Mean It. From pages 16-17 of the chapter called Blunt-Force Trauma: “Each game we might also designate an opposing player with a dot. Players don’t want to be dotted by the New York Jets, because that means we want that dude knocked out of the game. Of course, it has to be legal and by the book. We don’t play dirty, and no way will we intentionally hurt a player with an illegal, cheap shot. We dot players fair and square. There are players out there who think they are badasses, and you just might see two of our players knock the hell out of him. Pow! Pow! That’s our mentality. Everything we do is aggressive and, hey, we may make a mistake, but we will go one hundred miles per hour and we will knock the hell out of you. Big hits create turnovers. You haven’t been Punked — you’ve been Dotted!” What is the real difference between the Saints and Jets other than money? It just seems as if they wanted to knock the players out of the game.
Now let's get to the suspension of Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Scott Fujita, and Will Smith. 1. they are way to long and extreme, 2. reports said that 20-27 people were involved in Gregg Williams bounty system, so why suspend 4. 3. The grey area is beyond significant for Goodell to make this statement, I saw a comment on this site last week that said there are reports that Gregg Williams gave Vilma 10k, our own BMack decided to put a link to Wikipedia as a reference (which is slightly embarrassing since it's written by people) but according to ESPN and NOLA.com, it seems as if Williams INDEED gave Jonathan Vilma 10K as a prop and a motivational tool since he was a captain and wanted it to last with the players. Reports also say, he gave back the 10K to Williams. From 2009-2011, the Saints did not get flagged anymore than the league average, there was no spike in Illegal hits, or knockouts. Most of the hits in the NFC Championship Game against the Vikings were legal, so who cares if they were hard, shouldn't players hit hard anyways, that's what I was always taught. Also when Anthony Hargrove knocked Kurt Warner out it was completely legal, even Kurt Warner said it was legal and thought other teams actually seemed to have it out for him more. So in fact, the spotlight of these 2 games, doesn't really prove anything, and in fact was that players were frowned upon for playing football.
Also, for players to be suspended for listening to orders from coaches is ridiculous. I get Gregg Williams getting banned, he can't run a program like this for the NFL to save face about player safety. And I'll even somewhat defend the suspensions on Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt. But for suspending players for following orders that the higher ups in the team, embedded, allowed and embraced is asinine. In a players mind, coaches dictate playing time, playing time dictates your next contract, your next contract gets you rich and helps your family, why would you want to risk that and not go along with Gregg Williams orders or way of dealing with things?
Also, if the Dictator was all for player safety why was he pushing for an 18 game season? He sees what has happened to former players and how the concussions and lingering injuries really mess up the mental health with some. So making the season longer and putting the players mental health in more jeopardy to me seems like he cares about 1 thing and 1 thing only. Money. And speaking of the former players, that Goodell says that he really cares about, take this quote from Jay Feely; "A lot of players don't believe he has their best interests at heart," Feely said. "If he did, he wouldn't have 200-plus workmen's compensation complaints caught up in the appeals process. He wouldn't be dismissing disability claims right off the bat. There are so many things that happen behind the scenes that fans don't know about that make players distrust him." The League could give 2 shits about player safety and it all starts and ends with money.