Harsh punishment but NFL gets it right
Now, that’s punishment.
Swift. Uncompromising. Heavy. Message-sending.
The punishment, of course, is that meted out by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on the New Orleans Saints yesterday, a wallop of unprecedented proportions, lengthy suspensions, heavy fines, the forfeiture of roster-restoring draft picks in a league that generally lives off them.
In case you missed it, the gory details are here; short story is coach gone a year, former defensive co-ordinator gone “indefinitely” with the GM out eight games and another assistant gone for six. Oh, and there’ll be draft picks lost and big old cheques to write to pay fines.
Look, the NFL is a game of violence, incredible violence, and everyone who plays the game knows the inherent risks. But to exacerbate those risks by paying out money for knocking opponents either senseless or out of the game is simply wrong: It puts premeditation into a game of lightning-quick reflex and reaction.
And if they have to deliver some harsh punishment as much for the penalty as the deterrent, so be it.
Head coach Sean Payton, who is by all accounts an otherwise decent and honourable, had to bear the brunt of the punishment and I'm fine with that.
It’s tough but, you know what? Coaches are ultimately responsible for all in their charge and it is incomprehensible to me that in the militaristic life that is the NFL, Peyton wasn’t fully aware of what was going on and totally okay with what was going on. If he wasn’t tacitly approving of it, he could have stopped it, there can be no doubt of that. And if he didn’t know? Well, I don’t see that as a possibility, frankly.
Sure, the penalties are a bit Draconian but so what? It’s a first, Goodell has sent an unequivocal message that all will hear.
And that’s the best part of it.
I refuse to believe that this is an isolated event and that this punishment is as much to dissuade others as it is to make the Saints pay for the indiscretion of getting caught.
I am sure – as sure as an outsider can be, that is – that other “bounty” programs existed last year, the year before that and the year before that. They weren’t perhaps as well organized as the New Orleans one but they have existed before.
Now? Now I cannot imagine anyone taking the chance to try something as stupid; the penalties are more harsh than even well-respected NFL scribblers were expecting. Sure, fines and suspensions were coming – a bounty program is exponentially worse than the New England SpyGate and that cost a lot of money and draft picks – but to this end?
Tough measures indeed.
And well worth it.
And well done.
Oh yeah …
It’ Canadian Music Week now and that’d a good thing.
Burton Cummings is being honoured or somesuch tonight, fittingly, I’d say. Where’s he rank? Or where does the Guess Who? This guy can warble, can’t he? And that was a heckuva band.
(Last time I heard them? Warming up for a reunion show to close the 1999 Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg, standing in the parking lot of the old Winnipeg Arena before covering a basketball game, phone aloft calling home so the people back here could hear)
Oh yeah …
Tough times indeed
No, I don’t know what’s going on with Andrea Bargnani but he’s sure not shooting it particularly well, is he?
Had a couple of nice drives – the pump-fake-dunk the other night in New York was impressive, tried to take Noah off the dribble a few times last night – but the shot’s not falling.
I’ll go with Dwane on it and figured it’ll come (there’s quote here in the game story to that effect) and, believe me, Andrea knows he’s kind of sucking lately.
"The injury is fine, the leg is fine … I'm playing really bad offensively."
Don’t imagine it’s a permanent thing.
More troubling …
Might be the woes of Linas Kleiza, who was 2-for-9 against the Bulls, is 11-for-35 in his last five games, including 2-for-10 from three-point range.
And given the absence of Leandro Barbosa from the second unit, there’s a dearth of scoring there and Kleiza is being given every opportunity to solve it.
Just couldn’t go
That’d be Jerryd Bayless, who lasted all of about 90 seconds before his hip locked up and it became apparent that he couldn’t run, let alone function at 100 per cent in an NBA game.
Give him credit for trying – he told me before the game he was a bit stiff but felt not too bad considering the whack he took from Amar’e Stoudemire in New York the night before.
But there’s no room for heroes and shutting him down quickly was the best for everyone concerned.
Mail? Love some. Don’t have nearly enough and you need to help me out.
In New York?
Oh, don’t you think the media’s going to have some fun with that one?
And don’t you think the Jets are playing with fire by trading for him?
They just gave Mark Sanchez about a kabillion dollars in a contract extension and then they go and trade for a much-loved backup who is going to be a favourite with the fans and after the first three-interception Sunday of Sanchez’s season, and you know that’s coming early in the season, the big old Quarterback Controversy is going to raise its ugly head.
And as a dispassionate observer, I’m all for it.