Phillip Thompson

Crime Fiction writer

This isn’t a sports blog, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least comment on the latest NFL scandal brewing in New Orleans. I say “brewing” because it’s a long way from being over. The news broke yesterday that the Saints former defensive coordinator, Greg Williams, ran a “bounty program” — more like a “pay for pain” program — wherein players were paid cash bonuses for knocking opposing players, especially quarterbacks, out of the game. This program allegedly went on from 2009 through last year (yes, that includes their Super Bowl season). You can read the ESPN story here.

I’m not going to go on ad nauseum about this. I’m a lifelong Saints fan and will remain so. As far as this illegal activity goes, I kinda apply the “Baretta” rule to it: don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. Don’t do it. The team screwed up royally, and should pay the price for it.

I’m not, however, going to overreact like some fans I’ve seen and heard and start calling for heads and blood and impugning everything in New Orleans. I hate that it happened, but even the two quarterbacks most affected by the bounty program, Kurt Warner and Brett Favre, said, essentially, “Hey, it’s football.” And Warner took one of the most ungodly hits on a quarterback I’ve ever seen.

And this really has nothing whatsoever to do with the Saints’ negotiations with Drew Brees for a new contract. This issue will inevitably spill over onto that, but the two are separate matters. I hope they stay that way. And for the record, I don’t think Brees is being greedy or selfish or anything other than a player who has a brand and a market value that he’s trying to protect. He ain’t negotiating the price of a new car.

So the Saints are going to pay a heavy price. As the great Stan Lee would say, ’nuff said.

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