Last month, after the Saints’ bounty scandal emerged, Chiefs safety Eric Berry hinted on Twitter that he possibly was the victim of a bounty in the team’s Week One game against the Bills, when Berry suffered a torn ACL after being hit low by receiver Stevie Johnson on a running play.
Johnson denied that possibility, strongly.
“Throughout this whole season, I thought about that hit,” Johnson told PFT Live on March 6. “I don’t ever want to hurt anybody else in this league, in this fraternity.
“I apologized to Eric Berry and all that, because he missed an entire season, and he’s an elite DB . . . . As a receiver they tell you, ‘Cut block downfield,’ and that’s what we were doing, and I did that and he ended up getting injured. I’m not sure if it was completely on that play, but if it was I apologized for that.
“I didn’t cut block for the rest of the year,” Johnson added, “just because of that, a simple block that had taken him out for the entire season.”
Though Berry has since said his tweet on the matter was “pretty much a joke,” he recently reiterated his suspicions.
“They got the tape out there, you can make your own opinion,” Berry said, via the Associated Press, in an article that mentions neither Johnson nor his denial. “I mean, my opinion is my opinion. People are going to take it how they want to take it anyway.”
If Berry thinks he was the target of a bounty, he needs to say so. Cryptic messages will serve only to maintain a cloud of suspicion over Johnson and the Bills. So instead of essentially saying “I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’,” Berry needs to say clearly that he believes he was the target of a bounty, or that he wasn’t.
And if he thinks he was, he needs to say why.
This is a serious topic, and casual and/or incomplete allegations of the existence of a bounty make light of the problem.