Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers became surprisingly emotional when asked about the Saints’ bounty program in a TV interview, showing anger and sadness and even suggesting that those involved should go to prison.
Sayers said in an interview for Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s Inside Look that he was disgusted by the Saints’ bounty program and that he believes the Saints’ players and coaches should be banned from the sport.
“How can you do that? I have never had anybody say ‘I’m going to break your arm.’ Never!” Sayers said. “They should never go out there and play this game again, go out and coach this game again.”
Sayers also said there are “owners out there that are telling there football players . . . ‘Go out and I will give you $1,500 to break his leg, to break his arms.’” With that comment, Sayers either misspoke or misunderstood the facts of the NFL’s investigation into the Saints’ bounty program. There have been no allegations at all that Saints owner Tom Benson was involved in any type of pay-to-injure scheme.
But Sayers believes strongly that the Saints did something very, very wrong. When interviewer David Kaplan told Sayers that some people think those involved in bounties should go to jail, Sayers replied, “You’re damn right they should.”
Sayers, whose career with the Bears was cut short by knee injuries, shed tears as he spoke, and obviously feels passionately about the topic. The interview is hard to watch, but it’s even harder to look away. Legendary figures in football history don’t often express this kind of fury about the game.