Goodell letter to fans emphasizes bounties

AP

With the launch of the 2012 regular season only five days away, Commissioner Roger Goodell has closed the book on an eventful (to say the least) offseason by sending a letter to all NFL fans.

And while the letter makes no mention of the New Orleans Saints, it’s replete with references to the predicament that has plagued the league for month.

“Bounty” or “bounties” appears seven times in the seven-paragraph letter.

“Let me be clear: there is no place for bounties in football,” Goodell writes.  “No exceptions.  No excuses.  Bounties are an affront to everything that competitive sports should represent.  Everyone in the NFL is responsible for adhering to these rules and we are all accountable for protecting the safety of our players — present and future.”

And while most casual fans regard a bounty as an offer of money for the specific infliction of injury, Goodell’s letter defines it broadly.

“The bounty prohibition forbids offering or accepting any reward — cash or otherwise — for on-field misconduct, plays that incentivize or result in injury to opposing players, or for performance against an opposing player, group of players, or team,” Goodell writes.

By including within the definition “any reward . . .  for performance against an opposing player, group of players, or team,” Goodell has indirectly admitted that pretty much every team has had bounties.

What supposedly separated the Saints from other teams was the offer of cash for clean, legal hits that resulted in injury to an opponent, along with the publicly unsubstantiated claim that linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered cash for injury.  No one can credibly deny that other teams and/or players on other teams routinely have paid players for “performance against an opposing player, group of players, or team.”

It’s the NFL’s version of the helmet sticker, and the significant punishments imposed against the Saints surely won’t stop players from establishing discreetly among themselves a fine-and-reward system that takes money in for penalties and other blunders, and that pays money out for things the player already is trying to do, like intercept the ball or force a fumble.

Of course, players also are already trying to inflict injury via clean, legal hits, which would tend to strip the penalties against the Saints of some of their stigma.  But that debate still hasn’t been fully framed, and probably never will be.

 

36 responses to “Goodell letter to fans emphasizes bounties

  1. Roger not only punished the Saints without evidence–apparently he thinks he has the right to change the dictionary definitions of words.

  2. I don’t think sending emails like this reflects well on the office of the commissioner. No fans that I know of are up in arms over the bounty issue, and for the most part the whole subject has died down from a mainstream perspective. Why did the NFL feel the need to send this to fans today? I took the time to read it and found nothing of note or importance that hasn’t already been said elsewhere. I have an account with the NFL’s website to watch preseason games, not to receive persuasive letters on the league’s PR agenda.

  3. I bet more fans care about the referee situation than the bounty situation, Roger. Callous as it may be, most fans are less interested in player saftey as they are that their team gets that pass interference call.

  4. This is all posturing, another piece of evidence Goodell has created to use for when the NFL has to go to court and fight the concussion lawsuit.

    Always remember, guys, that Goodell’s background is as a lawyer and he was raised by a politician. The bounty punishments, the rule changes, the fines for big hits–it’s all part of a long term plan. When Goodell has to represent then NFL in court he can say “Look! Look! We did everything we could to make the game safe, you can’t blame us for players getting injured!”

  5. Hmmm. By that definition, all contract-based performance incentives are bounties. Way to clear things up, Rog.

  6. I thought this was resolved? Why can’t e send a letter to fans describing why he’s justified in being so cheap during the negotiations with the refs. No one is on the NFLs side on that debate.

  7. Goodell writes “we are all accountable for protecting the safety of our players — present and future.” I see he has phrased this so they have no connection to their responsibility to players past! Related to the concussion law suits?

  8. Florio:

    “It’s the NFL’s version of the helmet sticker, and the significant punishments imposed against the Saints surely won’t stop players from establishing discreetly among themselves a fine-and-reward system that takes money in for penalties and other blunders, and that pays money out for things the player already is trying to do, like intercept the ball or force a fumble.”

    ****************

    If this happens on ANY team in the NFL in the future, they better have players suspended. If the team knows about it, they better have front office personnel suspended, coaches suspended, fines and draft choices taken away. PERIOD!!!

    This whole thing was total bull. Saints did not do what Goodell said they did. They did not “target” players for injury. Did not happen, look at the game stats, and look at the Niners game which was played with ZERO penalties by the Saints and the only player injured was a Saints running back by a helmet to helmet hit by the Niners Defense!

    I hate Roger Goodell.

  9. RG by his own difinition, he has stated that the NFL’s “Player of the Week” program is illegial.

    “The bounty prohibition forbids offering or accepting any reward — cash or otherwise —

    1. for on-field misconduct,

    2. plays that incentivize or result in injury to opposing players, or

    3. for performance against an opposing player, group of players, or team,”

    Any player that accepts Player of the Week honors is subject to suspension!

    In an attempt to change his difinition of “bounty” to justify this injustice to the Saints, he basically screwed himself.

  10. “The bounty prohibition forbids offering or accepting any reward — for performance against an opposing player, group of players, or team,” Goodell writes.

    So, isn’t that the whole concept of the game of football in the NFL? Aren’t these guys playing for money to go perform against the opposing team?

  11. Man, I’m sick of hearing about this. I wish he would issue a gag order to The NFL Network and ESPN on this scandal like he did Spygate.

  12. The bounty prohibition forbids offering or accepting any reward — cash or otherwise — for on-field misconduct

    ____________________________

    I’m confused. Didn’t Goodell label bounties as an “off-field misconduct” and that’s why he has the authority to discipline over the matter?

  13. So Goodell takes it upon himself to educate the fans.
    Did he also educate the judicial system with his astute reasoning?

    This man is a politician through and through. Once we keep this in mind, nothing he does, says (or doesnt say) will surprise any one.

  14. “The bounty prohibition forbids offering or accepting any reward — cash or otherwise — for on-field misconduct, plays that incentivize or result in injury to opposing players, or for performance against an opposing player, group of players, or team,” Goodell writes.

    _________________________________

    Roger, now you said that you can impose the punishment because you considered the so called bounties off the field, now you are calling it on the field misconduct. Well, which is it sir. Because, if it is on field, which is what you are saying here then you had no right to impose the suspensions on the players. Once again you contradict yourself. See the problem with someone that lies is after doing it long enough you get your stories all messed up. Keep up the lies roger…obviously you aren’t good at it though.

  15. asw1028 says:
    Aug 31, 2012 1:33 PM
    This is all posturing, another piece of evidence Goodell has created to use for when the NFL has to go to court and fight the concussion lawsuit.

    Always remember, guys, that Goodell’s background is as a lawyer and he was raised by a politician. The bounty punishments, the rule changes, the fines for big hits–it’s all part of a long term plan. When Goodell has to represent then NFL in court he can say “Look! Look! We did everything we could to make the game safe, you can’t blame us for players getting injured!”
    ________
    Once again, Goodell is not a lawyer, never has been. He went to school for economics.

  16. dexterismyhero says:
    Aug 31, 2012 1:20 PM
    Saints are guilty. End of story. Move on
    please.
    =================

    I’m sorry but guilty of what? Roger said that the Saints had a bounty system going on then retracted his allegations by saying that the Saints had a pay for performance system in place and therefore is in violation to the salary cap. What you don’t understand is that the coaches, management, and players were suspended for the bounty system. And in the midst of a faulty and flawed ‘investigation’ that incurred >50,000 pages of evidence, he had a media campaign and smeared the entire organization and the entire Saints defense.

    So, I’m going to ask you again: the Saints are guilty of what?

  17. “Of course, players also try to inflict injury on players with good clean hits.”

    I dont agree with that. You may have a very small faction in players that want to hurt others, but very small. Now, to tell me players want to hurt someone and get them out of the game, im in agreeance. But to injure people, no. And yes, theres a difference between hurt and injured.

  18. Goodell had no good reason to rehash this Bounty issue other than for Political posturing.Goodell’s career in the NFL began in 1982 as an administrative intern in the league office in New York under then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle – a position secured through an extensive letter-writing campaign to the league office and each of its then 28 teams.He has never attended Law School and has a BS degree in Economics from Washington and Jefferson College in 1981.

  19. asw1028 says:
    Aug 31, 2012 1:33 PM
    The bounty punishments, the rule changes, the fines for big hits–it’s all part of a long term plan. When Goodell has to represent then NFL in court he can say “Look! Look! We did everything we could to make the game safe, you can’t blame us for players getting injured!”
    ————————————————————
    These changes have no effect on the current litigation the NFL faces. The complaints have already been filed they allege that the NFL was negligent in the way it handled concussion injures and research in the past. While then NFL may try to use it to show that they are doing better now it will have no bearing on the evidence of what they did since the 1920’s which is when some complaints allege the NFL first became aware of the dangers of concussions.

  20. Shouldn’t this go to the court, not the court of public opinion? He is about to be overruled, now he pleads his case with the fans…

  21. Sorry, but it seems that Roger Gooduff is losing touch with the whole thing. Really? Of course trying to injure is not acceptable. But accusing and penalizing a person without evidence is also unacceptable…..
    This letter is once again Gooduff grandstanding!

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