Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett apparently didn’t get the memo. Or if he did, he tore it up and laughed.
Our money is on the latter.
Dockett, whose new facemask can be described with no words yet spawned by the English language, has taken to Twitter on Friday morning to explain why he plays football: “1 reason I love this game is bc I can inflict physical, bodily harm to another individual in an environment which it is morally acceptable.”
This sentiment underscores the reality that, with or without bounties, football is a rough-and-tumble game in which large men with bad intentions collide with other large men who possibly have worse intentions. Removing from the process an envelope full of cash doesn’t make guys less inclined to try to hurt each other.
Most if not all realize the strategic benefit to knocking opposing players out of games. Some simply enjoy it.
The problem with Dockett’s statement is that, in recent years, the range of moral acceptability has narrowed. The NFL, in an effort to make an inherently unsafe game safer, systematically is trying to remove from the game opportunities to inflict “physical, bodily harm” that are deemed unnecessary to the act of advancing the ball or tackling the guy who has it.
Still, the NFL never will be able to police the hearts and minds of the men who apply clean hits that happen to inflict injury. The league would like us to believe that the injuries are incidental. The reality is that, for plenty of the guys who play the game, the injuries are intended — whether to help the team win or simply because the guy delivering the hit (as Dockett admits) likes inflicting bodily harm in a setting where no one can get sued or arrested.