Costas applauds punishment of Saints

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The halftime essays from Bob Costas have become a staple Sunday Night Football on NBC.  This year, the handiwork of Costas and Aaron Cohen (who has the misfortune of sitting next to me in the viewing room at 30 Rock every Sunday) has secured a nomination for the Dick Schaap Writing Award, to be presented at the 2012 Sports Emmys.

And so it’s fitting that, on one of the craziest offseason days in NFL history, Costas presented an extemporaneous essay.  Last night on NBC SportsTalk, Costas shared his views on the punishment imposed by Commissioner Roger Goodell against those non-players responsible for the three-year bounty debacle.

For those of you who can’t watch or won’t sit through 15 seconds of pre-roll advertising, here’s what Bob said.

“I want to stand up and cheer for Roger Goodell.

“Now, the penalty to the players, which may be a little trickier because he may face some resistance from the Players Association; but the penalty for the players will be forthcoming, we are led to believe in about a week, and I think they will also be appropriately severe.

“He has made an important statement today. And anyone who thinks that the Saints are scapegoats because of the present atmosphere in the NFL, maybe their timing was off, but they deserve every bit of this. They are blatantly guilty of something that has no place whatsoever in sports.

“And it goes beyond the idea of bounties. If people interpret this as, ‘Well no one will ever have any bounties anymore’ at least not anything that can be traced, Roger Goodell is sending a message about the culture of the game, about the celebration of a kind of violence, a kind of brutality that goes above and beyond anything that reasonable people should accept.

“It’s understood within football, whether there are bounties or not, that many players, not all, maybe not most, that many players are either indifferent to whether or not they injure opponents or actually take pride and glee in injuring opponents.  There is no question about it.  This is not isolated to the New Orleans Saints.

“The NFL as it is presently constituted is a great, great game that’s exciting in many ways, interesting in many ways, and clearly is America’s most popular sport.  It also has a serious problem because it is fundamentally brutal in a way that reasonable people should no longer accept.

“And Roger Goodell is trying to deal with that, both (a) because it’s the right thing to do, and I believe he is a good man, but (b) because he’s also a businessman and he knows that with all this litigation out there, and more coming, he’s got to position the league as standing as reasonably as it can against excessive and gratuitous violence.”

Asked by host Russ Thaler for an opinion on what Goodell should do if it’s determined that other teams engaged in similar conduct, Bob used terminology that may be more familiar to those of you who frequent this establishment:  “Screw ’em . . . same thing,” Costas said.  “Hit them with the same thing.”

Hit the triangle below to hear the whole thing.

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41 responses to “Costas applauds punishment of Saints

  1. Let’s go Saints fans. Start slamming him. But we all know he’s right … and the penalties were fair. Cheatin’ and lyin’ … and you got caught.

  2. If they hit everyone who took part in similar activities with the same punishment we would have a real-life version of “The Replacements” this season.

  3. Saints leadership violated basic ethics of competition and now have to deal with consequences to their actions.

    I like what Warren Sapp said:
    “…..the focus is the leave the game better than we found it.”

    Yes it is a violent game and people are going to get hurt… way around that….there is no need for dirty intent to injure type behavior….especially encouraged by leaders.

  4. As these concussion lawsuits bleed down to the colleges and HIGH SCHOOLS, it would only take one lost case for many school districts to ban football altogether.

    Where is the NFL in 15 years if high school football was banned?

    Not to mention, a lot of parents are re-thinking allowing their kids to play football.

  5. This sanctimonious piece of garbage needs to realize that he made a pile of money off of this game that is so brutal that “no reasonable person should accept it.” He didnt have a problem cashing his checks and talking about big hits before. Now God-del has cracked the whip and the tools fall in line.
    However, I support goodell on this one.

  6. @ghostofgilchrist

    I’d put one on you, but I believe people would pay me for the chance.

  7. Let’s not forget that the punishment was as harsh as it was, because they were caught, told to clean it up, said they would and lied about doing just that. When they were caught again, they lied (initially, at least)

    A little life lesson folks, when you’re caught, it’s not the crime that gets you the biggest punishment, it’s the cover up. When you *d0* get caught, admit it, and throw yourself at the mercy of the authorities.

    Don’t believe me? Just ask everyone convicted for Watergate, Martha Stewart, etc.

  8. ”  It also has a serious problem because it is fundamentally brutal in a way that reasonable people should no longer accept.”

    Umm that “fundamentally brutal” sport is the one we love , so what your saying people shouldn’t accept football the way it is and it needs to be changed? That’s BS football is just fine. If you wanna see a sport without big hits go watch basketball or golf or some other lame ass excuse for a sport!

  9. Was proud my Saints weren’t like SF whom I consider to be brutal and win by kill not by skill. I was wrong. Applaud any effort that requires a defense to defend a play in an appropriate manner. There is no place in football for deliberate attempts to use injury to manage a game. Wrap em up Don’t knock em out

  10. I generally enjoy Costas’ work but I don’t know what makes his opinion any more valuable about this topic than any of the other talking heads who have basically said the same thing in about half the time.

  11. What’s getting old is the endless parade of pencil neck media twerps who have never played sports on any kind of competitive level trying to tell us what does or does not have a place in sports.

    Anybody who actually believes Roger Goodell cares at all about player safety is delusional. The people that buy what Goodell is selling would’ve been great candidates for Jim Jones or David Koresh.

  12. wonder why shockey turned squealer what did he gain by turning into a deez informant. now some places he goes he might get merked he always has to look over his shoulder n case someone says hey get that rat. bust slugs

  13. Saints were the only team investigated for this. All you clowns know this and are merrily ‘grave dancing.’

    Kucf Roger Goodell for singling out one team.

    Why didn’t he simply tap them on the wrist like he did with the Patriots then destroy the evidence!

    That’s right, Bob Kraft wields too much power in the league. Tom Benson carries no weight in league offices. Therefore Goodell can satisfy his God complex and make examples of ONLY ONE EFFING TEAM when many are guilty.

    Kucf Roger Goodell.

  14. “sterilizecromartie says:
    Mar 22, 2012 11:46 AM
    If they hit everyone who took part in similar activities with the same punishment we would have a real-life version of “The Replacements” this season.”

    Oh please. If I used the “everyone does it” excuse about the Pats and Spygate I’d get crucified here, yet there was open admission by other NFL coaches that they had engaged in the sideline taping practice before the Pats ever did.

    These guys are lucky they aren’t facing criminal charges. They paid people to intentionally injure other people. That’s a felony by the way. If I paid another poster on PFT to injure you and we were caught, myself and the poster who hurt you would go to jail.

  15. Davo says:
    Mar 22, 2012 11:55 AM
    Let’s not forget that the punishment was as harsh as it was, because they were caught, told to clean it up, said they would and lied about doing just that. When they were caught again, they lied (initially, at least)
    Unfortunately, you’re probably right. I think Goodell’s ego got in the way here. The punishment should fit the crime. And if the harshest crime in Goodell’s eyes is “You lied to us and we’re mad at you for that!” then the punishment is way too extreme.

  16. “cincyorangenblack says:
    Mar 22, 2012 12:09 PM
    This wasn’t worse than Spygate.”

    On what planet ? The Pats did something that allowed them a marginal advantage in that the sideline taping allowed them to collate the same data they could get in other ways in a little bit easier fashion.

    These people committed multiple felonies. They paid people to intentionally injure other people. That’s a criminal offense and the Saints management and players are damn lucky they aren’t facing criminal charges.

    To try and claim what the Pats did is worse than this is ridiculous. No one was physically injured by the taping. No one had their career ended by it. What the Saints did is criminal, plain and simple.

  17. Wow, packerman1968! You found a way to inject ethnicity into this conversation? Your post now designates you as a full-blown low life. Congratulations!!!

    Go Lions! Go Badgers!

  18. “It also has a serious problem because it is fundamentally brutal in a way that reasonable people should no longer accept”

    In the meantime, MMA is growing more popular and some of us NFL fans are moving on to the NHL because we (apparently) unreasonable people will not accept watered-down Kool-Aid when we’ve requested the whisky we were promised.

    Interesting sports involve skill and risk. Remove the risk and you’ve got nothing better than world-class ping-pong that requires a lot more equipment and commercial breaks.

  19. See ya Payton and Williams….time to GEAUX on a long vacation, you low lifes!

  20. The last pro bowl was a glimpse into the future of the nfl


    This is true. What you see in the pro bowl every year is exactly where the NFL is headed. And that way Goodell can get the season to 18 games, and then 20 games, and then beyond. Thankfully the NFL will be taken down before then by a gambling scandal. Anybody who cares to really examine the money involved with the NFL and gambling would be unbelievably naive to believe it hasn’t permeated various levels of the NFL, from the league office down to the officiating ranks. Only a matter of time before it comes out, and before we find out about certain games being called in certain ways depending on the lines. I can’t wait for this to happen. And i’m going to take great enjoyment in watching the NFL and Roger Goodell burn.

  21. yada yada yada! The Saints will win the SB this season in new Orleans right in front of ole Goodell. Benson will be dancing around with his umbrella watching the Saints pummel Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Ha Ha. Geaux Saints!

  22. @ harrisonhits2

    This seriously wasn’t that bad, man. They didn’t cheat. They didn’t get penalized during the games. I don’t even think they got flagged for any of these “bounty hits”. They were all clean, hard hits. What is so bad about that?

    The Saints defense was applauded for getting after Favre in that NFC title game. They were called aggresive, tenacious, and hardnosed. Now this comes out and all of those hits are suddenly dirty?

    Now, if they had this bounty program and players were getting flagged for unnecessary roughness calls every other play, then that is a different issue. Then you have players actually breaking the rules to intentionally try and hurt a player. But, if a LB hits a QB cleanly with a hard hit and takes him out of the game, I don’t see anything wrong with that. Listen to old-school players like Deacon Jones and they will tell you that’s exactly how they played the game. It’s how it should be played.

  23. Give it up, Harrisonhits2.

    Nobody had their career ended by the bounty system. Kurt Warner did not retire due to injury. Neither did Brett Favre. And please, criminals? Then why don’t the courts go after pro hockey players for assault when it comes to fighting? There is a clear distinction between sports and society as it pertains to violence.

    And the monetary losses from fines and suspensions incurred by players for dirty hits are significantly greater than any cash reward a player might have received due to this bounty system.

    Unreal how soft and passive this society has become.

  24. “Saints were the only team investigated for this. All you clowns know this and are merrily ‘grave dancing.”
    Feel free to submit your independent evidence against all the others and I’m sure Roger Goodell will issue the appropriate punishments. Until then, “knowing” that everybody else does it, and “proving” that everybody else does it, are not the same.

    And, yes, I am quite giddy about this.

  25. You know you are a sports cultural icon movie when you are mentioned first thing on ESPN this morning. Cue Slapshot-

    “Reggie, you can’t put a bounty on a man’s head!”

    “I just did”

  26. It seems alot of people are completely missing the point.

    I keep seeing posters complaining about Goodell taking the physicality out of the NFL. I agree – he has gone too far in some cases.

    However, this is not about “physical play,” it’s about a system designed to REWARD players for INJURING other players.

    Not only is it against the rules, it goes against the entire concept of sportsmanship.

    Not to mention the whole cover-up aspect.

  27. i thought they would get little more than a slap on the wrist. instead they we’re decapitated.

  28. So Bob, what’s your opinion on a qb being accused of raping a woman on 2 separate occasions? What’s your opinion on the Steelers being given a Super Bowl vs the Seahawks when the ref apologized for calling a terrible game? What’s your opinion on Spygate??


    Oh shut up. Both of Roethlisberger’s “accusations” were clearly without merit. In the first case there are emails by the “victim” bragging to friends and co-workers about having slept with him. You can read them online. As for the 2nd case, the DA said publicly and on the record there was absolutely zero evidence of any kind that any crime had taken place, and that he had no hope of convincing any jury otherwise.

    As for XL, Leavy said he regrets 2 calls… the 4th quarter. Neither of which affected the game. In fact, one of them was the “low block” call on Hasselbeck…….AFTER he had just thrown an INT. I can direct you to numerous photo sequences of uncalled holds by Seahawks players in that game.

    Keep swinging for the fence. Maybe one day you’ll connect.

  29. @domeinate the saints got screwed for paying to injure opponents any way possible not for big hits but the hits after the whistle and all the cheap shots at knees and such. The niners knocked one guy out on a great play and totally legal play so there is still a brutality to the sport.

  30. Costas demands any other team found using bounties should “get the same thing.”

    Keep in mind, though, that the Saints engaged in a protracted web of lies to the Commish and his investigation team – and even involved directing others to conceal the truth.

    It was a very elaborate scheme over a 3 year period with no end in sight. They had been playing the Commish like a fool for years – lying since 2010 and maybe earlier.

    By contrast, another team may have used it for a portion of one season and immediately come clean when questioned about it.

    BIG difference.

    So if another team used a bounty system, yeah – it’s wrong and should merit punishment. But only if the transgressions are on par with New Orleans’ should it deserve the same punishment.

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