Leroy Butler: Packers players never paid for causing injuries

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As it continues to fight the suspensions of four players in the Saints’ bounty investigation, the NFL Players’ Association recently brought up the fact that in 1996, the NFL said it was OK with former Packers defensive end Reggie White giving teammates money in exchange for making big hits. But one of White’s old teammates wants to make clear that White never gave teammates money for injuring opponents.

Former Packers defensive back Leroy Butler said on 1250 WSSP in Milwaukee that the Packers’ “Smash for Cash” program in the 1990s had nothing to do with hurting players on the other team.

I don’t want people to think that it was like a violent thing — go after Steve Young’s arm for $5,000 or go after Jerry Rice’s knee for $2,000, things of that nature,” Butler said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “But if you came up and smacked a guy and he fumbles the ball and you pick it up, if a guy wanted to give you some money, the league [said] everything’s fine. And this was 15, 16 years ago. Everything was fine. Now, it’s like you throw in the word bounty. ‘Oh we’ve never heard of that before, that’s crazy.’”

The four players the NFL suspended in the Saints’ bounty case — Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita — have all insisted that they never exchanged money for injuries, either. The NFLPA’s contention is that if the NFL was OK with what the Packers were doing then, it’s not fair to suspend the Saints now.

44 responses to “Leroy Butler: Packers players never paid for causing injuries

  1. Its funny with all the talk of Shannon Sharpe’s comments – Leroy Butler completely shut him down in SB 32. Packers lost the game but it wasn’t because of Shannon Sharpe thats for sure.

  2. Yea, I guess the fact that he says the weren’t paying for injuries makes it true as suppose to the Saints denying that there system wasn’t for injuries

  3. What Leroy doesn’t understand is that we have a new Commissioner, one who cares so much about the safety of players that he wants them to play 18 games a year and sometimes play on three days rest.

  4. Roger Goodell is just grasping at straws, but they players are responsible too…they could have addressed his ability to suspend players at his convenience. They were too focused on more money. As much as I hate Roger Goodell, they signed up for him doing this.

  5. Has it occurred to anyone that 1996 was a lifetime ago in NFL years? Tags was the commish, concussions were treated with smelling salts, and the Jaguars were in the AFC Championship Game.

    Seriously, using this as a defense would be like Clinton arguing that he shouldn’t be flamed for his affair with Monica Lewinsky solely because no one cared that JFK was porking Marilyn Monroe in the early ’60s.

  6. I’m curious why it has taken six months for this angle on the story to come out. Did nobody on that Packers team (Favre?!) think it might be at least vaguely interesting that the Packers had an unofficial pay for performance program 15 years ago? Or were they worried that it might somehow taint their legacy and hoped it didn’t come up? Is that why Favre has conspicuously failed to speak out against a program that was apparently out to cause him injury?

  7. The most serious injury that the Saints defense actually caused to any opposing player between the years of 2009-2011 was a bruise. Reggie White and Leroy Butler hurt themselves more in collissions with opposing QBs than the Saints ever hurt an opposing QB. Draw moral distinctions against the Saints favor all you like, but the Saints defense did not statistically hurt anyone.

  8. Packers didn’t pay for causing injuries.
    Saints didn’t pay for causing injuries.

    They both paid for big hits and big plays(just like college programs do with helmet stickers)

    Only difference is that back then, the league wasn’t defending against hundreds of lawsuits from former players. This Saints thing is a charade and a defense gimmick to use as “evidence” that the league takes steps to prevent injuries to their players.

  9. ‘The NFLPA’s contention is that if the NFL was OK with what the Packers were doing then, it’s not fair to suspend the Saints now.’

    That is a weak argument. 16 years in the NFL is a long time. I’m sure there were tons of things done in the NFL in 1980 that weren’t done in 1996 just as there were things done in 96 that aren’t done now.

  10. Things change in the NFL as far as the rules go. In 1996, teams could let a player return to action after suffering a concussion. Just because it was okay in ’96 doesn’t mean anything in 2012.

  11. Well, I guess Payton and Williams just rolled over for the commissioner because, you know, it would have been real easy for the commissioner to blackball both of them. It would have been impossible for Payton to find a media outlet willing to tell his side of the story if he would have stood up to Goodell. He just folded his tent and passed on $8 million because he was scared of Goodell. PLEASE!!

    The saints players denial of the bounty is about as much BS as Tony Soprano’s insistence that he made all his money in waste management.

  12. yooperman says:
    Oct 22, 2012 12:52 PM
    I would bet that if the NFL told Reggie White to stop, he would have.

    Players were never told by G Williams that the league said to quit the pay for performance program. They didn’t find out until the nfl sent out a letter announcing the coaches suspension

  13. 2 rather big differences:

    1) There is no proof that the coaches in GB sanctioned or participated in the program. There is proof that NO coaches did. In fact there is a recording of williams instructing players to exacerbate a player’s existing injury and offering to pay – “FIRST one’s on me”

    2) There is a big difference in paying for big hits and offering to pay for “cartoffs”. One doesn’t necessarily result in an injury, The other means that your opponent can’t leave the field under their own power and the NO coach incentivised that plain and simple.

  14. It helps the Packers that there wasn’t an audio recording of D Coord. telling his players to “Kill the head and the body will follow”, or to target that Prima Donna’s ACL. Yets it is ironic that the hypothetical and real bounties both targeted SF.

  15. Forget what Butler says was the case 6 years ago. What were the teams told more recently. I believe that the teams were told this could no longer take place and some teams decided to ignore it.

  16. is there audio/video of reggie white telling players to target jerry rice’s knee following his acl injury?

    because i seem to remember video re: saints telling players to injure/target injuries. hmmm. it’s been so long, it seems like the video only came out a few months ago. oh wait, it did.

    ps i hate the pack, and i’m defending them. ugh.

  17. Here’s the difference — The NFL warned the Saints *mutliple times* to stop the “bounty” system. They didn’t. Hence, they got the hammer.

    Rules change. If the NFL had just suddenly punished the Saints without warning, then we’d have a problem. The Saints have the right to know if something that was previously tolerated is now going to be strictly enforced. And the NFL complied — they warned the Saints repeatedly. And they didn’t stop.

    Now, all that said, I’m not necessarily on the NFL’s side. I just don’t like this argument “Well it was legal then, so how can you punish us now?!?” It was almost 20 years ago. Things have changed, the Saints were warned in advance about it. They thumbed their nose at the NFL’s warning, and now they’re paying the price.

    Of course, the NFL is also paying a price with the questionable way they’re handling this thing.

  18. Look if Goodell would have came out and said the Saints were taking money for big hits and then suspended them there would be no problem. Making the Saints out to be dirty players going after knee’s or somthing, that’s why they are fighting not because they want people to believe no one ever recieved money

  19. Except from what I read White paid out in the range from 9500-13,000.

    Which is right around the number the Saints had for taking out, Newton, Rodgers, or got paid when it came to Favre.

    Thats a bigger chunk of money.

  20. You’ve seen the video? Wow, cuz no one else has. There is only audio, edited at that. If you listen to the entire 12 minute audio (not the 3 min edited version) it paints an entirely different picture (e.g. Greg Williams telling the players to do everything within the rules of the game).

  21. formyministy-

    Show me the game footage where the Saints actually did go after someone’s knee, or their head in that game.

  22. The over-parsing and delusion in New Orleans flows almost as free as opposing wide receivers in their secondary.

  23. It appears G.B. has a long history of this kind of behavior. Just google ex-packer Charles Martin. Hitlist or bounty, same thing in the end.

  24. jbl429

    you and everyone else can say until you’re blue in the face that things changed sense 1996. And, that doesn’t make one bit of difference. It was being done and the league ok’d it. Now, for the very same thing, that’s assuming forever reason you don’t chose to believe what butler is saying more than you believe the Saints, we’re being buried by the league. If you’re going to continue to support this injustice at least be brave enough to say what behind it. you don’t like the saints and you like thier fans even less

  25. daveman8403 says:
    Oct 22, 2012 2:22 PM
    You’ve seen the video? Wow, cuz no one else has. There is only audio, edited at that. If you listen to the entire 12 minute audio (not the 3 min edited version) it paints an entirely different picture (e.g. Greg Williams telling the players to do everything within the rules of the game).
    who said they’ve seen the video? nobody on here that i saw. is there a video? yes, it’s not in dispute. gleason’s guy that he hired to document his life was there and video taped it.

  26. @tdk24

    I don’t think Charles Martin was actually paid for his hitlist. I think he did it because he thought it was a good idea.

    Yeah, I know.

  27. formyministry

    I know there is a video, but the audio was all that heard. The point I was making is you are grossly miss characterizing what was said in the ‘video’. Williams said “we are going test his ACL”. You know, see if he is a 100% and make him use it more, or even hit him on that side, “within the rules of the game”. How is this frowned upon? every single team take the oppositions injuries into account. What, are teams supposed to read the injury report and take it easy on banged up players, or say “don’t hit him on the left side, his knee is hurt”? That would be ridiculous.

  28. Yes, the Packers had a pay for play program for a number of years. That has been common knowledge in and around Green Bay.

    But a pool for big hits, ints, forced and recovered fumbles is a far cry from cart offs, hitting and affecting the head and targeting ACLs.

    A number of years ago the league ordered Green Bay to suspend the program, citing cap rules and as far as anyone knows, they did. Something the Saints refused to do when they had the chance.

    Bottom line, your own DC, Greg Williams, swore under oath to the Saints continued use of it’s bounty system and to the fact that bounties were paid for cartoffs and injuries. Why would he do this? Why would he risk his very freedom to lie, knowing the penalties for perjury? It just doesn’t make sense for him to make it up.

    I know most of you Saint fans are simply too thick headed, or blinded by loyalty to believe the truth, but I’d thought I’d try one last time.

    Also, as much as I hate the Chicago Bears (born and bred that way) what Charles Martin did to Jim Mcmahon rupulsed me. Actions like that have no place in football.

  29. During a three year period, show me ONE illegal hit by the Saints Defense that took just ONE player out of a game. Just ONE!

    Can’t do it, because it didn’t happen.

    Saints are the scapegoat because of all of the concussion lawsuits, plain and simple.

  30. The Saints failed to actually injure anybody. So they are not guilty? Really? I think that’s where the term “attempted” comes in. This argument of “we weren’t penalized very much” is just assinine. But then again, so are Saints fans.

  31. There’s one big difference nobody here has brought up:
    By ALL accounts, the Saints were warned and told to stop “whatever they were doing” one, and maybe two years earlier. They Didn’t Listen!

  32. conormacleod

    If they were attempting to injure players over a 3 year period, they would have. Sorry, if you are trying to illegally hurt someone you will. The fact is, it didn’t happen, no matter how hyperbole and grand talk was used.

  33. hounddog50

    Again, if that is true then why is Fujita suspended. Also, the NFL has not yet provided evidence that they had a program after the 2009 season. Even that evidence is suspect.

  34. sfsaintsfan says:
    Oct 22, 2012 6:04 PM
    “During a three year period, show me ONE illegal hit by the Saints Defense that took just ONE player out of a game. Just ONE!
    Can’t do it, because it didn’t happen.”
    Will Smith’s block on Kurt Warner is all I could remember, but that was a clean block on an interception return…

    idk, Saints defense sucks – so even if they were trying to take out players every week, I’d doubt they’d be able to do so…. 3 years and not one cart off … smh, dudes are soft.

  35. I hear people constantly saying “hey this was 16 years ago the NFL was different rules change etc” and while that statement is true…we arent talking about a rule that changed where the ball is kicked off from…We are talking about an actual constitutional rule of the main set of NFL rules n by laws…and guess what the rule that approves pay for performance is still there…still exist….so yea while the years have changed…commisioners have changed….feelings have changed…the RULE has not….

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