In my forthcoming book, Ethical Meltdown, I indicated that the most serious scandal to rock the sports world in the past twelve years was the use of illegal performance enhancers (steroids and other drugs) by players. Today, I am not so sure that was the most serious scandal after learning that some professional football coaches were paying bonuses to their defensive players to intentionally knock opponent players out of the game.
New Orleans defensive coordinator Greg Williams established a bounty system for the last three years that offered $1,500 for a total knockout and $1,000 if the player had to be carried off the field. If the “knockout” or “carry-off” occurred during the playoffs, the awards doubled or tripled in size.
This is exactly what happened to Kurt Warner in 2009 and Brett Favre playing against the New Orleans Saints bounty hunters. Warner’s injury was so serious, he never played another game in the NFL.
Fran Tarkington, an outstanding quarterback in the NFL for eighteen years, argues that Greg Williams should never be seen in the NFL again. But, what about New Orleans Head Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis, both of whom know about the bounties but do not stop them? In fairness, the penalties for all three should be the same. In my view, it should be immediate termination and no chance to be rehired in the NFL for at least two years.