When I think back of my All-Star career in Little League baseball, I remember being rewarded for a win with a free water ice. As I played Lacrosse, the reward was a drop in laps on the next practice. Those were the sports I mostly played that had “benefits”. In Lacrosse, there is a drill called “Ball/Man”. In this drill, it is practice for the possibility of a two on one for a loose ball. One calls ball or calls man. Signaling your teammate to go after the other. The point of this drill is to get ball control, but it is also to lay out your opponent. Laying out your opponent is really what gets praised.
Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate “good plays” by putting a sticker on your helmet. In the NFL, since stickers are not authorized, you are celebrated by the play being repeated on the jumbotron. Bounties on players have always been around. Just not in the term “bounty”. From the start of playing sports as a child you get rewarded in some type of way. The thing is though, it isn’t usually WRITTEN down. This “Bounty” is blown way out of proportion. Gregg Williams is only guilty because of his stupidity to write down what he was doing. I’m sure the same applies in Lacrosse as it does Football, you must go thru with the hit and thru the player. Not many times will you see a repeat of a good tackle as much as a good hit. The one that comes to mind first is the shoestring tackle with the Rams. Even that isn’t replayed. The point of Ray Lewis hitting you are is to induce fear into not coming by him. I would like to know the difference between what Gregg Williams has done as appose to what the NFL teams do by playing this exact same plays on the screen in front of sixty thousand plus fans. The idea of free water ice and 1,500 dollars is the same. It’s a reward. The Buckeye that goes on the back or side of your helmet in Ohio is essentially the same. Except, these are considered “good plays” not bounties.
As of today, no player in the NCAA is payed to play. This is considering that a free ride in a Division 1 school isn’t pay enough, right? Fifteen hundred dollars would be a nice chunk of change for a college student for laying a hit another student. So, since that isn’t really isn’t a logical option, or is it, they replace that with stickers. Honestly, if that is the reward, then you want the most. These are the same incentives that Gregg Williams was rewarding.
This is not a NFL problem. This is a little league issue. Pee Wee at that. Rewards have been given out since the start of you playing a sport. What makes it so much different at the professional level? Well, I said it, Professional. As a professional, things are supposed to come naturally. They flow. This is the cream of the crop. The best of the best. But how do you reward a player that is making a million plus dollars a year? Giving him a couple thousand for laying a hit on someone that could possibly end his co-workers professional career? I don’t think that is the case here. It’s a way of rewarding. You don’t reward on a professional level. Not on paper at least. What if Gregg Williams took the players out for dinner like Tom Brady did for his offensive line in those American Express commercials?
The point I am trying to make here is a lot of people are focused on the money and not the principle. To say go out there and lay a smack on someone for money is the same as any other type of reward, including a Buckeye sticker. The principle is the same. The NFL is to blame here just as much. They have DVD’s on Best Hits. Are “Football Follies” just as bad because we are laughing at others? It comes down to a change in words. You don’t lose a sticker because of a great hit that took a guy out on the stretcher. It’s called a “good play”, not a “bounty”.
In the end though, rules are rules and they were violated. The NFL rules clearly state that no reward should be given to any player for making specific performances. This rule includes interceptions, fumbles etc. Think of it as speeding. You know that it is wrong, but you do it. You take the fine, pay it and learn your lesson. Do it again, repeat previous sentence. Keep doing it and you lose your licence. This may be the case here if all the teams Williams was with come forward. Gregg Williams, no matter what I have said, is guilty. He will and should be punished for his actions. Rules are rules and they must be followed. Mr. Goodell has to access the damages. With all this said though, you as a viewer have to understand some things too. Celebration of a hit, viewing it on the big screen or even talking about it is the same praise given to a player making that type of money. I would think that the replaying is more praise then the couple thousand itself. I’m not downplaying the severity of knocking out another co-worker. What I am saying is that your children are being rewarded the same way that these NFL professional adults were, except minor rules do not state this. Roger Goodell and the NFL are to blame to by praising it. One person has done it right in this scenario, Joe Paterno. Those helmets stayed white with no praise. Smart isn’t it. Just another thing he kept silent.