The National Football Leagues Player Association finds itself in an unfortunate position of having to defend rogue players who sought to hurt other players it represents in the infamous Bountygate scandal that was administered by Gregg Williams of the New Orleans Saints. Unfortunately, the NFLPA is getting its priorities wrong in the process.
The union should be at the forefront demanding justice be meted out by Commissioner Goodell in order to protect the players it serves. Instead, they are intent on protecting the players that have violated the NFL’s safety policy and seem purposefully satisfied with sending the wrong message about safety and justice to its members, the fans, and the public.
It is simply common sense to adjudicate this and eliminate the purposeful attempt to injure anybody’s ability to support themselves and their family by targeting them for injurious hits. The NFL is violent enough as it is, without players targeting previous injuries or attempting to knock someone out of a game for the sake of earning extra money for targeted hits.
The NFL has already forced all of the owners and coaches in the league to certify, in writing, that such a program will never happen again. The NFLPA should join this effort in a public show of unity by defending those players that were targeted by Williams and the Saints. Instead, they are doing the opposite and defending the guilty parties involved.
The players who took part in this program will be punished and the NFLPA should respectfully accept the punishment and initiate education programs for players to ensure that no player ever targets another like they did in the Saints program. The NFL is intent on cleaning up the game and ensuring that rogue players are punished for this behavior. Players who do not realize the difference between good, clean sportsmanship and rogue behavior should be educated by their team and the NFLPA. If that doesn’t work in eliminating this problem, then the players need to be removed from the game altogether.
Goodell is not intent on punishing the Saints as a franchise, although many of their fans are reacting as if he were. He is making every effort to be a fair and just jurist while ensuring that his activism for player safety is heard loud and clear by not only the players, but the entire NFL and the fans.