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Scott Cordischi On Sports: Bountygate, Junior Seau Dead

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

 

The hammer has been officially dropped.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday that four players would be suspended for their roles in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty system where players were paid to injure opposing players.

Linebacker Jonathan Vilma was the hardest hit by the league receiving a suspension for the entire season through the Super Bowl in 2013.

Others suspended were defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove who is now a member of the Green Bay Packers. His suspension is for 8 games. Defensive end Will Smith received a 4-game suspension while linebacker Scott Fujita who is now with the Cleveland Browns received a 3-game suspension.

All of the suspensions are without pay and expected to be appealed by the players. As expected, the NFLPA released a statement defending those who were suspended. "We have made it clear that punishment without evidence is not fair. We have spoken with our players and their representatives and we will vigorously protect and pursue all options on their behalf," the NFLPA said.

The league released a statement from Goodell explaining the rationale behind his decision. "No bounty program can exist without active player participation," Goodell said. "The evidence clearly showed that the players being held accountable today willingly and enthusiastically embraced the bounty program. Players put the vast majority of the money into this program and they share responsibility for playing by the rules and protecting each other within those rules."

Vilma received the stiffest penalty for allegedly helping former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams set up the bounty program. He also allegedly put up $10,000 of his own cash in the 2009 playoffs as a bounty on Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback Kurt Warner. He repeated that same pledge for Brett Favre in the NFC title game.

Hargrove was suspended for admitting to being a participant in the program and for obstructing the league’s investigation into the bounty program in 2010 when he apparently lied to league officials about it.

Smith allegedly helped Williams set up the bounty system while he was captain of the defense and Fujita is said to have pledged a “significant” amount of money to the program as well.

Some are questioning whether the punishments handed down are too severe in that the players were simply following the orders of their coaches. However, the overwhelming response is that there is no place for this type of behavior in the National Football League and that the players, like the coaches, should have known better.

It’s been written here before that Roger Goodell often times comes off as a leader drunk with power. However, this time Goodell is sending the right message by acting swiftly and handing down severe punishments.

-Patriots fans should circle September 23rd on their calendars. That’s the day that New England visits Baltimore on Sunday Night Football. If you thought that former Jets’ coach Eric Mangini received the cold shoulder in his postgame handshakes with Bill Belichick, wait until you see the treatment John Harbaugh receives from the Patriots’ coach.

-PC Friars fans should stop whining about the fact that the team needs a big man for this season and appreciate the unbelievably great job Ed Cooley and his staff has done recruiting thus far.

-A lot of sports teams could take a lesson from this year’s Celtics’ team on what it means to play as a team with maximum effort.

-I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing Will Middlebrooks play third base for the Red Sox.

-I don’t care what Roger Clemens’ attorney Rusty Hardin says, Andy Pettitte’s testimony that Clemens told him he used HGH is very credible.

-Is anyone really surprised by Oil Can Boyd’s revelation that he used crack cocaine during the 1986 season?

-Count me among those who thinks that Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins need to do very little tinkering with the roster this offseason. And that includes KEEPING Tim Thomas.

-The Knicks Amare Stoudemire beats out Rajon Rondo for the NBA “Idiot of the Week” award.

-The addition of Butler to the Atlantic Ten Conference starting in 2013-2014 is a great move by the conference.

-The apparent suicide of former Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots linebacker Junior Seau is sad and just goes to show you that money can’t always buy you happiness.  Seau was a member of the 2007 New England Patriots who finished the regular season (16-0) and lost in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.

-As much as I love the way this Celtics team plays, it would seem almost impossible for the Miami Heat to not repeat as Eastern Conference Champions.

-Bilster or no blister, Clay Buchholz has to pitch a heck of a lot better than he has so far this season.

-I never thought I'd live to see the day where a professional sports franchise would actually LOWER prices on something, but that's exactly what the Los Angeles Dodgers have done bringing parking fees from $15 to $10 at Dodger Stadium.

-What are the chances that happens up at Fenway Park?  Don't hold your breath!

-A terrific jesture by former Rutgers and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano whose team signed Rutgers defensive end Eric LeGrand to a free agent contract.  LeGrand had his career cut short in college by a spinal cord injury which left him paralyzed.  Schiano said that this would have been LeGrand's draft class and made the gesture to recognize his character, spirit and perserverance.

 

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