Bounty in the Bayou
So if I worked for the NFL in their PR department in any capacity, I would be stressed out right now. Yesterday Roger Goodell announced the punishment for the players involved in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal: Scott Fujita (now with the Cleveland Browns) and Will Brown are suspended for 4 games, Anthony Hargrove is suspended for 8 games, and Jonathan Vilma is suspended for the entire season. My only problem with any of these punishments is Vilma losing a whole season. Now it was reported he help implement the program along with defensive coordinator, Greg Williams, even putting up $10,000 of his own money for the bounty program. Look I don’t support the idea of a bounty system in football, but I would be extremely naive to act like this is the first of its kind. Defensive players are taught from Day 1 to take the quarterback out the game. How players go about it is where things become uneasy. No one should enjoy seeing a player suffer a serious injury and players know the risk they put their bodies through. But again defensive players are coached to take clean hits at QB’s when possible. I understand Roger needed to be consistent and heavy-headed with the punishment to set a standard, but in my opinion I only see this as another example of his abuse of power. He’s the closest I’ve seen a commissioner of any sport be in absolute power I’ve ever seen because he not only passes the judgement but handles the appeal of the players as well (since these were actions on the field he’s the arbitrator such the appeals I’ve heard). I think he’s set a dangerous precedent despite him trying to preserve of “honor and shield” of the NFL.
RIP to Junior Seau and the 2012 season for Terrell Suggs
Next story truly caught many people off guard as All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau was found dead in his home and the reports are that this was potentially a suicide. This is tragic on so many levels because Seau wasn’t only 1 of the greatest players in his positions, he was also 1 of the most beloved and respected athletes among his peers. I heard several stories yesterday from former teammates and fellow players just talking about how good of a person he was and how much it hurts knowing that he could have taken his life away so suddenly. There was a incident in 2010 where he drove his car off a cliff and people were speculating that this was a suicide attempt. It just pains me to think that a man who was so revered by so many people felt he couldn’t deal with his problems or he couldn’t seek the help needed to overcome whatever demons he was dealing with. Watching his mother at the press conference yesterday was horrible to witness, so I send my prayers and well wishes to his family and friends.
Seeing how yesterday was a tough day for linebackers hearing the news early this morning that Terrell Suggs torn his ACL and will likely miss the upcoming season didn’t help at all! T-Sizzle had an exceptional season last year leading the Baltimore Ravens to the AFC Championship game where a missed field goal ended their hopes of an appearance in the Super Bowl. The past 2 days have certainty shown how no player can take for granted not only their time in the NFL, but in life general. I would hate to be a worker for the NFL in their PR department because it’s 1 sad/scandalous story after another. I am very curious and anxious to see how the NFL will handle the death of Seau now in light of the Saints bounty scandal. Why? Because they claim to be taking a new, stronger stance in the safety of its players. I’ve always been critical of this because I feel they have the right idea for the wrong motives. Not saying they aren’t genuinely concerned about this issue, but I feel many in the front office of the NFL won’t admit some of the real reasons they want to make the game safer. 1 of these reasons are the many lawsuits former players have been filing against the NFL for health insurance and other medical reasons. Seeing how many lawsuits they’re currently in, it makes logical sense to avoid having these problems but I feel they’re going about it the wrong way at times, which is a whole other story to talk/blog about.
Rose Has a Thorn In His ACL
Finally I get to my beloved Chicago Bulls. Saturday seemed to be a good day in Chicago as the top seed Bulls were beating the Philadelphia 76ers in the 4th quarter when EVERYTHING went wrong. The reigning MVP, Derrick Rose, missed 29 games in lockout-shortened season with a slew of injuries. No injury though it more painful to watch as Rose planted his left leg and awkwardly jumped and landed afterwards. A tear of his ACL equaled in tears for us Chicagoans as we felt our title shot has misfired. For hours many of us were pretty much in denial about his injury thinking it was probably just a bad sprain while strangling any optimism we had left. After initial pessimism for some, fake reports from Twitter and other media outlets we learned that indeed Rose will be out for the playoffs. I immediately began to blame the condensed season as the main culprit for such injury seeing how players couldn’t have a full training camp with their team doctors and had little time to rest their bodies during the blitz of a regular season. The greed of NBA owners and David Stern also became a source of my fanatic anger, agreeing with others who mentioned how the season was so cramped packed with so owners can try to make some some of the money they lost during the lockout. Truth is that injury could have happened anywhere and at any other time, but the timing of it sucks so bad and only in my mind validates all the reasons I mentioned earlier. While seemingly watching a game every other night from the Bulls was a great thing from a viewing standpoint, the shortened season only proved to be more negative with injuries to other star players such as Chauncey Billups, Dwight Howard, and Ricky Rubio to name a few. It hurt the product since players didn’t have adequate healing or practice time and the quality of the games suffered from it.
I really hope the next time I decide to do another one of these I pick some happier stories to blog about!