NFL Bounty Scandal Actually Gets WORSE:
Coaches Tell Players Not To Worry About Fines For Illegal HitsBecause The Fines Will Be Paid For
Yes, this thing actually gets worse. The headline is that then-Redskins Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams dumped $15,000 on a table and commanded his defense to ensure Viking QB Brad Johnson did not finish the game. That's pretty bad.
But what actually drew my attention was THIS section:
Greg Blache, who was a defensive line coach under Williams at the time and later succeeded Williams as the team’s defensive coordinator, has said that he disliked and discontinued the bounty program. But Elfin quotes that same unnamed player as saying that in reality, Blache was offering players money to compensate them for any fines they got for illegal hits.“Greg Blache said, ‘If you get fined, it will be taken care of,’” the player said.
Now it's already apparent to most long-time NFL observers that the NFL fine policy is a joke. Last year the Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh was fined repeatedly for on-field illegal behavior - including stomping on the head of a downed opponent. Each fine came to between $15,000 and $20,000. That might seem like a lot of money until you consider the fact that in 2010 Suh signed a 5 year contract worth more than $60,000,000, $40,000,000 of which was guaranteed.
He plays 16 NFL games in a single season. $60 million bucks divided by 5 years = $12 million dollars a year. So he's making north of $750,000 a game.
Every single time Suh laces up his shoes and puts his uniform on and runs out onto the field to play in the NFL he's making over 3/4ths of a million bucks.
What kind of an effect is fining a guy like this $20,000 for an illegal hit going to have?
And it's turns out that on at least one team, players pulling in millions of dollars were told to not even worry about their being fined for illegal hits as they pursued bounties set by their coaches, because apparently the coaches would take care of the fines too.
Is this kind of thing going on anywhere else? Even without a bounty program, a coach or team front office telling players not to worry about fines for illegal hits because the team will pay those fines for the players simply encourages players to make those kinds of hits.
The fines were a joke in the first place; and now we're finding out it very well could be one of the reasons we are still seeing so many illegal hits is because players know the fine money won't be coming out of their pocket, so the only thing they have to worry about is not racking up too many illegal hits and getting suspended.