FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The NFL’s Most Unethical Coach

by

Most pro football fans (i.e., American-style football) will recall the NFL’s infamous “bounty scandal,” dating back to 2009. This was the debacle that had the New Orleans Saints’ coaching staff (notably Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams and Head Coach Sean Payton) implicated in a scheme to pay its players extra money for intentionally injuring the opposition.

One doesn’t have to be a football aficionado to recognize the importance of knocking a key player out of a game. Imagine facing the Denver Broncos without Peyton Manning, or the Patriots without Tom Brady.   Las Vegas oddsmakers are going to refrain from setting a point-spread until they’re certain whether or not Brady or Peyton will be on the field.

But those bounty targets didn’t have to be quarterbacks. They could be receivers, running backs, defensive backs or even boring offensive linemen—whose job it is to block. Indeed, it could be any player who “made a difference,” which is to say any starter because, given the caliber of football played in the NFL, every starter has an important role.

Accordingly, defensive cheerleader Gregg Williams was slapped with an indefinite ban, and the Big Enchilada himself, Sean Payton, received a year’s suspension, making him the only coach in the history of the NFL (going all the way back to 1920) to be suspended for a full season.

Besides being clearly unethical, bounties are illegal. They are prohibited by both the collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association), and the standard NFL player contract. This sport is violent enough without players being offered extra money for intentionally trying to cripple each other.

Yet there are hard-nosed observers who see it differently. People (alas, many of whom live in New Orleans) who argue that football is a brutal game, that bounties (or their equivalent) have existed for decades, that today’s critics are simply a bunch of bleeding heart, reform-minded hypocrites, and that the Payton and Williams were scapegoats, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

You still hear people argue that Sean Payton’s participation in the bounty incident doesn’t make him “unethical”; it merely makes him someone who “wanted to win.” These holdouts need to be reminded of another, equally loathsome episode from Payton’s past. The man was a scab. In 1987, with the NFL players’ union on strike, he willingly crossed an authorized picket line for the sole purpose of stealing an established player’s job.

Needless to say, had this picket line been composed of highly-evolved New Jersey Teamsters, circa 1962, rather than a group of professional athletes, Payton never would have made it across. He would have been too busy picking up his teeth.

The entertainment industry (i.e., television, movies, music and sports) is renowned for generating tons of money, which is one reason the Dallas Cowboys are appraised at nearly a billion dollars.   Once TV revenue increased exponentially, and the NFL began rolling in dough, it was the players’ union—and the union alone—that got these men an equitable slice of the pie.  And they had to fight to get that slice.

One of the few weapons available to a union is the strike—the work stoppage—a tactic whereby workers “punish” management (by depriving them of profits) by “punishing” themselves (willingly giving up their own wages). It’s a bold, sacrificial undertaking, one that involves a fair amount of risk.

Men like Payton—sharp-eyed men of low character who view strikes simply as “opportunities” for advancing themselves (he was undrafted by the League coming out of college)—need to be properly vilified. Only our abiding respect for reptiles prevents us from calling him a fucking snake.

More articles by:

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Laura Finley
After the Parkland Shooting … Teach Youth About Dating Violence
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Robert Koehler
The Cheapening of Human Life
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Ted Rall
Never Mind Millennial Apathy, Here’s Generation Z Inbox x
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail