Report: Goodell will “drop the hammer” on players involved in bounty scandal

According to the NFL Network’s Dan Hanzus, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has decided punishment of individual players associated with the Saints’ ‘bounty’ program is warranted.

“In an appearance Tuesday on “The Rich Eisen Podcast,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said “evidence was clear that the players embraced it” in regard to the Saints’ pay-for-performance scheme.

Goodell added: “I don’t think they are absolved from responsibility.” Translation: Prepare for the hammer drop.

Goodell said player discipline will be coming “soon” and rejected the defense that those involved were “just following orders” of Gregg Williams.”

The Browns have two players- Scott Fujita and Usama Young that played for the Saints during that time period. Fujita, has gone on record as saying he contributed to extra incentive payouts as a member of the Saints, though he denies ever contributing for intentionally injuring another player.

It is hard to imagine a situation in which Fujita isn’t part of the discipline handed down by Goodell.

[Related: Fujita on the NFL and player safety “The hypocrisy infuriates me”]

  • Humboldt

    Totally on board with Goodell laying down a heavy punishment on this. There is no space in the game for outright violence. No one wants to see the NFL lose its moral bearings like the NHL has

  • Natedawg86

    Why has the NHL?  Because they allow fighting (but penalize for it)

  • Humboldt

    Yeah, fighting is an accepted norm in hockey, which I find unacceptable, particularly as evidenced has surfaced establishing the connection b/t repetitive head trauma and CTE.

    In the NFL, if you make a violent play you are either penalized (unnecessary roughness or personal foul) or thrown out of the game (e.g. in the event a punch is thrown). That’s a major qualitative difference in the two sports, imo.

  • ClevelandFan14

     The NHL just suspended a guy for a hit to the head for 25 games during the playoffs. The NFL just dishes out fines or maybe a 1-2 game suspension. There really is no comparison.  The NHL also prepares a 5 minute long video detailing why a suspension is being given and for what reasons. Roger Goodell dishes out fines and suspensions with little explanation.  Look up Brendan Shannahan and the department of player safety for how a league should communicate disciplinary action. The NFL can only dream of handling incidents like the NHL does.

  • Boomhauertjs

    Fujita can’t stay healthy so I don’t know why the Browns were counting on him at LB. This will force them to find another starting OLB.

  • Humboldt

    I’m glad the NHL is beginning to find its way after years of irresponsible leadership. The science of head injuries and their link with downstream onset of dementia cannot be ignored any longer. 

    However, you still haven’t addressed the main issue which is that the league allows fighting/violence as an accepted part of the game.  Does it not seem hypocritical to you to suspend a player for 25 games for a brutal hit, but allow (and encourage) guys to punch one another repeatedly in the head without any suspensions?

    Totally illogical much less morally suspect, imo.

  • ClevelandFan14

     So you think the NFL is better because you get a 15 yard penalty for a personal foul and the NHL’s 5 minute penalty isn’t better? The NFL’s penalty hurts the team alone. The NHL penalty hurts the team and the player.  NHL players get thrown out too. I’m not trying to be mean, but do you even follow the NHL?

  • ClevelandFan14

     No it does not.  If two players agree to fight like men, I have no issue with that. If one player decides to take a cheap shot, then he deserves to be punished. 

  • Humboldt

    Football is an aggressive game, but not a violent one. The NFL is far from perfect, but the league has worked to progressively remove any vestiges of overt violence from the game (i.e. head slaps, chop blocks, helmet-to-helmet hits, etc) and penalize overly aggressive play (i.e. unnecessary roughness). 

    In contrast, the NHL quite literally allows violence as a norm of the sport and has done nothing to phase it out despite mounting scientific evidence about head injuries and brain damage. You don’t have to listen to me on this issue but consider Wayne Gretzky’s dad’s recent statements: http://deadspin.com/5903253/wayne-gretzkys-dad-thinks-fighting-in-hockey-is-stupid

    With all apologies, you are out of step on this one.

  • Humboldt

    We will have to agree to disagree on moral principles as well as scientific evidence at this point.

  • notoriouswoj

    Please keep the NHL out of this discussion. It has zero bearing on the Bounty issue in the NFL and the majority of you have no idea what you are talking about. 

  • Humboldt

    We all wait with bated breath for you to provide reasons for your argument…

  • ClevelandFan14

     They are both issues regarding player safety. And what else are we supposed to talk about for this? It gives us no new information. We knew the players were going to be punished and this article gives no new details.  We are really supposed to have a new legitimate conversation about this quote “Goodell added: “I don’t think they are absolved from responsibility.””? We knew that already.

    Also, I think both of us appear to know what we are talking about and this whole situation is about player health and conduct policy. I think the comparison is relevant.

  • ClevelandFan14

    I never said anything about the science. I know it is damaging to players to fight. Boxing has shown that, but that sport is still around.

    I am fine with agreeing to disagree on moral principles.

  • Is_this_a_pimple_or_a_boil

    How about delivering the punishment before the draft……this is no longer impacting just the Saints, if you have an suspension of any significant time for Fujita you’d want to look closer at drafting a linebacker.  But if this is a two game suspension it may impact your team differently……I can understand screw the saints and make em wait, but this impacts many more teams.

  • notoriouswoj

    Well lets see. 
    1. Most idiots who talk about fighting in the NHL do not understand why fighting exists and why it will always be apart of the game. Mostly due to the lack of experience in playing the game. 
    2. Placing a monetary bounty on the bodily harm or an opponent and an NHL player making a dirty run at another player in the course of a game are two totally different things. Anyone who says of thinks anything different is beyond help. 
    3. Rules exist in both sports to police dirty play. If you break them, the player is dealt with. The NFL issue was a coordinated effort by management, players, and coaches to promote dirty play. The Torres hit was one player attempting to change the game by playing dirty. See the difference? 

    Just stick to football. Hockey and the NHL is just not the same. 

  • ClevelandFan14

     The NHL does not allow any type of violence without penalty. Roughing, charging, checking from behind, elbowing, hits to the head, and even fighting all draw penalties. There is no difference between a 2 minute minor and 15 yard penalty.  According to your logic, I think the NFL allows violence as a norm because Colt McCoy got his block chopped off last year and the NFL encourages rough play.

    And who cares if Wayne Gretzky’s dad doesn’t want fighting in the NHL? It is his opinion. Many others like fighting in the NHL. His opinion doesn’t hold any more water than yours or mine. Again, do you even follow the NHL? I don’t see any evidence that you really do, but yet I am out of step.

  • Is_this_a_pimple_or_a_boil

    But you do……..insert rolling eyes here.

  • notoriouswoj

    Yes…I do. Be glad to send you a resume to prove it. The NHL and the issue of fighting and the NFL bounty issue have zero correlation to each other. Period. 

  • mgbode

    we won’t know if we are counting on Fujita until after the draft

  • Is_this_a_pimple_or_a_boil

    Oh I think most people understand that the dying breed of hockey fans look at fighting in hockey as a part of the game that….blah…blah…..blah.  Sure thing send through that “Impressive Resume” as soon as possible……..LMAO

  • Is_this_a_pimple_or_a_boil

    Seriously…..what type of person says they will send their resume to prove how much they know????  Thats funny.

  • Humboldt

    Let me try to be as clear as I can about the issue we are debating.

    The NHL is the only major professional sport (boxing/MMA aside) that does not prohibit fighting.  As research has established an irrefutable link between head trauma and dementia, the NHL continues to allow fighting to persist.

    You seem to be arguing that this is ok because 1) fans like fighting and 2) two grown men should be able to fight.  Unfortunately, these are the very reasons why strong leadership is needed by the league: the bloodlust of the fanbase has to be overridden.

    Say what you will about Goodell, and I’m no fan, but the NFL under his leadership has taken a firm stance on head injuries despite the complaints of the fanbase and players. The NHL is currently mired in the same moral conundrum that faced the NFL when Gene Upshaw literally denied the link between head injuries and dementia and didn’t advocate for changes to the game to protect players.

    In the absence of leadership, violence goes unchecked in a sport and players will suffer short- and long-term damage. This is at heart a moral issue. I at least appreciate your sense of clarity in the debate, but totally disagree with the lack of ethics in your stance.

  • Humboldt

    Ok, I think that’s where we’ll leave it. I do caution you that your pro-fighting stance will become more and more untenable over time to the point at which it will seem anachronistic.

  • notoriouswoj

    Yet you bring nothing to the argument? I at least offered proof that I know more than you about this. As well as clear and concise reasoning why the NFL and NHL issues have nothing to do with each other. You however just babble, overuse punctuation, and use childish internet abbreviations. But by all means keep going. Can’t wait to LMAFO or LULZ or whatever idiotic things that pre-teens use. 

  • Humboldt

    It is clear why fighting exists in hockey: if a player takes a cheap shot, an enforcer will retaliate by fighting the aggressor. This creates a strong disincentive for cheap shots and protects players (especially star players). 

    However, an argument for the functionality of fighting does not justify it morally.  For instance, centuries ago dueling was a simple way of handling disputes between men, but you surely wouldn’t argue that it should be tolerated in modern civil society because it is simple and effective, right?

    Your argument for why the bounty/fighting issues are separate is also weak. At their core, both are connected by the willful intent to injure another player through violence.  In the NFL, the league is proactively addressing the problem and making an example out of those who perpetrated violence.  NHL leadership continues to fail to address the moral problem it has on its hands, and fighting remains a part of the game.

    I’m afraid apologists like you will never get it. That’s why the NHL has to step up and change the game to protect its players.

  • Humboldt

    I’ll send you my CV


  • Is_this_a_pimple_or_a_boil

    Well based on that well articulated response I guess were not getting that Resume? 


    Ohhhh us silly pre-teens

  • notoriouswoj

    Like I said above, bringing nothing to the table. 

  • notoriouswoj

    Thank you for at least bringing an argument to the table rather than pre-teen acronyms. You lost me at the morality argument. These are your morals, not mine, and not certainly anyone who has played the game. Back the the original point. This was a coach, gm, and team leaders who couldn’t properly motivate themselves and needed to bring more money into the game. It has nothing to do with the NHL. 

  • Humboldt

    “You lost me at the morality argument.”

    I’m afraid that may be the problem…

  • notoriouswoj

    Nice context. I said “your morals, not mine, and not anyone who has played the game” 

  • Harv 21

    went to a bounty story and a hockey game broke out.

  • Humboldt

    Let me try this again. I have been very clear in arguing that it is morally wrong to sanction fighting when we know that repeated blows to the head create significant long- and short-term health hazards for players.

    On the other hand, you don’t seem to be able or willing to defend your position that the NHL has no obligation to reduce violence by ending fighting. Instead, you have made some bizarre argument that only those who have played hockey are capable of judging it.

    By your logic, the only people who could ever express a moral opposition to war are soldiers; the only people who could critique political bribery would be politicians, etc…

    Do you see why we are unable to even debate this issue right now?

  • Humboldt

    haha, sorry Harv, although today my wrath is well-deserved as opposed to yesterday’s errant salvo at you.

    I study/treat Alzheimer’s disease & TBI and thus am quite close to this issue. Therefore, I don’t suffer ignorance as well as I do other topics with less public health implications

  • Harv 21

    do find it interesting that lifelong hockey enthusiasts think it’s beyond the comprehension of other sports fans as to the why and supposed inevitability of the fighting. Always thought that the league could stop it on a dime if they wanted: suspend all participants through the end of the season without pay, second violation is lifetime, first puncher’s team forfeits the game. Instead teams save roster spots for goons while the league nurtures a certain brutal fan appeal, but one that may limit the popularity of what is otherwise a beautiful sport.

    You could make similar arguments about the supposed “need” to fight in the NBA. But the racial overtones between fan base and player in basketball make it untenable on any level, and David Stern lowers the boom immediately rather than risk any tolerance for going down that road.

  • Steve

    Baseball has its own archaic code that some people just “don’t get”.  And while there are guys who can fight well on each roster, most teams today can’t afford to give a spot to a guy who is not  NHL-talent but is there just to fight – a goon if you will.  

  • Humboldt

    Well said.  Interesting too that other sports have acts of retaliatory aggression – hard fouls in basketball, hit batters in baseball, etc – that enable a “wrong to be righted” without resorting to physical violence.

    I find it dispiriting that so many NHL fans see fighting as an intrinsic part of the game, but things will likely shift in coming years. I am certainly someone who has totally avoided professional hockey b/c of the fighting issue (well, that and we only had the Lumberjacks when I was a kid in Cleveland).

  • NoVA Buckeye

    fighting is the basis of the NHL market

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

     I don’t care about Hockey, the NHL, or fighting in either.

    But how is a hard foul or hitting a batter with a pitch not “resorting to physical violence”?

  • Humboldt

    A fair question. Those examples you mention are certainly acts of aggression meant to send a message but not violence, which I would define as attacking someone with the intent to injure.

    There is a certain etiquette to a hard foul or a hit batter (for instance, a pitcher will throw at a guy’s butt or behind him or up and in to send a message) and if that etiquette is breached, it becomes a violent act (throwing at someone’s head to potentially injure).

    Most professional sports have clearly adapted ways for retaliation to occur, and that’s fine with me. I was a pitcher in college and sent a few message pitches myself. Hockey, however, is the only sport that sanctions a brute act of violence – fighting – as unambiguously acceptable within the game.