F*ck Roger Goodell

Did the Saints have a bounty program when they shouldn’t have? Yes. Were there lots of other teams with similar systems in place? Yes. Does that excuse the Saints’ behavior? No. Are the penalties being handed down by Roger Goodell outrageously excessive? Absolutely.

It feels as if Goodell has just told the entire city of New Orleans to go fuck itself.  An entire year of suspension for Payton? Give me a break. I know that “everybody else does it, too” is not a defense. But I honestly don’t feel that the Saints were intentionally trying to seriously injure other players, regardless of what’s being said in the media.

A few current and former Saints players’ opinions:

Anthony Hargrove, former Saints defensive lineman:
"In regards to the hit I made on Brett Favre that has been talked about: it was one of about five times I got to him and the only one that was late. I agree it was a late hit, but in the heat of the moment I was simply trying to make a play. I can assure you that when I got up, I was thinking two things, one, that I cost my team, and two, that I might have just cost myself some money if the NFL fined me. To put things in perspective, I received a game ball for my play that day and yet got fined while receiving nothing and expecting to receive nothing for the play some keep referencing. Kudos to Brett, he even asked me if that was all I had! Gotta love him.But did I personally want Favre INJURED? Absolutely and categorically NO! Did I feel like we, the Saints, had a better chance of being in the Super Bowl with Favre on the sideline? Of course. Would the Patriots and their fans have probably been excited to see Eli [Manning] on the bench with his foot up whispering that he was done [in Super Bowl XLVI]? Would players on the sideline have made comments to that effect? Right or wrong, I'm guessing yes."

Scott Fujita, Former Saints linebacker: 
“Over the years I’ve paid out a lot of money for big plays like interceptions, sacks and special teams tackles inside the 20, but I’ve never made a payment for intentionally injuring another player.”

Jabari Greer, Saints cornerback: 
"It seems as if they are trying to destroy our season.They are trying to take away our leaders, take away our leadership. But it's not going to happen. We are New Orleans. We will be strong, we will get through this, we will fight through this and we will win. It's not gonna happen. It's not gonna happen. No matter the adversity, we're going to stand up, we're going to stand strong, we're going to look you in your face and we're going to continue to play with passion, play with heart, because that's how we play. Not with malicious intent, not trying to hurt somebody. It doesn't matter about a bounty system. We go out there and play hard, we play fast, because we're men of integrity and we love to play the game.We play a violent game. So that is, my spirit and my soul is moving me to words to say that people are painting us as mercenaries for hire. They are painting us as thugs. We're fathers, we're professionals and we are men."

In many ways, it really does feel as if the NFL is trying to make an example of the Saints to cover their own asses on all of these pending player lawsuits.  And I suppose Saints fans are feeling defensive about it, because it once again feels like the NFL is both screwing the fans of the New Orleans Saints and trying to compromise the legitimacy of our team.  For those of you who don’t remember, Roger Goodell and the NFL tried to sue New Orleanians for using the phrase “Who Dat” or an image of the fleur de lis (both of which have been around longer than the NFL) on merchandise after the Saints were headed to the Super Bowl in 2010. And some of us still haven’t forgotten about the fact that the overtime playoff rules were changed after the existing rules benefited the Saints.

But I suppose most of all, I'm just pissed because I, like so many other Saints fans, was hoping that this might be the year that the Saints would be the first home team to host a Super Bowl. That's looking pretty unlikely now, thanks to the hypocrisy of Goodell.

Okay, I get it--the Saints had to be penalize for breaking the rules. But to attempt to trash our entire 2012 season to make an example of us seems like unnecessary overkill, and count me among the Saints fans who feel that the outcome would have been different had another team, say the New England Patriots, been the ones who were caught up in Bountygate. I’ll leave you with two more thoughts:

Dave Zirin, Sports Editor, The Nation
Ask Roger Goodell, and he will say that the suspensions were so harsh because the league needed to protect players and take a stand against the culture of violence that bounties imply. But this fails the most basic of smell tests. If Goodell cared about player safety, he wouldn’t be pushing for an eighteen-game season. He wouldn’t have spent last off-season fighting the NFL Players Association on expanding health benefits or limiting “voluntary” off-season workouts. He wouldn’t be promoting Thursday-night games, which will accelerate injuries by giving players a shorter week to heal.

Chris Rose, New Orleans Columnist:
What we did was wrong, very wrong. The consequences will be meted out and heavily so. And then? And then it's time to play football.  What matters now is finding a group of men just crazy enough, just hungry enough, and just plain arrogant enough to put on a Saints jersey and say hell with everybody else, these are my colors, this is my team. This is my town. For them, I will follow.

1 comment:

barbawit said...

Great post, I think you summed it up nicely. I just wonder where Goodel thinks he is going to eat when he visits for the Superbowl.