Should Fans Care About the Saints' Bounty Scandal?

Jake, the day I start looking to Drew Magary as my moral compass, you can take me out back and shoot me.

Let me see if I'm getting this. You are saying that football is a violent game? Wow. Gee whiz. That is a stunning revelation. Next thing you'll be telling me that the sky is blue.

Yes, football is about violence. But it isn't only about violence. The goal of the game is not, in fact, "to bring a man to the ground" however you can. The goal, because apparently there's confusion here, is to score more points than the other team. Towards that end, teams employ various tactics and strategies. One tactic, the forward pass, is especially popular with fans. It's so popular that forward-passers, called "quarterbacks," are among the game's biggest stars. Brett Favre, for instance, during his playing career, generated millions of dollars for the NFL, its broadcast partners, and advertisers. Jonathan Vilma and Gregg Williams? Ummm... Not so much. Bet you last dollar, those boys are about to learn their place on the food chain.

But this isn't just about pampering quarterbacks. Keep in mind, we aren't talking about cash for big, clean plays. That would be fundamentally no different from college and high school programs handing out helmet stickers. The Saints wanted guys knocked off their field. That usually means a cheap shot or helmet-to-helmet hit, and the team was offering cash to offset the inevitable fines that would come.

That's not "just part of football," Jake, and it's more than just bad business, too. It's cheating. And it's an especially cruel, stupid kind; one that can not only change the outcome of games, but destroy a player's career in an instant.

Anyone, you or Drew, who is incapable of making a moral distinction between playing a violent game to win, and playing it to deliberately injure others isn't really in a position to be calling anyone a hypocrite.

Patrick, surely you're not going to defend the Saints. After all, I do look to you as my moral compass.

–Hampton

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Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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