So by now you’ve heard the news. Sean Payton, Head Coach of the New Orleans Saints, was suspended for an entire season; the result of an NFL punishment for indirectly endorsing a system of bounties for any defensive players who can intentionally injure a human target of their opponent. But Payton wasn’t the only one who took the fall. Former Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams was indefinitely banned from working (let alone coaching) in the NFL, Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis is out for eight games, and linebackers coach, Joe Vitt, will lose six games. More than 20 players on the Saints’ roster are also on the chopping block, but the decisions have yet to be made.
Basically, New Orleans football is looking anything but saintly.
At the time when Bounty-gate turned viral and everyone was talking about the controversy, NFL fans, for the most part, were very turned off by the idea that any team would be so unsportsmanlike as to wish their opponent serious, perhaps even career-ending injuries. However, when the hammer came down on Sean Payton, many fans went into cardiac arrest; believing that NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, had gone too far in his metering of punishment to the guilty parties. Was Payton in the wrong for not putting an end to this bounty on his team? Absolutely. But a year of suspension? No one seems happy.
Goodell appears to have chosen a road of Machiavellian leadership, in which his mantra asks whether it is better for the king to be loved or hated. The king who tries to sustain the long-term love of his people will never completely achieve such ends. However, the king who accepts that he will be hated, well, his people learn to accept the severity of his discipline. And right now, NFL Owners are all desperately trying to ensure that they don’t face the next wave of Goodell’s hammer. If the consequences of Bounty-Gate end up lowering the number of serious injuries in the NFL over the next year, then we’ll all agree that the king was wise.
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