LaDainian Tomlinson on bounties: ‘I don’t think you can discipline them too much’
It could be a while before we find out how Roger Goodell is going deal with the alleged bounty scandal that is ripping through the Saints organization and every other team that Gregg Williams has been a part of. One thing we can be certain of is that Goodell is going to take the matter more seriously than LaDainian Tomlinson does. L.T. believes placing bounties on opponents is simply a form of motivation, and that the Saints do not deserve to be harshly disciplined.
“We’ll have to wait and see what the commissioner does as far as discipline, but in all honesty I mean I think it’s kind of part of the game,” Tomlinson said during an interview with XX 1090 Sports Radio in San Diego. “I mean to be honest with you I don’t think you can discipline them guys too much.
“I don’t think it’s cheating at all. Absolutely not. Because like I said it is a form of motivation. If I’ve got a group of guys and they are going against the top offense in the league – if I want to challenge my guys – I say, ‘Guys if we pick off this guy twice I’m giving somebody such and such. Whoever does it. Hey! That is not cheating!’ That is just motivating your players to play a little bit harder and play a little bit better.”
What Tomlinson meant to say is that he has no problem with it because the Patriots didn’t do it. If word surfaces that Bill Belichick offers his players bounties to injure opponents, expect L.T. to rally for the Patriots organization to be dissolved.
There are a number of issues involved with Williams’ bounty system. First of all, words like “knockout” and “cart-off” were allegedly used, which calls the safety of the game into question. Considering how much time has been spent in recent years trying to make the game safer by penalizing helmet-to-helmet hits and limiting head injuries, the timing of the allegations is brutal.
Paying players to try to injure an opponent — whether it be with a clean hit or an illegal one — calls the integrity of the game into question. Not to mention, Goodell will also have to look into the issue of salary cap violations if players were being paid cash bonuses. I’m not saying this calls the Saints’ Super Bowl victory into question by any means, but Tomlinson is wrong about whether or not they can be disciplined for it. Goodell can and will punish the Saints and any other team or player that was involved. Look for that punishment to be rather harsh.