Weekend edition is Saturday It is a “news” program, but anchorman Scott Simon may offer an occasional liberal commentary called “Simon Says.” The Saturday before the Super Bowl, Simon ripped pro football as a violent sport, essentially calling out the NFL for abusing its workforce.
The occasion was the Denver Broncos hiring Sean Payton as their head coach. Payton was a successful head coach of the New Orleans Saints from 2006 to 2021, leading the franchise to its first Super Bowl victory in the 2009 season. Simon wrote in the editorial that Payton was not punished enough for the “Bountygate” scandal in 2012, when defensive coordinator Greg Williams instituted a “bounty” system for injuring other teams’ offensive players.
Simon: He became the Broncos coach at the end of a football season in which more attention has been drawn to the toll the game can take on players, especially Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills’ safety, months after he suffered cardiac arrest after the last tackle. attended the ceremony and spoke of how grateful he felt to be alive. Sean Payton won seven division titles with New Orleans, as well as their Super Bowl. He was the 2006 NFL Coach of the Year. But he was suspended by the NFL for the 2012 season due to what became known as Bountigate.
An NFL investigation found that more than 20 Saints players set cash bounties to lure teammates into intentionally injuring opposing players so painfully and severely, they would be ejected from the game. A thousand in cash was common if a player was carried off the field on a stretcher, $1,500 if the player was knocked out. Playoff games have grown in number of more important players. Pro football is a violent enterprise, but paying players cash for injuring other players is still against the rules.
Sean Payton has not been accused of orchestrating the scheme or offering his own cash rewards. But the NFL’s investigation found that he did not stop the bounties when he learned about them, nor did he stop the payments after being ordered by his team owner. In fact, the NFL found that as the investigation deepened, Sean Payton advised assistant coaches, “Make sure our ducks are in a row.”
Simon pointed out that Payton was suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season and lost $8 million in salary, but somehow you have to assume Simon thought he should have been banned forever. He stopped a voice:
SIMON: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a press conference this week that concussions are down 6% in the NFL this year. But if you watch the Super Bowl tomorrow — and despite many doubts, what am i — You might consider Sean Payton’s expensive new contract and think that means the NFL has gone too far from seeing its own players suffer breaks, sprains and concussions as part of the game.
Cynicism about the sport and some implying racial animosity are all sourced from NPR.