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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Not all football players are saints

    The NFL is collecting penalties signaling the end of its cultural prominence, and it needs to punish the New Orleans Saints for running bounty pools. This industry revolves around not just a sport, but an influential culture. Youth need to understand that violence should not be rewarded, no matter how televised the stage.

    “After the NFL made its investigation public … former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams admitted to running a bounty pool of up to $50,000 during the past three seasons, rewarding players for knocking targeted opponents out of games,” according to an ESPN article.

    The bounty program was in place during the 2009 NFL season, when the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl. Now the achievement is tainted by the most disrespectful behavior among the team’s players and staff.

    The Super Bowl winner is known by most everyone. Even if a young person isn’t into sports, it is pretty hard to not be a part of the celebration.

    Because of the Saints’ tactics, everything about what a football game is comes into question. Children are taught that no good comes from violence, and if there is a bruised knee or an achy joint after a hard tackle during a game of flag football, that is just an accident. However, the bounty pool investigation, which shows the violence was no accident, sends children a different message.

    Children’s idols just got caught playing rough for money. Sure, the defensive coordinator may be getting the brunt of media attention, but the players were the ones getting paid. Players need to stop and remember that they are getting paid to play a game.

    The idea of a bounty program ruins the ethical teachings that children learn while playing. Playing football is supposed to be a simple way to discover how to work as a team, while learning the importance of respecting opponents. Adding a bounty program takes the “play” out of “player.”

    Children idolize football players, they buy the jerseys of their favorite players and they watch the games on TV. Adolescents look up to these players because some athletes prove that a person can come from any background and rise through the ranks by sheer determination and hard work.

    When this hard work is accompanied by monetary gain for hurting other people, these idols lose their credibility. They aren’t just playing the game to show the positive reward for long hours of practice.

    The bounty pool contradicts the basic values children are taught about working hard with good intentions, instead of acting with hidden malice. It undermines the respect between players and brings along the concept of greed, which has no place on the field. These athletes may be multimillionaires, but they are expected by society to earn their pay by playing the game like it was played decades ago.

    The New Orleans Saints should be punished for their unprofessionalism and greed. The NFL as a whole needs to prove that professional football deserves to be celebrated by today’s youth.

    — Megan Hurley is a journalism junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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