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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

“Bounty” system delivers a terrible message for young people

Professional sport is big business.  It’s about money—and winning. 

That true sportsmanship is not always (ever?) at the forefront of “game plans” and motivational strategies—when the result is the only thing that matters—is not a shock to anyone.

But recent revelations that some NFL coaches (in particular, former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinate Gregg Williams) have routinely employed what is referred to as a “bounty” system are profoundly disturbing.

Pro football, by its very nature, is already a physical, often violent sport.  It remains wildly popular, though the violent aspect of the sport is finally beginning to receive attention, especially as we discover that more and more former players, sadly, are living out their lives with dementia and various ailments that are clearly related to hitting—and being hit—throughout their football careers.

So it is ironic that, at a time when the world is finally beginning to take issues such as head trauma and concussions (and the long-lasting repercussions of such injuries) seriously, that there are still coaches who apparently “teach” professional players to try and injure opponents so those players are “knocked out of the game”.  And, the players are rewarded if they manage to knock an opposing player out.

Williams was once the Head coach of the Buffalo Bills.  We encourage you to read the article (linked to WIVB) which details some of the concerning elements of the impact this kind of behavior at the professional level can have on our youth.

We know young people are often influenced by how adults and especially sports “heroes” act.  Here’s hoping this is one example that will be punished severely by the powers-that-be at the NFL level, sending a message to all youth coaches and players alike that this kind of behavior—and thinking—is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.  

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