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NFL vs U.S. Senate
By Xavier Hunter
While sports is a microcosm of the things that surround us, should the worlds of sports and lawmaking ever intersect? It was announced today that the Senate would look into the legality of “bounty systems.” While I can understand the concern about player safety and even the fact that it could pass as gambling, the fact remains that there have always been some type of merits for good plays.
If awarding players pools of money based on things that happen are a supposed crime, then teams should stop giving out game balls. There shouldn’t be bonuses if a player is named “player of the game” or “player of the week,” especially if somebody were hurt during that contest. No… that would be wrong (I hope you can hear the sarcasm in my voice.) The last time I checked, and I’m quoting Herm Edwards on this, “You play to win the game.”
For there to be Senate hearings about this issue makes me question if the country is really in as bad a shape as political pundits say. Seriously. Think about it. While the unemployment rate is said to be falling, gas prices are back near record high levels and there are still troops overseas. On top of that, there’s so much else going on, why should THIS be a blip on the radar?
Although the punishment was severe, it fit the crime. Multiple warnings were sent and ignored. A precedent had been set, somewhat, when Paul Hornung and Alex Karras were suspended in 1963 for gambling. While “pay for play” systems (I loathe the word “bounty”) aren’t gambling in a traditional form, there’s still the possibility of the outcome being affected by somebody getting hurt. But even if nobody got paid for big hits, what if it’s a rivalry game or there’s bad blood between players? They’re still going to play just as hard.
In the end, what’s done is done. Players got paid for doing what they’re supposed to do: play hard and give all they’ve got. The Senate should focus on things that matter more, like getting Florida’s “Stand My Ground” act repealed or severely modified. I’m done.
Xavier A. Hunter
KTSU Sports Talk analyst
The Choice 90.9 KTSU FM