Following recent reports of team-organized bounties by the New Orleans Saints in recent seasons, former Dallas Cowboys safety Darren Woodson was asked early Monday morning if he was ever a part of such a scandal during his playing days. While Woodson didn’t admit to any type of team-organized bounty scheme, he did say the Cowboys’ players rewarded each other for hard hits and knocking opposing players out of games.
“The term bounty never came up,” Woodson said. “We always talked about big hits. We always rewarded ourselves, as far as the secondary is concerned. All the guys would say, ‘Hey, if you got an interception, here’s a little cash for you.’ If you got the big hit. ‘Here’s a little cash for you.’ If you knocked a guy out of the game. ‘There’s a little bit more of a bonus.’ ”
But it never was an organized situation where the coach is involved or the GM is involved – it was never that type of gambling. It was basically guys in that locker room, guys in that defensive back meeting, talking about the big hits. We rewarded ourselves.”
Revelations like these shed light on darker parts of the NFL. While fans and teammates get excited about big hits, there’s a line that can’t be crossed by defensive players. Getting paid by team officials to knock opposing players out of the game is simply disgraceful to the most profitable American professional sports league.
Teammates rewarding each other for big plays is something that can’t be controlled and probably shouldn’t be. However, coaches and team officials offering rewards to their players for intentionally injuring specific opposing players should be and likely will be punishable for forfeiture of draft picks in the near future. It also makes one wonder how many more former players will come forward with confessions far worse than Woodson’s.