Bob Costas on Saints Bounty-Gate Punishment

From NBC Sports


On how the NFL handled the situation

I want to stand up and cheer for Roger Goodell.

Now, the penalty to the players, which may be a little trickier because he may face some resistance from the Players Association; but the penalty for the players will be forthcoming, we are led to believe in about a week, and I think they will also be appropriately severe.

He has made an important statement today. And anyone who thinks that the Saints are scapegoats because of the present atmosphere in the NFL, maybe their timing was off, but they deserve every bit of this. They are blatantly guilty of something that has no place whatsoever in sports.

And it goes beyond the idea of bounties. If people interpret this as, ‘well no one will ever have any bounties any more’ at least not anything that can be traced; Roger Goodell is sending a message about the culture of the game, about the celebration of a kind of violence, a kind of brutality that goes above and beyond anything that reasonable people should accept.

It’s understood within football, whether there are bounties or not, that many players, not all, maybe not most, that many players are either indifferent to whether or not they injure opponents or actually take pride and glee in injuring opponents. There is no question about it. It’s not isolated to the New Orleans Saints.

The NFL as it is presently constituted is a great, great game that is exciting in many ways and interesting in many ways, and is clearly America’s most popular sport. It also has a serious problem because it is fundamentally brutal in a way that reasonable people should no longer accept.

And Roger Goodell is trying to deal with that both, a) because it’s the right thing to do, and I believe he is a good man, but b) because he is also a business man and he knows that with all this litigation out there, and more coming, he’s got to position the league as standing as reasonably as it can against excessive and gratuitous violence.

On if another team is found guilty of similar actions

Screw them – same thing. Hit them with the same thing.

On benchmarks being set

… if what the next team did was worse, then make the penalty worse. If what the next team did is half as bad, then make the penalty half as bad. But he has established a benchmark.

Nobody should be allowed to get away with this.


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