Some time in the next few days, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will hand down his ruling on the now-infamous bounty program carried out by the New Orleans Saints over the last three seasons.
It's all but certain that the Saints will lose their No. 1 draft pick in 2012, that several current and ex-Saints players will be suspended for multiple games, and that former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams—the ringleader in the scandal—will face a lengthy suspension.
But that would not be enough.
For a league facing countless lawsuits for ignoring the risks of concussions, a league in which the average career is little more than three years long, a league riddled for decades by stories of ex-NFL players who can't walk, talk, or otherwise function, Gregg Williams needs to be made an example.
He should be banished from the game.
Not for a month.
Not for a season.
But for life.
For the good of the game, the NFL should ban Williams forever.
Williams' apology rings as hollow as a convict on the day of his sentencing.
NFL football is a tough business, no doubt. It's a brutal sport, one that leaves many a player hobbled for life, reaching for words that never come, unable to hold their grandchildren.
Yes, those players entered the league with eyes wide open.
Yes, they made millions as fans plunked down hard-earned cash to see the fastest, strongest, toughest men in the world go from zero to blur to Bam in three seconds.
Yes, they made the decision to risk life and limb for the almighty dollar.
But no one, no matter how well they are paid, should take the field wondering if there is literally a bounty on their head—or their knee, ankle, or shoulder.
Saints players received $1,000 if a player had to be carted off the field and $1,500 if they were knocked out.
Williams, who played Capo to his defensive hit men over the last 10 years, deserves the NFL equivalent of the long, nighttime stroll on the boardwalk with a pair of cement shoes.
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