Ty Willingham Bounty: How Far Is Too Far for Disgruntled Fans?

Bleacher Report Senior Analyst IJanuary 10, 2008

Dolphin's Fan
A Dolphins fan shows his disapointment.  (photo:The Beacon Newspaper)

Many disgruntled fans have threatened to boycott certain teams in the past, and to an extent, it's understandable.

Your favorite team isn't performing as you'd like, so you decide to go on your own personal strike by not attending the games or not following the team—that's fine.

But what if you blame only the coach for your team's failures? 

You still want to support the team with your attendance, but you have a problem with the man in charge.  So, what do you do then? 

Make a sign which voices your discontent? 

Start your own Fire [insert coach's name].com website? 

Wear a paper bag over your head? 

Call in a talk radio show to rant for five-plus minutes?

All four of these options are logical for any hardcore fan, and no one can blame any fan who would go to such lengths. 

But how far is too far?

Recently, a University of Washington alum put out a bounty, pledging to donate $100,000 if head coach Tyrone Willingham was fired.  He even went further, offering another $100,000 should the UW athletic director be fired as well. 

The offer was meant to be kept secret, but it somehow leaked to the press. 

So, the question is: Is this going too far? 

Thankfully, the University of Washington declined the alum's offer, but who's to say that the pledge won't open the floodgates for angry fans and alums who happen to have deep pockets? 

Should Bill Gates be a fan of say, the Seattle Mariners, would it be going too far for him to offer $10 million dollars to replace manager John McLaren?  After all, it could be a "charitable donation."

Forget the future of disgruntled fans—who's to say that fat-walleted loyalists haven't already successfully fired a coach?  If the Washington fan's offer leaked out, could it be possible that other offers were kept secret? 

Remember when Marty Schottenheimer was fired after a 14-2 season with the Chargers?  They had the best record in the NFL, so could there have been some funny business going on? 

Let's not get too carried away here.  We know GM A.J. Smith had his reasons, so someone's having a bounty out for Schottenheimer's firing is quite a long shot.

It is fun to wonder though. 

Let's just hope that the recent Washington situation doesn't give any deep-pocketed fans any ideas, because that's the last thing we need in sports—more secret agendas.

Information from the Associated Press and ESPN was used in this report.


Robert H. Spain is an Alabama-based columnist for BleacherReport.com.  View his entire archive here.