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Tracy Porter #22 and Jonathan Vilma #51 of the New Orleans Saints tackle Jason Whitten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on November 25, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.
American football is a bone-crushing game - a full contact sport in which elite athletes fight and claw for every yard. It is no surprise that players competing at this level would hit hard – it’s what they’re paid to do.
But an investigation by the National Football League revealed that from 2009 to 2011, players from the New Orleans Saints ran a “bounty” scheme that paid large cash bonuses for targeting specific players with the intent to take them out of games.
Among the players targeted by Saints defensive players were marquee quarterbacks such as Brett Favre, who then played for the Minnesota Vikings, and Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals. According to NFL experts, under-the-table performance-based bonuses are commonplace even though they’re against league rules, but the findings of an NFL investigation into the Saints’ “bounty” scandal has NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poised to dole out some very stiff penalties for the players involved.
Football is a tough sport, but does this go too far?
Fred Dryer, former NFL player, actor; played 176 games over 13 seasons for the New York Giants and Los Angels Rams, and is the only player in NFL history to have scored two safeties in one quarter (against the Green Bay Packers in 1973)
Jim Trotter, senior writer, Sports Illustrated
Josh Luchs, former sports agent and author of the upcoming “Illegal Procedure: A Sports Agent Comes clean on the Dirty Business of College Football”