The League

Emil Steiner
Editor and Blogger

Emil Steiner

The author of NFL Crime Watch and Founding Editor of The League.

A Measured Approach

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Roger Goodell has a dilemma. On one hand he wants the NFL to be a family friendly sport, on the other he needs pro football to be the toughest, hardest hitting sport on earth. Mom, dad and kids don't mix well with concussion and paralysis.

That's why when something like bounty hunting surfaces, his office has been brutally quick to crackdown. Placing a bounty on another player's head isn't only nasty, it's illegal in the NFL (not to mention real life), according to Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations. That's why, presumably, the league is currently investigating Terrell Suggs' comments on the "2 Live Stews" syndicated radio show on Oct. 17, when he said the Ravens defense were going after the Steelers' Rashard Mendenhall and Hines Ward.

Still, the visceral football fan, who sees the sport as gladiatorial combat, loves this kind of thing. It angers up the blood and inflames the hatred that makes old rivalries so great. Players I've spoken with admit that that calling out an opponent publicly gets the team fired up. Ward himself said Thursday on PTI that he considers it "a big honor" to have a bounty on his head.

Ultimately, the commissioner must enforce his rules against bounties, but his application should be measured. Professional football can't be allowed to degenerate into professional wrestling anymore than it can afford to become ballet.

By Emil Steiner  |  October 24, 2008; 2:39 PM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: No Place for Bounties | Next: Bengals Need Implosion

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