Saints need more penalties

Published 5:10 am Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Last week, the National Football League  handed down harsh sanctions to the New Orleans Saints for their participation in a bounty program.

In the program, defensive players for the Saints received bonuses for big hits on opposing players and earned more money if they were able to take out star player.

The sanctions handed down earned head coach Sean Payton a year-long suspension, which will also cost him $5.8 million of his $7.6 that he would earn next season.

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Also in the mix for suspensions were Saints GM Mickey Loomis with an eight-game ban and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who is suspended indefinitely.

Williams’ suspension does not affect the Saints because he left the team to join the St. Louis Rams earlier this year, so it will be up to new Rams head coach Jeff Fisher on how to handle that situation.

Along with the front office and coaching suspensions, several players could be suspended by the NFL once the NFL Players’ Association completes its investigation.

The big question is are the suspensions enough?

Paying players to purposely injure opponents is an issue that needs to be addressed with more than bans on games.

What does that teach high school coaches and young players? That it’s OK to try and hurt an opponent?

What if a high school tried to secretly use a bounty program to encourage its players to play dirty?

Luckily, the Alabama High School Athletic Association requires all of its student-atheletes and coaches to take a sportsmanship test before each season.

This might not stop incidents such as fights or personal fouls, but it does uphold each school to a higher standard of sportsmanship.

Maybe the NFL should institute its own sportsmanship course. If a player violates a sportsmanship rule, that player could be forced to take a class in sportsmanship.

It might not make the players happy, but it could force their hand, so they know not to take part in stupid plays or cheap shots.

Each of these coaches and players with the Saints should have to be involved in some type of sportsmanship course or community service that helps them realize who is watching them when they play.

Parents surely don’t want their children learning how to injure an opponent when they could be learning how to become a better athlete from a professional.

Chandler Myers is sports editor of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123 or by e-mail at