*edit: I mentioned this in the comments below, but apparently my motivations were unclear. This was, in no way, related to the Vikings loss to the Saints. I got over that before the Super Bowl two weeks later and have never looked back. Bounty or not, we lost that game fair and square in my mind and the fact that we have played the Saints at any point in the past never once entered my mind while writing this.
I didn’t write this as a Vikings fan, I wrote this as a human being capable of logical thought. This was 100% a response to the frustration I felt when reading through a couple posts about the scandal and the league’s evidence over at the Saints SB Nation site. The denial and stupidity was mind boggling and I just needed to get it out. Being a writer, I turned to my keyboard. And when I was done, I thought I’d share it with you all.
Dear Saints fans,
Let me start off by saying it was fun going through that whole Starcaps thing with you. It was weird to me that you guys never really fought back and just kept riding the coat tails of our players' case, but whatever. I'm sure you had more important things to do (actually, they probably didn't have a legal stand to make because Louisiana state laws probably don't... but I digress). Anyways...
I'm writing you today regarding this whole "bounty scandal". Yes, I used the word bounty, because that's the association one can make from the images and language used in the evidence presented to the media today (to avoid confusion, I am referring to the "evidence" and the "corrupt, Saint hating media").
Now before you get all mad and storm off, or skip down the comment section to leave me some hurtful note, let me assure you that I am just as sick of all this as you are. Probably more so since I have no vested interest in the outcome and therefore care significantly less. This has dominated headlines for months when all I really care about is how I finally can have a summer that doesn't involve the words "Favre Watch", "Lockout" or "Los Angeles Vikings". It feels like it's been about 5 years. Maybe it has... it's summer, I don't have to do math.
The league has presented it's evidence. It's somewhat circumstantial in places (less so in others), but this isn't an FBI investigation and we aren't going to get DNA evidence proving Jonathan Vilma conspired with Sean Payton to murder Colonel Mustard in the Billiard Room with a Bounty. But the league has made some points that no one can refute. Number one, there was, at the very least, an official coach sanctioned program that involved paying players under the table for performance rendered on the field (btw, stop asking for evidence that money changed hands, because the payments weren't made on Paypal or with marked bills and you sound like idiots). This has been corroborated by multiple sources, including some of the players suspended. This is 100% illegal, no matter how you spin it. Number two is that the Saints were using some very suspicious language in their private documents, emails and face to face interactions on the sidelines (cough, Anthony Hargrove allegedly saying "pay me" when informed he had knocked Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship game on NFL Films footage, cough).
Many Saints fans (or "traitors" as some fans have taken to calling them) have admitted to both of these things but have expressed concern that the punishment doesn't match the crime. But here's the thing. It's not supposed to. Because yes, you are being made an example of (hilariously enough, if you'd been caught in 2009 before all this new evidence came out about the long term effects of concussions, you'd almost certainly have gotten off a lot easier). Yes, it sucks. That's the point. Being made an example of is never fair and it's never fun (which is kind of the point). I know first hand what it's like to be made an example of because I went to public school and there learned that life isn't fair. But I know school systems in Louisiana suck so I'll give you another example.
I know exactly what you're going through because I'm a Timberwolves fan. In 2000, the Timberwolves lost 5 first round draft picks for paying Joe Smith (aka "Who dat?") under the table and off of the salary cap (and the worst punishment of all; we didn't get our General Manager suspended...). Which is pretty much exactly what you guys did, in the most generous interpretation of the evidence the league has presented. Sure, they eventually reduced the sentence to 3 first round picks, but the damage was severe in a league where first round picks are basically the only way to build a contender (unless you want to embarrass your hometown on national television, but is it really worth it... again, digression). That punishment hamstrung our efforts to build a contender around Kevin Garnett and we had to watch him win one somewhere else instead. A punishment that is, frankly, much, much more severe than what's been doled out on you.
So cry me a river. It happens. You accept that you were in the wrong and you take it like a man, go polish your Lombardi Trophy and hope that your hard lesson will prevent something more serious from happening down the road. The league coming down so hard on you may prevent another team from instating their own program. One that clearly is malicious and dangerous and causes serious injuries before the league shuts them down. We can never know what may or may not have been prevented by this punishment. But I like to think that some 10 year old kid out there isn't going to be paralyzed, someday after he gets to the NFL, by a devastating high-low hit caused by monetary incentive from a Gregg Williams protege that takes things a step further than even Williams seemed to do.
In conclusion, whining about and denying the evidence just makes you look like petulant children.
Thank you for your time,
also me, Cobra312004...