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OUR VIEW: Bounties have no place in football, NFL or otherwise

A former sports reporter at The Daily Republic once overheard this statement from an area football fan:

"We were pretty fed up with that kid (a player from an opposing team). We were hoping someone would break his leg."

The subject of the conversation was a recent game, and the kid in question was a high school football player. The speaker was serious.

Unfortunately, this is how some people think. Imagine: Hoping to break the leg of a 17-year-old who happened to be good at a sport.

So we were not among the surprised when it was announced recently that New Orleans Saints coaches have been rewarding cash bounties to Saints who knock opposing players out of games. The only thing that raised our eyebrows is that so many have expressed surprise that this type of thing happens in the NFL.

As for the bounties, we can only shake our heads, just like we did when we overheard the area fan wishing misfortunate against an opposing high school player.

Bounties have no place in sports, even at the highest levels.

We were reminded recently that even high school teams offer rewards for certain plays.

Ever see a kid's helmet covered with stickers? Usually, those are rewarded for touchdowns scored and other individual successes, but we know that "big hits" sometimes are a category of their own.

That's different. A good, clean hit is part of the game, and especially when it comes randomly during the course of fair competition.

Seeking out a particular player with intent to cause injury is far worse, even disgusting.

The New Orleans Saints organization deserves whatever punishment is coming its way, not only because its coaches and players violated the sanctity of sportsmanship, but also because of the terrible example they have set for kids and young coaches who are still learning the game.

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