Dennis Allen was a defensive coach for the New Orleans Saints during the now infamous era of player bounties. This is a fact. How much he knew of or participated in said scandal is unclear. Allen has yet to comment on the situation but you’d have to imagine that will change soon.
Roger Goodell, in all his commissioner gangster, struck down on the Saints today with an Old Testament type of vengeance today. Saint’s head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for a year while the Saints have been fined $500,000 and will lose draft picks for the next two seasons.
The harshest punishment of all was handed down to the man Allen once directly reported to, Gregg Williams. Widely accepted as the architect of the New Orleans bounty system, Williams has been suspended indefinitely from the league.
Clearly the NFL was only interested in pursuing the men with direct links to the whole operation. That Allen has avoided penalty indicates the league investigation found no evidence of his involvement. In short the Raiders dodged a major bullet.
Williams is longer in New Orleans but that didn’t affect how Goodell saw fit to punish both him and his new employer the St. Louis Rams. Had Allen been found to have had any connection to the fiasco, then surely his status as the head coach in Oakland wouldn’t have made it so that he was out of the reach of the long arm of the NFL law.
This has got to be a bitter sweet moment for Allen. On the one had he’s surely saddened to see friends of his being given such a harsh penalty. On the other there must have been a massive sigh of relief that came with knowing his first year as a head coach can begin without a cloud of uncertainty hovering.
Though the bounty scandal has made plenty of headlines it is a little disconcerting for the punishment to be this harsh. I’m no advocate of internationally trying to injury another but since when is it wrong to try and inflict as much pain as legally possible in a contact sport? I mean, where will the line be drawn? If paying defenders millions of dollars to inflict pain isn’t already a bounty then a $1,500 bonus paid by teammates isn’t going to be much more than a source of pride. Last time I checked the Saints won a Super Bowl with the bounty system in place while the Patriots built a dynasty using a video camera.
Almost makes you wonder if the teams that are perennial losers are the only ones doing things the right way.
It is obvious that Goodell is using the Saints as a means to set an example. Fair or unfair there is no court of appeals in the world of pro football. Gangster Goodell is judge, jury and executioner. Luckily for the Raiders there is no collateral damage associated with Dennis Allen’s very loose connection to bountygate.