Recently, the New Orleans Saints were fined $500,000 for their “Bounty Bonus system where players were rewarded for hurting selected opponents.” The article, available at http://www.globalethics.org/newsline/2012/03/26/bounty-system/ , quickly explores the ethics of such a policy that deliberately rewards people for harming others. According to the article, several sources reported that many were “Stunned at the …severity of the punishment” while another source, Sports Ethicist Michael Josephson was quoted as saying “that the punishment fits the crime” and “When there’s a risk to the game, you need to send an unequivocal message”.
Ethically, these are professional players who should be conducting themselves with the utmost standards. People of all ages, especially impressionable 'tweens and 'teens, look to these players as role models and heroes to be emulated. Some coaching staff, starting with former head coach Sean Payton, have been suspended from the game because of the “Bounty Bonus” program. The National Football League is doing the right thing in making an example of these coaches that instituted this policy, but how many other teams have some such policy by another name? We will know more on this as the Football season approaches.
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