Monday, July 8, 2013
If anyone had a bounty-related legal case ...
By Kevin Seifert
You might have heard that retired NFL linebacker Barrett Green has filed a lawsuit against the Washington Redskins, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former Redskins player Robert Royal for a career-ending injury he claims was caused by a bounty program allegedly run by Williams in 2004.
Green's lawsuit brought to mind a question I've long wondered: Would retired quarterback Brett Favre sue Williams and/or the New Orleans Saints for what the NFL ruled later was an illegal hit during the 2009 NFC North Championship Game? Favre suffered a nasty ankle injury on that hit, applied by defensive end Bobby McCray and defensive tackle Remi Ayodele, and was still dealing with ankle issues when he returned for the 2010 -- his final -- season.
At one point, the NFL claimed that Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered a $35,000 bounty to knock Favre out of the game.
With that said, Favre has consistently downplayed and tried to move on from the bounty story. He said last year that he was "indifferent" to the story and added: "My feeling, and I mean this wholeheartedly, is that I really don't care. What bothers me is we didn't win the game. And they didn't take me out of the game. They came close, but a lot of people have come close."
Frankly, I'm surprised there haven't been more individual lawsuits filed since the bounty story ended. A bounty by definition is an intent to injure. NFL players sign up for a violent work environment, but not one in which they are specifically targeted for injury. Favre, however, has never appeared bothered enough by the issue to pursue one.