New Orleans and the term "Saints" have always been an incomprehensibly humongous example of in-your-face uber-irony. Imagine, such a holy and virtuous symbol used to represent a city known for epidemics, voodoo, natural disasters, death, debauchery, strippers with more than one pole between their legs, a collective mentality that thinks waiting out a Cat-5 hurricane below sea level is a good idea, and a tourist destination that smells like urine and vomit had a car-crash in your nose. I can't tell you how many times I've been in a random parking lot staircase, took a whiff and thought, "Ahh, my bachelor party...good times."
Turns out, we can now add headhunting to The Crescent City's reprehensible resume after it was discovered that Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, along with around 25 other team members, maintained a bounty pool worth up to $50,000 to reward game-ending injuries to opposing players. Williams, 53, spat out the obligatory canned apology, calling it a "mistake," my personal favorite lie when somebody gets busted. Whoopsie-daisy! Did I just carve you a check for 50-large for putting that quarterback in a wheelchair and diapers? My bad. Yo, Gregg. If you walk out of the men's room with your fly down, that's a mistake. What you and your fellow knuckle-dragging henchmen did is called a "decision." And what's with the two g's in your name, anyway? Don't you know there are children all over New Orleans too poor to afford their own g and here you are just flaunting a spare you don't need like you're all that? And right in the middle of a g shortage, too... Asshole.
Just as predictable as the apology, came the jaded and cynical reaction along the lines of, "What's the big deal? Bounties have been going on forever!" Ooo-kay, what's your point? I'm sure before 1865 you could find a few citizens of New Orleans who said the same thing about slavery. I'm no Oprah. I know and love the barbaric nature of a good bone-jarring hit in football. But there's a fine, yet significant line between pain and hurt. Pain is a great attention-getter. Makes quarterbacks rush a pass or a receiver hear footsteps and drop easy catches. But if you hit to hurt, you are nothing more than a criminal who deserves a jail cell and an arranged marriage. Bottom line, as a player I can't remember once said in an interview, "On the field, we have an unspoken understanding. You don't try and end my career and I won't try and end yours."