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Should NFL's Gregg Williams Be Banned, Fined Or Pardoned For Bounties?

Gregg Williams, who has spent time as an assistant or head coach at six NFL teams, is meeting with league investigators today to talk about what he's admitted was "a bounty pool of up to $50,000 over the last three seasons that rewarded players with thousand-dollar payoffs for knocking targeted opponents out of games while he was the New Orleans Saints' defensive coordinator," The Associated Press reports.

"Bountygate" is quickly becoming a scandal that touches not just the Saints, but the other teams where Williams has coached, including the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins. (He just joined the St. Louis Rams as an assistant.) The issue is that while rewarding players for great plays is one thing, rewarding them for hurting opponents is something else indeed.

Washington Post columnist Tracee Hamilton says this is the NFL's "put-up-shut-up moment." At a time when the league is trying to show it's serious about protecting players from concussions and from dirty play, she writes, Commissioner Roger Goodell "needs to send that message to every team in the league: Hire Gregg Williams and his ilk at your own peril. In other words, put a bounty on his head."

Basketball's Charles Barkley, though, said on today's Dan Patrick Show that whoever blew the whistle on Williams is "a punk to snitch" like that. And, he said there were such bounties in the NBA when he was a player.

So where do you come down on Williams?

(Note: That's just a question, not a scientific survey.)

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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