As mentioned above, Peyton Manning is believed to have been injured by a bounty system. Brett Favre was injured in the 2010 NFC championship game. We now know there was a bounty on Brett Favre. The NFL has been quite serious about preventing and protecting against player concussions in recent years. It’s not only concussions they’re worried about; it’s about protecting players from injury.
While the NFL is a physically violent sport and injuries are an inherent part of the game, a systemic approach to injuring opponents has no place in the NFL or any sport. The bounty system goes against everything that the NFL is trying to preach. The NFL does want the physical nature of the sport to continue but it doesn’t want players to take dirty hits. It doesn’t want players to try and injure opponents.
That’s why the NFL has instituted rules against helmet to helmet hits, blind side hits, or hitting a defenseless receiver. Penalties can be severe; anything from a player being fined to being suspended. Late hits or hits to a quarterback's head are met with even stiffer penalties. Protecting players has become extremely important. That’s why the bounty system has no place in the game and goes against everything the NFL stands for.
Litigation has become a big issue and it's part of the reason why the NFL has taken an approach towards safety of its players. There’s a class action lawsuit against the NFL that was launched recently by former players. They claim that the NFL knew about the health risks of concussions and didn’t share it with NFL players.
The bounty system, now known as Bountygate, exposes the NFL to further law suits. If Peyton Manning can’t play football again, will he sue the NFL? Such a lawsuit could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars and that’s just one player.
I think Brett Favre (mentioned above) could also sue the league. Not only was he injured and could argue that his poor performance in the 2010 season was a direct result of the late hits he took, it prevented the Minnesota Vikings from going to the Super Bowl. Can you imagine the punitive damages in that lawsuit?
It’s not good business to condone a bounty program. The NFL stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars if they don’t hand out tough penalties to those people who were a part of bountygate. The NFL needs to send a message to bounty program participants in order to protect its image and its pocket book.