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Gridiron Pains

An interesting debate is engulfing the NFL upon revelations that New Orleans Saints' players received thousands of dollars in bonuses for "inflicting injuries" on opponents "that would result in them being removed from the game."

I'm a long-standing critic of the "nanny-state sissies running football" and attempts to have the game "neutered by administrators who have lost the love of sport and succumbed to the gradual enervation of joyless regulation." On the other hand:

Unsportsmanlike conduct was an honorable penalty. Intentionally attempting to unnecessarily harm another player is contrary to the standards of gamesmanship. Spearing, late-hits and the like should be punished, as they demean the game and cross the line of decency.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' pay-for-pain policy pretty clearly crosses the line. Sportsmen drive their opponents into defeat - they don't assault them with financially-motivated malice. Football's a hard game - and those who don't play by the rules need to be treated with hard knocks. Williams and the like deserve what's coming to them.

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