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September 12, 2012

Direct Kick: Bountygate, RG3 and Peyton

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The New Orleans Saints picked up both a win and a loss in the span of a couple of days.

Last Friday a three-judge appeals panel ruled that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell needs to clarify whether he punished the players (involved in the alleged bounty scandal) for conduct, which is within his rights as commissioner, or because of payments of performance, which is a salary-cap issue which he does not have jurisdiction.

What this meant was that linebacker Jonathan Vilma, defensive end Will Smith, former linebacker Scott Fujita and former defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove were all reinstated and eligible to play in Sunday’s game against Washington.

That was the win.

As for the loss, that came Sunday against Washington and rookie quarterback Roger Griffin III. Behind RG3’s strong performance, the Redskins downed the Saints, 40-32. Griffin was 19-26 for 320 yards and two touchdowns, by far the best performance of any of the rookies starting on Sunday.

The ruling that was handed down about the bounty scandal being more of a salary cap issue is, well, ludicrous. This was paying someone basically under the table to go out and injure another player. Kind of like putting a hit out on a person. It’s all shady and hush-hush.

By lifting the suspensions of these players, the message sent was it’s O.K. to hurt someone intentionally as long as you do it so it falls under the jurisdiction of the collective bargaining agreement.

What Goodell did by suspending these players was what you would expect a commissioner to do. What the courts did was, well, what you would expect them to do. Step in and allow criminals to play.

And yes, those who were involved in the scandal are criminals to me. They should be man enough to accept their punishment and get on with it. But no, they had to file an appeal and have their suspensions overturned.

I can’t put a bounty on someone’s head in the real world and expect to get away with it. Why are these players any different?

Football is a dangerous enough sport as it is without intentionally trying to hurt someone.

Staying with the NFL, guess Indianapolis wrote off Peyton Manning a little too soon.

Manning looked like he hadn’t missed a step in Denver’s 31-19 win over Pittsburgh Sunday night. Manning was 19-26 for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He showed no ill-effects from missing all of last season due to neck surgery.

And what of Andrew Luck, the rookie who replaced Manning for the Colts? Well, his debut wasn’t as stellar, going 23-45 for 309 yards and an interception in Indy’s 41-21 loss to Chicago.

I think the Saints losing and the Colts losing was just karma for the off-season happenings.

sports@sentinel-echo.com

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