The NFL’s league office has yet to rule on any penalties regarding current players who were involved in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. Darren Sharper, a key defender, on the Saints’ 2009 Super Bowl championship team was angry that someone leaked word of a bounty program. The playmaking safety then came out and said the bounty scandal put a ‘black mark’ on the Saints organization. Well Sharper has come out yet again to give another opinion. This time No.42 weighs in on his former teammates who are potentially facing stiff penalties for taking part in a bounty program. Darren Sharper joined WWL in New Orleans to discuss the purpose of having injury reports in the NFL in light of the Saints bounty scandal, the NFL delaying their decisions to hand out punishments to players involved in the Saints bounty scandal, and the NFL making examples out of Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita and Will Smith for their roles in the Saints bounty scandal.
Why does the NFL even have an injury report? Is that for the beaters in Las Vegas?
“I believe the injury report is for medical purposes because it is documented once you play and you get injured all of your injuries, even the fact of going into the training room is documented and the union teams have to report injuries for numerous reasons. The main reason is just for the medical history of the players that play in the league. Maybe down the road once you retire you get certain benefits. I don’t know anything about labeling or putting certain players on injury reports that might affect outcomes of games. I am going to stay away from that and not even think of that. The main reason for having injury reports is so guys have it on their medical record for later down the road once they retire for different things like workmen’s compensation and also the medical history of the players, so they can use it for their benefit.
Why do you think it is taking so long for the NFL to rule on the punishment of the players involved in the Saints bounty scandal?
“We are going to see. I had thought that the players whether there would be fines, suspensions, things of that nature were going to be held and were going to be heard last week, but I believe with the appeal being put through by Coach Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt that might have pushed all the ramifications of penalties that certain players would have to deal with. Hopefully they’re aren’t any fines or suspensions. I know all the players would like for that to be the case, but that has yet to be determined. I guess it will be coming out soon and certain guys will be hearing what the penalties will be.”
Do you think the NFL will make examples of Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita and Will Smith in this bounty scandal and hand out severe punishments?
“You know what? It’s hard for me to speculate. I don’t think that first of all suspensions and fines are warranted. I still don’t feel as though there is proof that guys received certain benefits from making dirty plays or making plays during the game. To say that you are going to fine guys because word of mouth or someone says or someone might speculate or someone might have a rumor out there saying that this guy came out and put a certain amount of money out and put a certain amount of money up to put a player out of a game. I don’t know the truth behind that and I don’t know if there is enough information to prove that. You are kind of tinkering on thin ice there by saying you are going to take a guy away from the game and have him lose money when you don’t necessarily have material or bullet proof that guys did that. That’s the tough situation for me and it’s tough for me to speculate being that I was a part of the team that the program was going under as far as the payment for making big plays. I don’t want to call it a bounty as far as guys getting rewards for making big plays. It’s tough for me to kind of sit here and say what guys are going to be picked out of the group and what is going to be the penalty. I don’t feel as though any penalties are warranted at all.”