The NFL came down awfully hard on the New Orleans Saints this offseason for their alleged bounty program. Now it appears that commissioner Roger Goodell and the league are taking steps to ensure that those actions never take place again.
After a meeting with Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking democrat in the senate, on Wednesday, Goodell announced that the NFL would be taking steps to avoid any future payouts through programs such as creating an anonymous bounty tip line, according to CNN.com.
Goodell made it explicitly clear in his news conference that the league has and will not stand for any future bounties. That message, Goodell said, would be directly communicated to all NFL personnel.
"[The NFL is] making it extremely clear that we have a policy, we've had a policy, and we will enforce our policies against bounties if violations occur," Goodell said.
The commissioner reinforced his statement by explaining that his intention is to keep such actions out of not just the NFL, but out of sports entirely.
“We've taken very strong action to make sure [bounties are] not part of sports going forward," Goodell said. "And that the integrity of our game and the safety of our players is paramount. And that we're going to take very aggressive steps to protect that."
The NFL's stiff actions against the Saints were made much clearer by the joint conference between Goodell and Durbin on Wednesday. The harsh penalties seemingly helped to create the impression that the league will not stand for such actions and that aggressive action would be taken against not just the players but the bounty system as a whole.
Even if those actions may prove to be careless and based on unsubstantiated evidence. Only time will tell if the punishments were warranted.
And it will be interesting to see if anyone ever even calls the "anonymous tip line," or if it's merely another Goodell posturing point.