Bounty system concerns grow in athletics world

NFL teams installing bounty systems have become a major concern regarding player health, and coaches implementing the bounty systems are causing concern among players and officials.

“Bounties” are deals set up between players and coaches in which the player gets paid to physically injure an opposing player.

In the current system, $1,000 is paid if the injured player is carried off the field and $1,500 if one is knocked unconscious. Payouts increased dramatically during the playoffs. According to The Insider, players said compensation ranged from hundreds to thousands of dollars, with the biggest sum any player received believed to be approximately $8,000.

“Bounty systems on other players is tragic to athletics,” said UNA Athletic Director Mark Linder.

Linder said he thinks the bounty system was made for competitive advantage. He said anyone involved should be eliminated from the game.

“If it was coaches’ involvement, they should be dismissed,” he said. “If it was players, they should get suspended without pay and receive a five-year window before they can get reinstated.”

Senior and former defensive tackle player for the Lions Nate Frazier said he does not think the bounty system is much of an issue.

“Football is a fearless game; bumps and bruises just happen to be part of it,” he said. “Every time you step on the field, there is a strong possibility that you may get injured, especially when the offensive and defensive lines clash during plays.”

Frazier said bounty systems were more common in the ‘90s.

“It was easier to hurt a player during that time than now because of the increasing technology today and constant studies to improve the safety equipment,” he said.

Frazier doubts money would increase the chances of a player to hurt another player. He said the bounty system is more like an incentive to play.

“Players play for family, kids or for even just the team; no player in their right mind would go out of their way to hurt another player,” he said. “If anything, I believe that players may use the system for gambling or training to improve their stamina in the game.”

In regards to how the system got exposed, both Frazier and Linder said they assume someone who knew about it was not happy.

“Guess someone did not get paid,” Linder said.

Frazier said sports scandals usually get exposed for similar reasons.

“As long as people are winning and everybody is happy, there will not be any problems, but when a team starts losing and suspensions come to play, someone that is not happy will normally expose what is going on,” he said.

Linder said the bounty system is non-existent in college football, considering college players do not get paid.

“Any bounty system is wrong,” he said. “The NFL makes very strong statements and penalties so that of any form does not trickle into college athletics.”