If there was ever an NFL punter that weighed in on every league-wide issue to the extent that one had to assume he wants to work in football following his career as a player, it is Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.
Kluwe has never shied away from making his opinions known, even when the topic may result in him shunning a fellow player, and “bountygate” has proven to be no different.
It threatens the image of the game. When you look at an NFL game…you don’t want to think that guys are out there actively trying to hurt each other. NFL’s a violent game. We all know the risks when we step on the field. Granted, as a punter, I don’t face those risks quite as much as other people. At the same time there’s a chance a guy’s going to hit you, injuries happen, that’s part of the game, that’s why people are interested in it. But what people aren’t interested in seeing, unless they’re sadistic twisted people, is guys that are actively trying to hurt other people. That’s not part of what makes the NFL the most popular sport in America.
As a player you don’t want to believe guys are out there trying to hurt other guys. It’s a dangerous game and that’s without trying to hurt other people. You’re in a lot of vulnerable positions and it’s really an issue of trust. Players have to be able to trust each other that if you’ve got a guy in a vulnerable position…you have to trust that a guy’s not going to dive into your knee and end your career. Because if that starts happening teams are going to retaliate. Then all of a sudden it starts escalating and you get superstars that are done.
Kluwe didn’t stop there. He went above and beyond surmising how scandals like this one can damage the game of football, and continued on to single out a few individuals and provide his suggestion for their punishment.
“I think that Vilma and Williams should be banned from football for life. And any of the guys that took money on a hit that injured someone should be suspended for at least a year.” Kluwe added, “You have to make a serious example out of what has gone on here.”
As more details begin to trickle out regarding this mess, I have to say, it is difficult to disagree with out outspoken punter on this one.