FENNO: The NFL’s bounty situation won’t go away, as some unusual litigation shows
That’s hardly eye-opening in an inherently violent, risk-filled game. The mystery piece that claims to elevate this above another unfortunate on-field injury (and beyond Maryland’s three-year statute of limitations) is Bountygate, one errant statistic and enough supposition to fill FedEx Field.
Remember that pass defended? The game’s play-by-play credited Royal with one on an Eli Manning incompletion in the second quarter. That number doesn’t appear in any box score or season statistics. But the lawsuit uses the play to claim Royal played defense and thus fell under Williams‘ tutelage and was part of any bounty program that existed.
Add that play to rehashed media reports over Williams‘ bounty doings and you end up with a lawsuit insisting Royal “acted with a depraved heart” and “actual malice” and was “instructed to injure the plaintiff.” No evidence is introduced to back up the assertions, but that doesn’t slow page after indignant page.
In a separate 46-page filing, the plaintiffs ask for enough records to clear-cut a forest. Those include the personnel files of defensive lineman Phillip Daniels and safety Matt Bowen. The former Redskins spoke publicly about a bounty program under Williams. Also on the shopping list: personnel files for every Redskins coach from 2000 to 2012 (don’t forget the social security numbers), offensive, defensive and special teams game plans for the Dec. 5, 2004, Giants contest, and voluminous requests for other documents and demands for answered questions.
The Redskins declined to comment.
Green’s career lasted one more game in the season following the torn knee ligament. The lawsuit claimed the hit cost him $10 million in future earnings. But he’s not the first player to be blocked below the knees. Not the first to tear his ACL. Not the first to watch his career end earlier than he believed it should. Not the first to suffer what he believed was a cheap shot.
The other day, Daniels, who played in the game, tweeted: “Barrett Green give up buddy.”
Substantiate the connection to Bountygate and that changes. Otherwise, all that may not be fair. But that’s just football.
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