Former New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, is under investigation by the NFL for offering bounties to his players if they laid an especially violent hit on an opposing player, or if they knocked an opposing player out of a game. Football is a violent sport, and everyone on the field accepts that. Williams’ program assumed that the natural incentive of competition would not be enough for his players. He (allegedly) thought that providing a little extra ‘juice’ would increase his team’s odds of winning. Money can be a powerful motivator.
While Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, tries to sort out the facts from the fiction, it is being underreported that the same bounty system exists in the political arena. Since the beginning of politics in this country, money has flowed to those who could deliver the most devastating hits. Money was especially available to those who could knock the opposition clear out of the game.
Here’s what the post-Citizen’s United bounty system looks like:
Sheldon Adelson, billionaire gambling titan and the only Newt Gingrich supporter left, has already pledged a $10 million bounty to defeat any GOP challengers to Gingrich for the nomination. He doubled down this week by adding another “substantial” contribution to the Gingrich SuperPAC, Winning Our Future. That’s quite a gamble. Someone should tell Adelson that in politics, the house doesn’t always win.
The Koch Brothers has put a bounty on organized labor and the Democrats in Wisconsin by pledging $700,000 for an advertising campaign to help Puppet Governor Scott Walker survive a recall vote this year.
Karl Rove, through his SuperPAC Crossroads GPS, have put a bounty of $15 million on the table for any candidate who can sweep the legs out from under President Obama on the way to a 2nd term.
Bill Maher, politically incorrect comedian, has contributed a bounty of $1 million to Priorities USA Action, the Obama SuperPAC, so that our current President can take the knees out of (probably) Mitt Romney in November.
President Obama has a $100 million cash on hand bankroll to spend towards causing irreparable injury to whatever candidate the GOP lines up behind the right tackle this fall (the GOP would never line their field general up behind the center).
I’ll bet you $10,000 that today’s political bounty system will not result in any meaningful investigation or trip to the Commissioner’s Office. In politics, bounty hunting is part of the game, and someone’s going to get hurt.
Perhaps Williams should quit football and run for office. His style of pay-for-play would be most welcome, and let’s face it – he’s gotta be better than Joe the Plumber.