Talkin' smack in the locker room

Talking smack and running pools pervades just about every aspect of life in this country. I understand that Roger Whats-his-name is utterly mortified and in a tizzy (what with all those ex-player lawsuits on his dinner plate), but I thought i would offer some examples of these things and what other reasonable people do about them.

First let's discuss baseball. Yeah, that sport. They were faced a few decades ago with issues related to Kangaroo Courts. These were informal courts formed on some teams as a way for coaches and players to discuss "bonehead" plays in more of a cordial team-building way--fines given out for bad plays. Baseball faced the same issues with labor contracts as football does, and how to keep something like Kangaroo Court fines from getting out of control. Baseball's solution was to legalize this process which would otherwise be impossible to control, but to limit the fines to such a small amount as to be inconsequential.

The federal government (and major federal government contractor) faced similar issues with contractor "bribes" to government personnel. Their problem was how to prevent serious bribes that could subvert the contracting process without getting bogged in the little things, like Christmas cards, lunches, and company pens. They did this by setting a dollar limit. If your "present" is below the limit, don't sweat it. If it's above the limit, then the lawbreaker could face significant penalties depending on the severity of the infraction.

So that brings us to football, a sport played by huge testosterone-engorged young men, many without the maturity or legal knowledge to know that talking smack in the locker room can get their team fined or perhaps get them sent to jail. There is no fine in the sport for getting the team psyched up with emotional speeches or gathering in a huddle to perform a chant. On the field, there is no penalty for a legal hit, regardless of the outcome.

If we look at the example of baseball, coaches are allowed to participate in the kangaroo courts. In fact, it is helpful, as the coach can then use the information in the future to improve a player's performance and, in certain situations, help control player actions. I see the same potential advantages in a football locker room. If a coach sees a player getting out of hand, doing something more than smack talk, he can try to redirect that energy. The same thing is already happening on a larger scale--big hitters get big contracts, players that earn lots of stupid penalties get cut.

It is time for the NFL to face its true nature and make informed decisions about how to handle its problems. The Saints penalties have done neither--they have not solved any problems (other than how to look better in a concussion trial), and they have stripped the team's management leadership when it is most needed.

I'm guessing Vilma is about to experience a major penalty for locker room smack talk, and I'll bet (not really, because that would be wrong) he wonders why a presidential candidate won't experience criminal penalties for trying to make a bet illegally during a debate.

Please don't debate this post or make any hot-headed comments, because, after all, is there any real difference between a chat room and a locker room?

This FanPost was written by a reader and member of Canal Street Chronicles. It does not necessarily reflect the views of CSC and its staff or editors.

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