Roger Goodell says Bountygate is unprecedented, so it warrants unprecedented punishments. I disagree.
Even if you are not an avid hockey fan, some of you still may remember the horrific incident in 2004 regarding Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore. Moore, playing for the Colorado Avalanche at the time, in a February 14th game versus the Vancouver Canucks, hit captain Markus Naslund with what appeared to be a cheap shot. Naslund would miss three games with a concussion and a bone chip in his elbow. Following the game, a "bounty" was issued on Moore by Canucks tough guy Brad May.Fast forward to March 8th, the second game between the teams after the Naslund hit. 6 minutes into the game, Moore and Canucks forward Matt Cooke fought, the first of four in the period. Later in the game, with the Canucks down 8-2, Todd Bertuzzi started actively trying to engage Moore into a fight. When that failed, he decided enough was enough, grabbing Moore from behind and delivering a vicious blow to the back of Moore's head. When everything had settled down, Moore was left laying on the ice for 10 minutes before being removed on a stretcher. He was seriously injured, with 3 fractured vertebrae, a grade 3 concussion, vertebral ligament damage, stretching of the brachial plexus nerves and facial lacerations.
Bertuzzi was suspended indefinitely by the NHL following the incident. He would miss 13 regular season games and 7 playoff games. The Canucks were fined $250,000. Bertuzzi was also suspended by the IIHF, so he was unable to play overseas during the NHL lockout. Overall, Bertuzzi missed 20 games, and lost out on roughly $850,000 in contracts and endorsements. He was charged with assault causing bodily harm and given 80 hours of community service and a one year probation. He has stated that coach Marc Crawford told players that Moore had to pay the price for his hit on Naslund. He is currently being sued by Moore for over $35M in damages, with the trial expected to start late in 2012. Immediately following his reinstatement, he was offered a tryout for Canada's 2006 winter Olympics team.
The New Orleans Saints put bounties on four players, and managed to cause major injuries to a whopping ZERO of them. Aaron Rodgers- fine. Cam Newton- fine. Kurt Warner- fine. Brett Favre- minor ankle problems.
For this, the New Orleans Saints were fined $250,000, lost two draft picks, have their head coach suspended for a year, an assistant suspended for 6 games, the GM suspended for 8, and the former DC suspended indefinitely. Todd Bertuzzi missed out on less than a quarter of a season and WAS CRIMINALLY CHARGED WITH ASSAULT CAUSING BODILY HARM. He currently plays for the Detroit Red Wings. His coach, who reportedly incited Bertuzzi, got nothing.
So, Herr Goodell, still think the punishment fit the crime?