AT RANDOM: Right and wrong

NFL makes right decision on fines and suspensions while Canadian court sentence on disgraced hockey coach is not long enough

Getting it right.

The NFL came down hard on the New Orleans Saints Wednesday for its “Payment for Bounties” program, i.e., knock an opponent out of a game, get extra pay for it.

The Saints organization was fined $500,000 by Commissioner Roger Goodell and they have to forfeit second-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 drafts.

Head coach Sean Payton has been suspended without pay for the 2012 season. His former defensive co-ordinator (now with the St. Louis Rams), Gregg Williams, is suspended indefinitely with his status to be reviewed by Goodell at the end of the 2012 season.

General manager Mickey Loomis is suspended without pay for the first eight regular season games of 2012. Assistant coach Joe Vitt is suspended without pay for the first six games.

The organization and the individuals cited will also participate in efforts to develop programs that will instruct on respect for the game and those who take part in it, the principles of fair play, safety and sportsmanship and ensure bounties will not be part of football at any level.

Williams has admitted to and apologized for running the bounty program, which took place between the 2009 to 2011 seasons.

According to, the NFL said payoffs went to 22 to 27 defensive players for inflicting game-ending injuries on targeted opponents which included quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Brett Favre. Payments ranged from $1,000 to $1,500 and doubled or tripled for the playoffs.

Payton and Loomis apologized for, and took the blame, for the program, but not until almost a week after the NFL pointed to them for failing to stop it.

Kudos to Goodell for bringing the hammer down on gentlemen who purposely tried to take away the livelihoods of those in the same profession they were involved in.

Football is already a violent enough game without the added bonus of deliberately trying to hurt a player.

The hope is that the time removed away from the game – some without income – will allow those involved to repent and ensure it never happens again.

Then there’s the case of getting it wrong.

Really wrong.

In Canada, most of the country was talking Tuesday about the sentence handed to known sexual predator, former hockey coach Graham James, or lack of a sentence as most viewed the ruling by Supreme Court judge Catherine Carlson in Winnipeg.

James, who was involved in hundreds of sexual assaults on two of his teenage players, retired NHL star Theo Fleury and his cousin, Todd Holt, was sentenced to just two years in prison.

Crown had asked for a sentence of at least six years (even that doesn’t seem long enough for the pain James has caused, but Crown lawyers generally look at similar cases and punishments handed out when seeking a jail term).

James’ lawyer asked for an 18-month conditional sentence (he had already been in jail once before for sex crimes) and no jail time.

Carlson was right when she told the court “there is no sentence it can impose that the victims, and indeed many members of the public (and media), will find satisfactory.”

The judge pointed out James expressed remorse (after he was caught), apologized to his victims and experienced what she termed “an extreme degree of humiliation.”

Boo hoo.

What James did to children, to teenagers is unconscionable. Yes, he’s going to jail, which is a good thing, but I say the maximum the Crown asked for would have been better.