Surprise, surprise. Surprise.
A day after former NFL receiver Cris Carter launched into an extended riff about the use of bounties during his playing days, ignoring multiple efforts by ESPN Radio’s Mike Hill and Mark Schlereth to steer Carter toward a safe harbor of clarification and/or equivocation, Carter said on ESPN’s SportsCenter that “bounty” may have been a poor choice of words.
Even though he chose to use the words multiple times.
Carter reiterated Wednesday that there was no intent to injure or maim, something he said on Tuesday night when explaining that the bounties were used for things like self-protection and simply trying to win games. And while some would say this would distinguish Carter’s bounties from what the Saints did, there is still no evidence that any Saints player intended to inflict injury on anyone.
Meanwhile, Carter’s specific reference to linebacker Bill Romanowski as a bounty target, given that Romanowski supposedly threatened to end Carter’s career, has created a meaningless detour to the point that Carter was making. And so the airwaves were littered on Wednesday with Romanowski -- who has admitted using steroids, who once spit in the face of J.J. Stokes during a Monday night game, and who beat the crap out of an Oakland teammate during a practice -- defending whatever honor he retained when he finished playing football.
“When I think about Cris Carter and who he is, he’s just an angry man,” Romanowski told 95.7 The Fan in San Francisco. “He doesn’t have much nice to say about anybody and everybody who played with him disliked him. So there’s no credibility on what comes out of his mouth. Zero. None.”
Plenty would agree with Romanowski. And plenty would also agree with those words if the name “Cris Carter” were replaced with “Bill Romanowski.”
Either way, the point is that bounties were a key part of the NFL culture for decades, and that the NFL arguably has opted to hammer the Saints in the hopes of removing the practice from the game -- even if that’s simply not possible.