The National Football League has been embroiled in scandal for the last several weeks, thanks to the revelation that the New Orleans Saints encouraged vicious hits on the part of their own players with the goal of deliberately injuring their opponents. The Saints players who inflicted those hits were then rewarded from a “bounty fund”, administered by the Defensive Coordinator of the team, Gregg Williams.
To which I say: big deal.
I understand that there is something written in the player’s contracts about not accepting extra cash for on-field performance, but that’s for the lawyers to sort out. The bottom line is: if everyone had extra-incentive to succeed at his or her job, they would be fools not to take it. Should a mailman be rewarded every time he finishes a route in record time? What if his reward grew exponentially depending on the season? I mean, the level of difficulty grows higher the more snow and ice that accumulates. Why shouldn’t their pay scale grow accordingly?
Or how about a lifeguard who successfully performs CPR on a drowning swimmer? What if they were paid extra for each rescue?
It would encourage them to remain more vigilant during their time in the high chair, because let’s face it, a lot of lifeguards, really, are douchebags.
Remember the movie, Up in the Air? The perennially overrated George Clooney (seriously, The Descendants was nominated for best-picture?) works as a lay-off expert, travelling the country doling out pink slips to unsuspecting office workers. What if he was paid according to the number of “storm-outs,” or “break-downs”? Every time an employee left the firing room crying or screaming, his pay would be deducted accordingly.
So-called bounties aleady exist in a lot of industries, most notably entertainment. The goal of movies, TV shows, websites etc., is to attract the highest number of consumers. The pay of a performer increases exponentially with the popularity of their product. It’s a meritocracy, and that is what separates the good from the not so good. Sure, there are ways to cheat, like making movies involving sexual vampires, or inserting images of popular stars where there clearly is no need.
But to the victor go the…er…bounty.
Although, therein lies the problem with the bounty system: it encourages shortcuts. As in the NFL, where the Saints players routinely took late-hit penalties in exchange for the extra payday, bounty-based systems could rapidly devolve into an anarchic mess: mailmen would sprint through their routes, tossing mail into garbage cans; lifeguards would throw babies into the deep-end of pools in order to save more lives. The Bobs of the world would grease their victims, offering up compensation to leave quietly.
No, no, the milk’s gone bad. Bounties are best reserved for outliers like Bullet-Tooth Tony. They can’t work in real life because people wouldn’t be trusted to perform their jobs. If the Saints had rewarded the injury-inducing players with, say, one less wind sprint at practice, they wouldn’t be in the trouble they find themselves in now.
And no one would have to cheat.
Damn you, Saints!