Monday, March 5, 2012
The most obvious is battery, which is the intentional and unlawful causing of physical harm to an individual. In Louisiana, it is simply the intentional causing of severe pain. One might argue that this charge is unreasonable, as players play football accepting that severe injury is a possibility, but players do not expect an injury, rather than the stopping of the ball, to be the main target of a tackle. There's a line between stopping the player, and slaughtering him, and payment for the injury of another definitely crosses that line, constituting the said charges. In the NFC Championship game a few years ago, Saints captain Johnathan Vilma supposedly offered $10,0000 to anyone whom knocked quarterback Brett Favre out of the game. He was hit late, bashed in the head, and crushed on running plays when he didn't even have the ball. Saints players as a whole were fined over $25,000 for plays made on that day. Lousiana state law states that causing intentional and severe harm to another person is classified as batter. A cart-off, where the player is so incapacitated he needs to be carted off the field, was awarded over $1,000, which, if the tackle was intended to injure, would raise the severity of the crime to second degree battery.
If players were convicted of battery, then all the other players involved, along with then coordinator Gregg Williams, would be vunerable to a conspiracy charge. Conspiracy, by its legal definition, is the agreement between two or more separate parties to commit a crime. In this case, the crime would be battery, and it is a near guarentee that a conspiracy charge would be brought against the aforementioned parties if players were found guilty of battery. Even if certain people, like head coach Sean Payton, did not participate in this system, they could be charged with negligence because they showed a disregard for the wellbeing and safety of others.
These recent allegations have the New Orleans Saints and the other teams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has coached in hot water. It is likely that the Saints will be docked draft picks, have players involved be suspended, and monetary fines. Add in the legal ramifications and possible six month jail sentences for battery, this is truly an unprecedented case of what goes on behind the scenes in the NFL.
Images from: www.nola.com, www.msnbc.com, and www.newsrealblog.com