Bears legend Gale Sayers sounds off on Saints bounty scandal


Bears legend Gale Sayers sounds off on Saints bounty scandal

Bears legend and Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers was having a good conversation with Comcast SportsNets David Kaplan on Wednesday for a future episode in Inside Look, when the talk brushed up against the bounty related suspensions for New Orleans Saints coaches and players.

Sayers could barely control his fury:

Those fools should never get a chance to play or coach in the game again. Never! Sayers raged. How can you do that? I have never had anyone say, Im going to break your arm.

They should never go out and play this game again, go out and coach this game again.

Kap mentioned that there are those who believe the offenders should go to jail for what they did.

Damn right they should, Sayers declared, voice trembling. Yes, they should.

I dont know about the jail time. But having watched this game for some time, including when Gale was playing with the king of on-field fury, Dick Butkus, if the NFL caves on the suspensions, shame on Roger Goodell and the discipline administrators.

Football is a violent game. Adding to its violence with an intent to injure is so far beyond stupid that, as Gale did, you sputter trying to find words for it.

Sean Payton knew, condoned, covered up and lied about the program on his watch. He is lucky to have just a one-year suspension. Jonathan Vilma got off with an eight-game ban.

It matters not even a little bit that this is hardly the first time or place a bounty system was in place. That excuses nothing.

A flu epidemic doesnt mean you stop trying to stamp out the disease just because its everywhere. And players who can see no further than the end of a play and in any way rationalize intentional injury to someone are a disease.

One commentator suggested that players Vilma, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita had to do what their coaches like Gregg Williams were directing.

Bull. Fujita and Vilma were not going to lose starting jobs if they didnt go along with the program. Williams was stupid in more than a few ways but there is absolutely no way a coach benches best players because they dont injure people.

The players were being incented to injure. They were not being penalized for not injuring.

And anybody who has dealt with an idiot for a supervisor knows what you do in those situations: You say, Gotcha, boss and then go out and do it the way you know it should be done.

Good call, Gale.

Be sure to watch the video above.

Morning Update: Cubs open World Series tonight; Hawks lose in shootout

Morning Update: Cubs open World Series tonight; Hawks lose in shootout

Here are some of the biggest stories from the day in Chicago sports:

Complete Cubs-Indians World Series Game 1 coverage on CSN

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Cubs see Kyle Schwarber looming as potential World Series hero

Five Things from Blackhawks-Flames: Same old story on the penalty kill

Local product and former fan Jason Kipnis has 'zero conflict' extending Cubs' World Series title drought

Bears get Jay Cutler back as QB competition with Brian Hoyer fades to black

No-brainer: Cubs rolling with Jon Lester again in World Series Game 1

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What can the Cubs expect from the Cleveland Indians in the World Series?

Why Cubs wouldn't pay the price for Andrew Miller and got Aroldis Chapman from Yankees

Why Cubs wouldn't pay the price for Andrew Miller and got Aroldis Chapman from Yankees

CLEVELAND — As the New York Yankees marketed Andrew Miller this summer and prepared for their first sell-off in a generation, their demands started at either Kyle Schwarber or Javier Baez — and the Cubs still would have been forced to throw in more talent to get the All-Star reliever.

This could be the fascinating what-if for this World Series. The Cleveland Indians paid the price, giving up a four-player package headlined by outfielder Clint Frazier (the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft) and left-hander Justus Sheffield (the No. 31 pick in the 2014 draft) to get what turned out to be the American League Championship Series MVP.

The Cubs didn’t make Schwarber untouchable because they thought he would be ready in time for the World Series, but he’s preparing to be their Game 1 designated hitter on Tuesday night at Progressive Field after a remarkable recovery from major surgery on his left knee.

“It was impossible to avoid some of the names — particularly the Cubs — (with) the year they were having,” Miller said. “Whether I wanted to avoid it or not I heard it. Guys in the clubhouse, our media was certainly bringing it to us.”

Even in other possible deals for pitching, the Cubs never came close to selling low on Baez, who broke out as the National League Championship Series co-MVP for his offensive production and defensive wizardry. 

Instead of getting Miller’s late-game dominance for three pennant races — and giving up five potential 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons with Schwarber — the Cubs closed a different blockbuster deal with the Yankees for a left-handed power arm.

The Cubs wanted Aroldis Chapman’s 100-mph fastball to get the last out of the World Series and would rationalize his 30-game suspension to begin this season under Major League Baseball’s domestic-violence policy. Already holding an age-22 All-Star shortstop in Addison Russell, the Cubs surrendered elite prospect Gleyber Torres.

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“Gleyber’s a good baseball player,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “That kid’s going to be really good. So you have to give up something to get something. But also our guys felt if we got Aroldis this year, we’d have a chance to be sitting here and answering this question. And they were right.

“It’s an entirely different thing when you get a guy out there throwing 100 miles an hour. You feel pretty good about it, regardless of who is hitting. So he’s really a big part of why we’re doing this right now.”

Chapman has saved five playoff games — and become that reassuring ninth-inning presence at Wrigley Field — but he clearly responds better to a scripted role.

Miller has been untouchable during the postseason, throwing 11 2/3 scoreless innings and striking out 21 of the 41 batters he’s faced, giving Terry Francona even more freedom to manage a lights-out Cleveland bullpen.

“To be utilized like Miller,” Maddon said, “not everybody is cut from the same cloth mentally, either, or the ability to get loose and prepare. Andrew Miller — having done a variety of different things in the big leagues as a pitcher — is probably more suited to be able to be this guy that can get up in the sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth and warm up in a manner that gets him in the game both mentally and physically.

“Whereas Aroldis — if he wanted to do that — I think that would have had to be done from spring training. He’d have to differentiate his mindset. He’d have to have a different way to get ready. I do notice he throws a heavy baseball before he actually throws a regular baseball. That’s his routine.

“Whether you agree with it or not, that’s just the way it is. So with a guy like Aroldis — to ask him to attempt to dump his routine right now (and) do something else — I think you’re looking for failure right there.

“We stretched him to five outs the other night, which is a good thing, I thought. So now going forward he knows he can do that. But to just haphazardly throw him in the sixth, seventh or ninth, I think would be very difficult to do.”

Even in a World Series featuring historic droughts, Cy Young Award winners, MVP candidates and star managers, this October could come down to the bullpens shaped by deals with the Yankees.

“Both teams made aggressive trades,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Both teams are still standing. There’s something to that.”