<
>

A thought on 'stay healthy'

In years of watching NFL players interact with each other, I’ve seen two standard goodbye lines.

One is “Get yours” or some variation, meaning get your money while you can.

The other? “Stay healthy.”

As we discuss the Saints-as-sinners bounty/big-play and injury incentive program, I keep circling back to that.

While it seems like a majority of players, current and former, default to a stance where this isn’t such a big deal and that it happens to some degree in a lot of places, I wonder about “stay healthy.”

If your wish for your colleagues is that they stay healthy but you seek a cash-filled white envelope reward the day after the game for inflicting injury, isn’t that valediction completely hollow?

Aren’t you a hypocrite?

If you want your colleagues to stay healthy and you want to stay healthy, how do you justify or rectify the idea of trying to make sure someone is knocked out of the game?

It’s a complicated issue and question for sure.

I’ve also been tossing this out as a litmus test: When New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor crumpled Washington quarterback Joe Theismann’s leg in a "Monday Night Football" game on Nov. 18, 1985, most fans were sympathetic to Taylor. He immediately waved for trainers and was clearly disturbed to have inflicted such damage.

What if, instead of feeling bad for the guy who ended the career of a quarterback, we later learned that Taylor collected pooled money, presented by a coach, as a reward for causing the injury?

It certainly would have changed things for me.