On this week’s Edge of Sports Radio, we took a closer look at Bounty-Gate with players who actually experienced it firsthand spanning three generations of professional football as Dave Meggyesy, Jay Novacek, and Duke Preston tell us their stories.
Duke Preston recently retired from the NFL, at the age of 29, to go to seminary school after a career with the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys. Jay Novacek, now 49, played on the great Cowboys Super Bowl teams of the 1990s and won three titles with Dallas. Dave Meggyesy, now 70-years-old, played for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1960s.
Zirin got the ball rolling, talking about the stigma that Bounty-Gate has brought, and the focus on the violence on the field. He talks about the fear that the NFL will turn into what boxing has become – that the violence of the sport will overtake its popularity. The players add their personal experiences and first hand perspectives on the situation.
Novacek shares his experience from when he played with the Dallas Cowboys. “I was kind of in that situation with the Eagles,” Novacek said. “They had kind of that bounty put on some of us.” He asks the question of whether or not it is really a distraction to players that takes away from the professionalism of the game. “We’re professionals. Act like a professional.”
Preston, who played with the Buffalo, talked about the culture when he played there. “We had incentive type stuff, like for special teams getting the ball inside the five, even hits on returners,” Preston said. But he was quick to clarify where the line was. “If you are out there to injure people, to hurt people and try to get them out of the game, I think that’s contrary to the spirit of the game.”
“Hearing reports that every team has them, I wouldn’t say that that’s a fair assessment,” Preston said. “Different teams have different cultures.”
Dave Zirin writes about the politics of sports for the Nation Magazine, and is the host of the Edge of Sports Radio show, on the PPI Network. He was named one of UTNE Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World.” He is the author of several books on politics and sports, including his most recent book, in collaboration with Dr. John Carlos, The John Carlos Story, published in September 2011. He has also written Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Games We Love and Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports. His first book, What’s My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States, has entered its third printing.