Ex-Bears, Ex-Saint Brown on Player Punishments: "Dead wrong"
Ex-Bear and ex-Saint Brown on player punishments: 'Dead wrong'
By Fred Mitchell Tribune reporter 9:01 p.m. CDT, May 3, 2012
Former Bears defensive end Alex Brown, who played for the Saints in 2010, is vehemently opposed to the punishments Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down to several current and former Saints players Wednesday.
“The whole thing is blown out of proportion and it bothers me personally. I don’t like it,” Brown said in an interview with the Tribune.
Linebacker Jonathan Vilma was suspended for the entire 2012 season. Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with the Packers, was suspended for eight games. Saints defensive end Will Smith was handed a four-game suspension and linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Browns, three.
“In my opinion (the punishment) is dead wrong,” Brown said. “Those guys should not be punished for playing a very vicious game and being vicious in the game. I mean, do you want guys to play nice? It does not make sense.”
Goodell previously suspended Saints coach Sean Payton for the entire season and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely for promoting a bounty system and then lying about it after being warned to stop. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended eight games and assistant head coach Joe Vitt six games. The franchise was fined $500,000 and lost two second-round draft picks.
“I don’t know what happened in ’09, or even 2010 or 2011. I was there in 2010, but I don’t know what was going on with Mr. Goodell asking them to stop and all that,” said Brown, who played for the Bears from 2002 to 2009.
“But what Gregg taught was … if a quarterback is running out of bounds … the unwritten rule is to let the quarterback run out of bounds because he’s not trying to advance the ball any farther. That’s the unwritten rule. ‘Don’t hit him as a franchise quarterback because you don’t want anybody hitting your quarterback.’
“Well, Gregg taught us that if he’s in the field of play, then you knock the hell out of him because it’s not against the rules to hit the guy in the field of play. … It could be frowned upon, but it’s not against the rules.”
Vilma, the defensive captain, allegedly offered $10,000 to any Saints teammate who knocked Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC championship game.
“I’m not sure what evidence they have to uphold to merit the punishment for Jonathan Vilma,” Brown said. “But I don’t see how that can be right.”
Brown said he is disturbed that Vilma was suspended for a year while Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh was suspended just two games for stomping on a Packers player on Thanksgiving Day.
“Some (transgressions) seem more vicious than others, but the ones that seem more vicious get less punishment,” he said. “I don’t understand it. (Goodell) should have to tell us — the general public and the fans — exactly what is going on. I really don’t understand how Ndamukong Suh doesn’t get suspended for a season when Vilma (does).”
Brown did not play in 2011 and recently took an office job in downtown Chicago.
“Honestly, I am glad I enjoyed all of my time in the NFL,” Brown, 32, said. “I enjoyed every single second. But this game is headed to a point where you’re not going to be able to hit a guy without being fined X amount of money … and then be viewed as a dirty player.”