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The Early Lead
Posted at 11:02 AM ET, 03/05/2012

Charles Barkley rips “punk” who turned in Gregg Williams, Saints for bounty program

Count Charles Barkley among those blaming the whistle-blower who revealed the New Orleans Saints’ bounty system. In fact, this sort of thing is widespread in sports, even in the NBA, he said.

“You have to be a punk to snitch that out,” Barkley said on “The Dan Patrick Show.” “That’s like giving a reporter an anonymous quote. That makes you a punk, if you do anonymous, but also, you don’t bring that out ‘X’ amount of years later. I mean, you don’t compete in it if you don’t want to be in it. But I’ve seen at least three or four well-known NFL players say all teams have bounties. So I’m glad they came to [former defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams’s defense. Because I’m pretty sure all teams have that.”

An NFL investigation, which was made public Friday, revealed that the Saints, under Williams, offered players financial rewards for knocking key players out of games. Williams, now the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, is in NFL offices today and the league is expected to deal harshly with him. Others likely to be punished are General Manager Mickey Loomis and Coach Sean Payton.

Barkley said that there are bounties in the NBA, too, and told of an incident “during my Philadelphia days.”

“I’m a firm believer, if a guy shoots a three, that you knock his [butt] as far in the stands as you possibly can,” Barkley said. “We were getting beat by 30 or 40, I can’t remember, and the guy was shooting threes, running up and down the court, and I said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to hurt that guy right there.’ ”

Patrick asked him to name the player and Barkley refused. “I can’t tell you that, Dan. I’d have to incriminate myself,” Barkley said, adding, “I think it was $5,000. ... We get paid better in the NBA.”

(After an excrutiating game of 20 questions with Patrick, the team seemed to be narrowed down to the Hornets...and Barkley did say that he was a forward.)

But back to the Saints. They reportedly targeted Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and Minnesota QB Brett Favre for “remember me” hits in the 2009 playoffs, a practice that Barkley thinks is okay. “In the heat of an NFL game, when guys are trying to make tackles, you’re always trying to hit the guy as hard as possible,” Barkley said. “I think you always want to knock the best players out of the game. I want to get Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady out of the game. That’s better for my team. Do I want to hurt them? No, but I want to hit them hard. That’s better for my team.”

This being Barkley, he had an honest observation about the Saints’ reasons for targeting Favre. “I think Brett Favre was just annoying people at that point,” Barkley said. “He had been annoying people for the last five years of his career. I think players resent that. Were they trying to hurt him? I don’t believe that. Did they want to hit him hard? Of course, they did. Because you have to admit, his last five years he was very annoying.”

Can’t argue with that.

More from Washington Post Sports

NFL investigates claim that Redskins under Williams had a bounty program

Mike Wise: Gregg Williams’s true nature exposed

Joe Gibbs: “I would never ask a player to hurt another player”

Early Lead: How widespread are bounties in the NFL?

NFL statement on Saints investigation

Football Insider: Severe, sweeping penalties under consideration

By  |  11:02 AM ET, 03/05/2012

 
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