One unexpected consequence of the Gregg Williams bounty scandal is that Fred Smoot is all over the news. Already this week, Smoot has appeared on ESPN 980, 106.7 The Fan, Comcast SportsNet and yes, CNN, talking with John King about pay-for-pain systems in NFL locker rooms.

“You make money playing football,” Smoot told King. “Myself, I was drafted to go out and hit people. Not to literally hurt them, but if you want to be the best — if you want to be Dick Butkus, if you want to be Ray Lewis — they play with a certain chip on their shoulder. You have to play at a certain level, and if it includes hurting people, football is a very violent sport. And I know they’re trying to change the image of it, but it’s a violent sport. You can’t run from it.”

Smoot again described the incentive schemes as player-initiated kitties with rewards for game-changing plays, something to reinforce their desire to be the hero. And he said that he did not thing it would be fair to penalize the Saints or Redskins for any incentive-based payments that occurred during Gregg Williams’s tenure.

“Put it like this, it’s a culture in football,” Smoot said. “To [stop it], you’ve got to change the whole culture of football. From my rookie year to my last year, we did this. We did this. And we didn’t take it as bounties. We never said go take out Brett Favre, or go take out Emmitt Smith. We said take out the guy in the other helmet, and not TAKE him out. We’re not trying to end careers. But let’s be serious right now: we’re modern day gladiators, and you can’t tell guys not to go out there and fight.”

(Via @yvonison)


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