Michael McCann of SI.com and Sports Law Blog has written an excellent article detailing the legal issues involved with the bounty system organized by former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
McCann explores both criminal and civil remedies for the actions of Williams and the Saints. Here is an excerpt of the article:
The bounty system implicates at least two types of criminal charges: battery and conspiracy. Battery, which under Louisiana law is punishable by up to six months in jail, refers to the intentional use of force upon another person without that person’s consent. Here, a Saints player who intentionally tried to injure another team’s player could have battered that player. In response, a Saints player might argue that offensive players assume the risk of serious injury on every play, especially since defensive players are rewarded for stopping the advancement of the ball. That rationale would be deeply flawed, however, because while offensive players assume the risk of injury on a tackle, they do not assume the tackle is intended to injure them. The Saints’ “pay for injury” model is clearly outside the boundaries of the game and an assumption of risk defense holds little weight. …
Early indications late Friday afternoon were that the sanctions against the Saints and their former defensive coordinator who the league said administered the bounties, Gregg Williams, will be severe. The league said the penalties could include suspensions, fines and loss of draft choices — the latter of which could be particularly damaging to the Saints, who do not own a first-round pick this year. Their first choice will be late in the second round, the 59th overall … unless Goodell takes the pick away.