Max Smith, wtop.com
WASHINGTON – Some great names in Redskins history are reacting to the NFL’s investigation of former Redskins Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams for paying players cash bonuses for injuring opponents.
Former Redskins linebacker Ken Harvey says the game has changed, even since he played in the 90s, and players and teams can’t get away with things they once could. But Harvey says, paying bonuses for good plays is a good way to motivate players.
“You want to be acknowledged in front of your peers, whether this is incentivized or not,” Harvey says.
“When you acknowledge somebody in front of a crowd, that’s a big motivator, and I think that’s part of what sports is. We’re trying to figure out ways to…motivate a player to go that extra step, to take pride in what they’re doing,” he adds.
Harvey thinks it’s crossing the line though for anyone to deliberately injure someone, and it’s just as bad for a coach to encourage it.
“If you’re going to set a standard with the players, then the same thing has to apply to the coaches. Obviously, they fine players tons of money for big hits or what they thought were late hits; I think the same thing should be done with the coach.”
The long-time voice of the Redskins Frank Herzog says rewards are nothing new.
“Old Redskins back in the ’80s in the Gibbs days got TVs for pancake blocks, and stereo systems for great plays,” Herzog says.
“It’s nice that some NFL owners are showing their righteous indignation over this, but come on, this has been going on for 40 years. Get over it,” Herzog says.
Harvey says that when it comes to whether a player actually intends to go out and injure an opponent, “at the end of the day it all comes down to the character of the player.”
“Most players don’t go out intentionally trying to hurt somebody. That’s not the name of the game, because we’ve all been on the other end of it where you may be the guy that somebody may be trying to hurt,” Harvey says.
The Pro-Bowl linebacker says it’s the same in many businesses.
“If you got your normal paycheck, but someone said to you in front of your peer group “here’s your reward”…it may be just 100 bucks or something, but to say you’re going to be recognized in front of your peers for doing something extremely well” is a great motivator.
Herzog says the question for him, is how coaches can motivate a modern day player, and cash may be one of the few answers.
“These players have contracts that are tied up in knots to agents and representatives and wives and foundations and trusts. They never see most of the money. These players largely get an allowance. So if you get a little extra on the side, that’s a huge bonus. ‘wow, that’s beer money.'”
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