Sports roundup: West sends Moondog the mascot to the hospital with playful punch … In ’89, idea of bounties in the NFL alarmed few … ESPN commentary: Saints should get 'the death penalty'
Hound downed: The Cleveland Cavaliers' growing injury list will now include its team mascot, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Moondog needed to be taken to a local hospital after suffering an eye injury during a pre-game play fight with Indiana Pacers forward David West—a former New Orleans Hornet—on Wednesday night. The Cavalier canine was later released, and a team spokesman says he should be fine. "He jumped at me, so I thought we were playing around, and then the next thing I know he went down," West told reporters after the game. "It was definitely an accident." The club did not update Moondog's status for Sunday's game against Orlando. The mascot occasionally has fun sparring with opposing players before the game or during a timeout. "I feel terrible about that, I really do," West says. "We were just having fun right before the game. We were just messing around. I really hope he's OK."
Get your kicks: While the NFL's current bounty scandal is no laughing matter—especially for faithful followers of the New Orleans Saints—the league's most notable previous bounty scandal produced little outrage and zero condemnation. As The New York Times reports, the only person to receive any penalty in the case was the victim. Mostly, the incident between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys was played for laughs. Particularly bad blood between the rivals boiled over in a game in 1989, following which Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson accused the Eagles of putting a price on the head of his kicker, Luis Zendejas, who had previously played for the Eagles. Ryan called the bounty allegations excuses and "High School Charlie stuff," and most people agreed. Hall of Fame sportswriter Ray Didinger now says of the incident: "To a large degree, it was laughed off. No one is laughing now." Read the full story here.
Crime and punishment: You think the punishments laid down on the New Orleans Saints for the now-infamous bounty scandal are harsh? If ESPN columnist Art Garfamudis had things his way, the Saints would not only be losing coach Sean Payton for a season, $500,000 and a few draft picks (on top of other upper management suspensions and possible player suspensions); they'd cease to be a team for an entire season. "What could be more extreme than the punishments already given? The Death Penalty. That's right. I am strongly urging the NFL should take a page from the NCAA manual and suspend the New Orleans Saints football operations for a period of one season," Garfamudis writes. Read his full column here.
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