Was Children’s Football Tainted in a ‘Hits for Cash’ Bounty Scheme?
In early 2012 the news of the New Orleans Saints' 'hits-for-cash' scandal that rocked the NFL. New Orleans Saints' players were paid as much as $1,500 to take opponents out of the game. The Saints' defensive coordinator Gregg Williams admitted to carrying out the performance based payment scheme. Before the Saint's scandal broke it's being alleged that two Pop Warner coaches in Florida carried out a similar scheme.
Signed statements from two players throw allegations at two coaches of paying 10 an 11 year old kids to injure other players, as well as lying about their weight. The coaches have denied a hits-for-cash program call the parents making the allegations "disgruntled". One parent says his kid was excited to get the cash, the coaches facing the allegations have said the parents are forcing their kids to lie.
One of the coaches said he possibly gave the kid money for snacks, but not for knocking another kid out of the game. The officials who oversee Pop Warner football in that region interviewed those involved and found no evidence a cash for hits program existed.
The players allege that one coach said he would pay them for hits, which would naturally excite the boys. The players claim they responded, "OK! We're going to go hit them! Wow!". Another claimed that after practice they would guess as to "who was going to get the money." Three players said that while at the coach's home he explained how they would vote on who would get the money.
Unlike in the New Orleans Saints' scandal where players paid into a pot, the allegations claim the coach asked assistant coaches to help fund the scheme. The league president said he was at all of the film sessions and that there was no mention of money. Two assistant coaches said they didn't 'pay in' because "it wasn't right."
The head coach doesn't deny some opposing players were targeted with one resulting in a 'minor concussion'. Although he says they were never told to injure others or were paid for taking players out of the game. One player said, "It was a matter of knocking them out of the game. Now that I look back, I know it was wrong." The players claim the money was talked about so much the head coach allegedly told them not to tell anyone.
The assistant coach who finally brought forth the allegations also claimed falsifying player's weights and fighting among the coaches also took place.
ould pay money for big hits and knocking opponents out of games, many of the Tustin Red Cobras shouted excitedly, energized by the prospect of earning cash, the players said. "We were like, 'OK! We're going to go hit them! Wow!'" one player said. A second player said, "When we were after practice, getting our gear off, we were guessing who was going to get the money."