NFL was OK with Reggie White handing out money for big hits
According to Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com, during the 1996 NFL playoffs, the late great Reggie White made a deal with his teammates that he would give $500 to whoever makes a big hit.
“In its latest filing in the bounty case, a copy of which PFT has obtained, the NFLPA says that the NFL knew White was paying teammates for hits and allowed it to continue, and therefore is showing inconsistency now by suspending four players for a similar pay-for-performance program with the Saints.
“The filing from the NFLPA in the bounty case discusses White’s ‘Smash for Cash’ program, which included $500 payments for big hits. At the time, according to the NFLPA, the NFL said the program was OK ‘as long as players use their own money, amounts are not exorbitant and payments aren’t for illegal hits.’
“The NFLPA says that the NFL’s rules haven’t changed since then, but the NFL’s PR agenda has,” wrote Smith
“The fact that the NFL has a different agenda today than in 1996 can’t change the unequivocal language of the NFL Constitution and Bylaws, which has never prohibited this behavior,” the NFLPA says in its filing, per Smith.
One thing that’s great about the NFL but also hurts them as well, is that they’re the most popular sports league in the country. Because of this they have enough power to contradict themselves and get away with it.