In response to the New Orleans Saints' Bounty Gate punishments which saw several players and head coach Sean Payton receive suspension, the NFL Players Association has brought to light a similar program which the league ruled was legal: the 1996 Green Bay Packers "Smash for Cash" program. LeRoy Butler, who played on that 1996 Packers defense, discussed the incentive program with The Big Show on 1250 WSSP in Milwaukee.
Butler described the Packers' incentive program as the following:
"The league knew about it. And it was called to their attention, ‘Oh yeah, it's your money.' ... The problem is I don't want people to think that it was like a violent thing...But if you came up and smacked a guy and he fumbles the ball and you pick it up, if a guy wanted to give you some money, the league [said] everything's fine."
Butler, who claimed he never personally claimed a check, continually pointed to the idea that the money which changed hands came from players and players alone. He believes the problem the New Orleans Saints find themselves in stems from the terminology, mainly the use of the word "bounty".
"If I'm giving my own money to a guy, is there anything wrong with that? And the league said, ‘Hey, that's fine. It's your money...and this was 15, 16 years ago. Everything was fine. Now, it's like you throw in the word bounty. ‘Oh we've never heard of that before, that's crazy.'"
Butler went on to say that their incentive program, which the league was aware of but he never personally saw carried through, was widely talked about among the team during the playoffs.
The playoffs, for some guys, especially Reggie (White), is almost a pay cut. So he said, ‘Well, you go out and make some big plays and big hits or whatever, you can get some money.