By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Apr 10, 2012 at 9:00 AM Photography: David Bernacchi

I can't keep myself from laughing over the latest "scandal" to hit the National Football League, the phony horror over bounty-gate.

The story is, by now, familiar.

Greg Williams, who was then defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, led a defense where cash bounties were paid for extreme hits by his defensive players.

Williams may never coach again.

The league also suspended head coach Sean Payton and the general manager, Mickey Loomis, because of their complicity in this offensive behavior.

And I think this whole thing just smacks of hypocrisy.

The NFL is, by far, the most popular sport in the United States. Attendance records are set each year. Television money is off the charts. The value of an NFL franchise is at an all-time high.

People love the NFL for a lot of reasons. There are only 16 regular season games, and that helps, of course. It's a rare occurrence and we savor each one. It is the ultimate team sport, with designated behaviors and the team that best satisfies those designations is likely to win the game.

But one big reason people love the NFL is because of the violence of the game.

Make no mistake about it, football is a violent game where violence is preached and violence is rewarded. It's true about football at all levels. I remember a coach of mine in high school screaming at us to "rip them apart."

Think of the number of times you have seen instant replays of violent hits on a wide receiver or a running back. Think of the highlight films of great hits. Think of the mystery of seeing a player get knocked out and lying on a field. You want him to walk again, but...

I vividly remember being on the field and seeing a Packers offensive tackle, Greg Koch, absolutely crush Jim Osborne, a defensive end for the Chicago Bears with unbridled violence and then stand over him, breathing hard and looking for someone else to hit. And Koch was, and is, one of the most intelligent men I've ever known and someone who would never embrace random violence.

But this is football.

On the NFL level it's a game for grown men who have skills beyond belief. It's a game where, at its essence, pits force against force. There are formations and diagrams and plans and schemes. But at the bottom of all that is force and will.

That's why I wonder about Roger Goodell and all the columnists and TV people who are going "tsk, tsk" over the fact that their game is a violent one.

What the hell do they expect?

While they publicly cry about the violence, on the inside they don't really give much of a hoot. If it wasn't for the potential, and actuality, of lawsuits, I'd bet the NFL would say "so what?"

Sure, the league ought to protect against concussions and against leading with your head. I guess.

But I don't know how you draw a line as to what's too violent, when violence is such a bedrock principle of the game.

It's kind of like what Twain or Shakespeare or Einstein said.

"One man's violence is another man's great hit, and never the twain shall meet."

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.