By The Associated Press, Associated Press
Football, hockey, rugby. Violence is part of the game in many sports.
But when athletes cross the line, it can attract the attention of authorities — sometimes from within their sport and in other cases from criminal prosecutors.
The punishment of four current and former members of the New Orleans Saints for participating in a cash-for-hits bounty system that targeted opponents is the latest example, but not the only one.
A look at some other memorable cases from around the world of sports.
Aug. 22, 1965: Juan Marichal hits John Roseboro in the head with a bat:
After a high and inside pitch by the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax, Roseboro's return throw whizzed close to Marichal's ear. Roseboro, his mask still on, moved toward the Giants' Marichal, who then swung his bat and hit Roseboro on the head. The attack opened a bloody, two-inch gash. Roseboro grabbed Marichal, both benches emptied and a 15-minute scuffle ensued. Marichal was ejected and apologized the next day. Roseboro left the game at Candlestick Park with a blood-soaked towel pressed against his head and returned to the lineup three days later.
Penalty: Marichal was suspended for eight games (he missed two starts) and fined $1,750 by the National League. Roseboro later sued Marichal for $110,000 in damages. The case was settled in 1970, with Roseboro reportedly receiving $7,500.
1974: British & Irish Lions use the "99" call to wreak rugby havoc in South Africa:
During their 1974 tour of South Africa, the British & Irish Lions were not going to be intimidated — in fact, quite the reverse. When a player was targeted by the Springboks, he would shout "99," a call to arms for Lions players, triggering a mass retaliation by his teammates. The Lions' thought process: "If the referee sends one of us off, he'll have to send all of us off." It worked. In one of the most violent rugby matches ever — later christened "The Battle of Boet Erasmus" — there is famous footage of Lions full-back JPR Williams running halfway down the field to launch himself at Johannes van Heerden. There were scuffles all over the field, sparked by the "99" call.
Penalty: No Lions player was ejected during the tour and the visitors returned home with a 3-0 win in the test series.
Dec. 9, 1977: Kermit Washington punches Rudy Tomjanovich in the face:
With a fight already going on at midcourt in a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston, the Rockets' Tomjanovich ran in to try to play peacemaker. Instead, he got one of the worst shots in sports history — a right hand from Washington, forever known around the NBA as "The Punch." Tomjanovich was unconscious and bleeding, eventually needing multiple operations to repair facial fractures. He also suffered a concussion and other serious injuries. Tomjanovich returned the next season, though was never the same player again.
Penalty: Washington was fined $10,000 and suspended at least 60 days (26 games). At the time, the suspension was the longest in NBA history.
Aug. 12, 1978: Jack Tatum's hit paralyzes Darryl Stingley:
In a preseason game, Oakland's Tatum, considered one of the NFL's hardest hitters, and New England receiver Darryl Stingley collided as Stingley was running a crossing pattern. The receiver lowered his helmet to protect himself and hit Tatum's shoulder pad. The force of the hit fractured two vertebrae in Stingley's neck and severely damaged his spinal cord, leaving him a quadriplegic.
Penalty: No penalty flags were thrown and Tatum was not disciplined.
Jan. 25, 1996: Eric Cantona goes after a fan:
Manchester United's Cantona already had a checkered record when he was ejected for a retaliatory kick at a Crystal Palace defender who had pulled his shirt. As he trudged along the sideline, Cantona suddenly jumped feet-first over the advertising boards at Palace fan Matthew Simmons. The pair traded punches before Cantona was hauled away and escorted toward the tunnel by teammate Peter Schmeichel.
Penalty: Cantona was arrested by police and convicted of assault, although he successfully appealed a two-week jail sentence and instead completed 120 hours of community service. United suspended Cantona for the rest of the season and the Football Association extended the ban to eight months — a punishment that was made worldwide by FIFA. Cantona also lost the captaincy of the France national team over the incident and never played for his country again. The player later said he was wrong to attack Simmons but acknowledged that it had given him "a great feeling."