The Saints crossed ethical lines by paying players to injure opponents, but where exactly that line lies is still fuzzy.
Violence is widespread in sports, with roots in ancient times.
When violence increases in sports, fan attendance and TV viewership goes up.
To reduce levels of violence in sports, our culture as a whole will need to do some major self-reflection.
The New Orleans Saints' bounty-hunting scandal has rocked the NFL and provoked widespread outrage about the ethical violations involved in paying athletes to injure other players.
But underlying the whole drama are often overlooked questions about the role that violence plays in athletic sports -- and not just in football. Sports like hockey, boxing and NASCAR thrive on fights, hits and explosions.
Fans have a thirst for violence and studies show that, within limits, as aggression goes up, so does viewership.
While the Saints clearly crossed a line by rewarding players for hurting others, what's still fuzzy is where that line lies. Violence as a form of cheating is considered bad, but for now, brain-rattling collisions are still acceptable.