Ass of the Week (Month? Year?) – Roger Goodell and the NFL
Professional football is a lot of fun to watch. The teams often invoke pride in the host city and, at times, abject despondence from the fans when things seem to fall apart.
However, this post isn't about the teams, it's about the organization behind them, the National Football League.
Leave aside the fact that this multi-zillion dollar industry doesn't pay taxes. Leave aside the bad calls by the refs, the NFLs attempt to grab anything that might increase its revenue (the phrase "Who Dat" immediately comes to mind since the NFL only became interested in it 30+years after it started being used and when the Saints won Super Bowl) and leave aside what many fans perceive as its willingness to go after any teams that don't agree with them (again, the Saints and the manufactured Bountygate allegations, among others).
At a time when football players are crippled or killing themselves due to concussion effects which the NFL apparently knew about and hid, other lawsuits are being brought due to NFL policies, and now the domestic violence situation is in the public eye.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, who reportedly earned $105 million in the years 2008-2012, may have managed to increase the revenues of the NFL but has wholly failed to act as an example for the millions of young fans of football and, with his actions toward the domestic violence issues, has failed to make the players do so as well. Rather than "protecting the integrity of the shield" as he is fond of saying, his actions have instead tarnished, and continue to tarnish, the institution.
When the situation involving Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice was wrapping up, Goodell saw fit to impose a two week suspension and a loss of three game checks on Rice for knocking out his then-fiance in a Las Vegas elevator. A great hue and cry arose following this and that outcry grew even louder when a videotape was released showing the punch. At that point, with everyone talking about the tape, Goodell saw fit to withdraw the two week suspension and instead increase the punishment to an indefinite suspension.
One of the NFL's official responses to the question concerning why the punishment was increased was that they"hadn't seen the video" when the initial punishment was handed out. The truth of this statement is, at best, doubtful since many sources are revealing that the NFL actually did have a copy of the tape.
But why would it matter? They knew Ray Rice had hit her and knocked her unconscious. Seeing it on tape doesn't change that fact.
You may be asking why we waited this long to formally award the Ass of the Week designation to Goodell and the NFL.
It's because this week the NFL has now taken Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson and suspended him without pay for the remainder of the 2014 season. Peterson had been on the Commissioner's Exempt List which prevented him from playing but allowed him to keep drawing his paycheck while the matter was pending.
Now the arguments have started in that case with pro-Peterson allies alleging that the NFL had stated the time Peterson spent on the exempt list would be counted toward his ultimate punishment and the NFL Players Association stating that the NFL was just making things up as they go along, including a hearing process Goodell had asked for last week and which was not a part of the collective bargaining agreement.
It is quite obvious that Goodell is less concerned about the problem of domestic violence than he is about the perception that he "cares" about the problem. Each NFL game now has a commercial running with "No More" message from the athletes but, realistically, the list of prior incidences in which the NFL didn't take action indicates that the No More message means they don't want any more negative press.
To fix the problem you have to start at the top, and get rid of the Ass of the Week, Roger Goodell, who has held players to a high standard for minor, and even blatantly false, transgressions but holds himself above it all.
By the way, this award also includes NFL.com, which doesn't have a discussion section on the articles it writes or published about Goodell and his flubs although it certainly allowed them on the articles about mistakes, or alleged mistakes, made by teams. A real ass move.
UPDATE: Just as another point, the following was a part of Goodell's "verdict" to Peterson:
"A failure to cooperate and follow your plan will result in a lengthier suspension without pay."
This is just an ass's way of saying don't appeal or it will get worse. I have no sympathy for Peterson but Goodell is as bad for being willing to turn a blind eye for all of these well paid years and now using this case as an attempt at PR redemption.
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