Rodger Goodell sucks. Plain, bland, and simple. He’s always sucked.
I don’t want to recycle any points that I’ve seen, heard, or read–all of which are cogent–but I do want to be open and honest about this debacle. As an avid football fan, I’ve disliked Goodell since he has watered down the game of football each and every year. While I’m told these are in “the best interest” of the players, I do not buy that for a minute.
When Goodell came into the league, Paul Tagliabue was a glorified substitute teacher. He was very hands off when it came to league matters. During that time, the Cincinnati Bengals were doing their best Portland Trailblazer impression. After multiple arrests and embarrassments for the league, Goodell came in, vowing to instill tougher disciplinary policies.
Well now, sounds great right? Wrong
Anecdotally, we’ve all seen the wayward child who fell off the tracks during his/her formative years. With a little investigation, we usually see one or two causes. 1. The parents are non-existent. 2. The parents are Heinrich Himmler. The problem with option two is when you restrict human behavior to such an extent, you lose respect. Why do you think corporal punishment doesn’t work (s/o to AP)? Roger Goodell has transformed into the exact authoritarian ass no one respects, and through the course of his tenure, he has precipitously lost support amongst the players. Don’t tell me about the CBA garbage. Listen, he made $44 million last year. The owners are already loaded. Yes, the star players in the league are financially healthy, but, by and large, the owners and commissioner will always have the leverage, which circles back to my main point.
Roger Goodell came in with the piss and vinegar of Rudy Giuliani, but instead of cleaning the metaphorical streets, he’s given birth to a rebellious child. Ray Rice, Ray McDonald, Jevon Belcher, Greg Hardy, Aaron Hernandez, Jonathan Dwyer. The list goes on. The NFL brand has been tarnished by the actions of a few. BUT THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD STORIES you say. Yes, there are. JJ Watt is awesome, and the local community work I see from upstanding Packers is great. But the NFL is a product and a brand. Firestone may have made a great tire for a very long time, but when THEY FALL OF THE F#*$ING CAR, the brand will take a hit. First step to restoring credit? Public Relations. Good thing Roger Goodell is the closest thing to a nightmare…
And here’s why I’ve finally jumped on the FIRE ROGER bandwagon. I’ve thought this for awhile, but it came to an obvious confirmation at yesterday’s presser: he’s a politician. He dances around pointed questions like Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence at the end of Silver Linings Playbook. He preaches accountability but doesn’t practice it. “Ignorance is not an excuse,” says Roger to Sean Payton in reference to bounty-gate. OK, by that logic, FIRE YOURSELF. Oh wait, you got paid $44 million to take these bows and arrows? So there’s an exception for you but not anyone else? Apparently the answer is yes.
So what is the NFL’s response to “fixing” the domestic abuse issue? It couldn’t be…they won’t?…really………..THEY’RE FORMING A COMMITTEE!
You know who forms these things? Dirty pols do in a futile attempt to look sincere. Congratulations people on the domestic violence committee, you have a fake job. I’m not saying these people aren’t great at what they do, but all they needed were credentials and a contract, whether they actually do anything doesn’t matter anymore. It’s like when there’s an environment disaster and some type of BS study is conducted and then arbitrary numbers are thrown out for estimated damages. But at the same time no one gets fired.
Our world is so backwards. Politician Roger can’t answer a legitimate question, but he can ruminate and speak on the Washington Redskins name for days. Who the hell cares if someone is offended when women are getting punched in the face? What’s worse, a grown man’s feelings are hurt, or a woman is hospitalized because the NFL and its franchises are working in conjunction to passively accept that their employees will beat up a woman. They, those random unattributable authorities, say that watching and doing nothing is as bad as bullying. Well, Roger knew about all the details and had access to all the tape and ditto for the team’s owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome. Bisciotti even offered Ray Rice a job after this whole thing “blows over.” (sidenote: is that the truism in news/tragedy? Time heals all wounds so we can just look past someone being an asshole later? We can stretch our moral compasses based upon time? Not to say people shouldn’t have a shot at redemption, but isn’t a little disconcerting that you can get a job offer in the midst of a scandal, which, like a politician, says “I don’t condone what you do when people are currently upset about, but you’re employable once the public’s fervor subsides?”)
In truth, I’ve never liked Goodell. I think he’s gone too far with the safety-danger balance. I know all about CTE in football players, but I played, and I knew there were risks. Playing professional sports is a dream for many. Making millions of dollars and having life-long financial security is a dream for many. To combine both of those dreams into one awesome dream scrambles the dreamscape like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s head splashing the water thus affecting all other dreams in Inception (that analogy was far too long and poorly executed). Fishermen make boatloads (pun always intended) of cash on the show Deadliest Catch precisely because their job is dangerous and difficult. The NFL is both dangerous and difficult, so the pay is great. But the game I grew up with is slowly becoming a spin-off of the original. The XFL’s cartoony nature was too much, and the quality of play was too poor, but the NFL could certainly use a dose of Vince McMahon.
If you make $44 million a year, you will have to make tough decisions. Big men do, little men don’t. Roger Dodger Goodell is a small man. He’s a weak leader behind a facade of authoritarian strength.