This is a writing blog. I have no intention of it becoming anything other than a writing blog. So, why then am I posting about the commissioner of the NFL?
The great thing about having a blog is that it gives you a forum to complain about issues. I am exercising my right to use this feature.
First, full discloser mode here, I am a season ticket holder for the New Orleans Saints. As such, I may have a little, tiny, itsy-bitsy bit of bias on the subject of Bountygate.
When the news first broke, I was devastated. I like clean players. I hated reports of my team behaving in a dirty manner. I literally couldn’t wear any of my Saints gear for months.
Then, thanks to PFT, more and more information about the scandel came to life. At each turn, the “evidence” regarding Bountygate provided by the NFL appeared worse. As each piece was examined, it became apparent that none of it illustrated what the league and Roger Goodell said that it did.
Is that to say that the Saints did nothing wrong? No. They paid players bonuses that were not accounted for by the league’s salary cap. They deserve punishment for these offenses.
Did they, however, do what the league and Roger Goodell implied? At this point, it doesn’t seem likely.
The case against the Saints was presented to the public as a team that paid “bounties” to players. The definition of “bounties” was clearly implied to mean that the players were paid to injure opposing players. Read back through PFT’s analysis of the case. There definitely was some hyperbolic talk. Some players made damaging claims. The preponderence of the evidence thus far seen, however, indicates that the Saints paid players illegally to make clean, legal hits.
Roger Goodell claims that he is acting in the best interests of preserving the integrity of the league.
My contention is that no one is doing more to hurt the integrity of the league than one Roger Goodell.
By issuing damaging statements about players and a team and then refusing to present evidence of those allegations, he damages his integrity and that of the NFL. Worse, by presenting evidence purporting to prove something and having that evidence by conclusively demonstrated to prove no such thing, he damages his integrity and that of the NFL. By insisting on serving as judge, jury, and executioner while not providing due process, he damages his integrity and that of the NFL.
Even worse is that the reason for his actions and deception is so apparent. This is the way I look at it:
Let’s say there’s this elementary school principal. His teachers tell him that boys and girls are running down the hallway all the time. This action is against the rules, and he makes some feeble attempts to stop it. The problem, however, takes effort to contain, and it’s just not that important to him. One day, however, little Johnny falls and gets hurt. His parents sue the school. Now, the principal is all about safety. Standing in the hallway, he sees Ben walk by with his shoelaces untied.
The principal promptly calls a press conference where he rails against students committing infractions that put their safety in jeopardy. Then he announces Ben’s expulsion. Everyone pats the principal on the back, telling him how great he is for stopping Ben from running in the hallway. When a few in the press start asking questions, though, they discover that, gasp, Ben wasn’t even running in the hall! He violated a much less important rule and received the harshest punishment possible. The principal, when called on the discrepency, says “Oh, that’s what I meant, and it’s just as bad as running in the hallway anyway.”
Is this principal a person you’d praise for integrity? I think he’s someone too concerned with covering his own butt at the expense of preserving any shread of his integrity.
I’m to the point where my opinion is: How do you know Roger Goodell is lying? His lips are moving.