Why Does Everyone Hate Roger Goodell?

Why Does Everyone Hate Roger Goodell?

The NFL commissioner's actions are finally being called into question
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Over the past few months, it has been difficult to make it an entire day without reading an article on Roger Goodell’s tumultuous tenure as NFL commissioner. However, many fans are content just to follow what happens on the field and nothing else. In order to fully grasp the criticism of Goodell’s handling of Deflategate, we have to look at his mishandling of all the previous NFL scandals.

Shortly after becoming commissioner, Goodell was dedicated to cleaning up the league’s image. This was inspired by the 2006 offseason during which nine Cincinnati Bengals players were arrested. This led to the introduction of the substance abuse policy and the player conduct policy, which allowed the league to dispense whatever punishments they felt were appropriate, regardless of an actual conviction of a crime. Goodell said of the player conduct policy, "It is important that the NFL be represented consistently by outstanding people as well as great football players, coaches, and staff. We hold ourselves to higher standards of responsible conduct because of what it means to be part of the National Football League”. Unfortunately, Goodell took this to mean evidence of actual wrongdoing was optional. If you made the league look bad you were getting punished.

These punishments were often were often incredibly strict to act as a deterrent from future infractions. The severity of these punishments however, rarely matched the severity of the crime. Donte Stallworth was suspended for the entirety of the 2009 season after being convicted of DUI manslaughter. Josh Gordon was also suspended an entire season but for violating the substance abuse program. For arguments sake, let’s just agree with Goodell’s ridiculous take that manslaughter and recreational drug use are on the same level. That would raise the question as to why Jim Irsay's arrest in March for a number of drug charges took six months and public outrage for the NFL to hand out a suspension. In short, every decision Goodell makes is fueled by his greed, hypocrisy and arrogance.

The first event, and one of the many “gate” scandals, to tarnish the Goodell legacy was Spygate. As a reminder, Spygate involved the New England Patriots videotaping the practices of their opponents to gain a competitive advantage. Four days after the allegations, Goodell handed out a $750,000 fine and the loss of a draft pick. Many commended the commissioner for being so swift and strict with levying a punishment against one of the league’s most popular franchises. However, it was later discovered the NFL did not receive the tapes in question until days after the fine was announced. This means Goodell actually handed out a punishment without ever reviewing the key pieces of evidence.

To make matters worse, he then ordered that the tapes be destroyed on sight because the investigation was already over. When allegations later arose that the Patriots may have videotaped the St. Louis Rams to gain an advantage in the Super Bowl, Goodell assured everyone that the tapes were not of the Rams, despite never having actually seen them himself. Of course we should just take Goodell’s word that the Super Bowl wasn’t influenced by a team cheating. He would have no reason to lie about the outcome of the biggest game of the year being affected by a cheating organization led by his very close friend, Bob Kraft. In short, Goodell handed out punishments without a proper investigation and then destroyed evidence to cover it up.

The next “gate” to plague the NFL was the New Orleans Saints’ Bountygate scandal. This scandal occurred in 2012 and involved Saints players and coaches creating a monetary incentive program for injuring opposing players. Goodell, as he did with Spygate, tried to get out in front of the situation by issuing penalties immediately. This time, he issued some of the strictest suspensions in NFL history: two season-long suspensions for player Jonathan Vilma and Coach Sean Payton, and an indefinite suspension for defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams.

In yet another effort to show his supposed control and save face for the league, Goodell ignored evidence and unilaterally made a decision without due process. Several lawsuits and criticism from both the players and the media resulted in former NFL commissioner, Paul Tagliabue stepping in as an independent arbitrator. After hearing the appeal, he decided to vacate the suspensions of all four players involved. Once more, Goodell handed out punishments without a proper investigation and eventually created more negative publicity than the original scandal.

Lastly, we have the Ray Rice scandal--the smoking gun, as it were. The NFL, and mostly Goodell’s, handling of this situation went as poorly as possible. For anyone who has successfully repressed the memories of this awful situation, let's recap them: security camera footage was released showing the Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancé off a casino elevator. Ray Rice met with the commissioner and, after conducting what the NFL deemed an “investigation,” was suspended for two games. Remember that this is the same league that imposes season long suspensions for marijuana use, yet apparently feels domestic violence deserves a fraction of that.

Following the suspension, video footage from inside the elevator revealed what anyone with common sense already knew, Rice assaulted his fiancé and was the reason she was unconscious to begin with. There are already countless articles proving that there is no way the NFL did not see this footage prior to issuing Rice's "punishment." Regardless, after public outrage like the NFL had never seen before, Goodell issued Rice an indefinite suspension, somehow believing it was legal to punish someone twice for the same crime. An appeal found that as no new evidence had been presented, the NFL could not suspended Rice again and the suspension was overturned. And for a third time, Goodell handed out punishments without a proper investigation and eventually generated more negative publicity than the original scandal itself.

Finally, we come to present day, where the sports media is being dominated by PSI levels and destroyed cell phones. Deflategate, for those who have been fortunate to avoid the bombardment of stories the past few months, involves the New England Patriots allegedly deflating footballs to gain a competitive advantage. The NFL leaked, what has now been proven to be, false information about the PSI levels of the balls and suspended Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady. Brady filed an appeal that was heard by, guess who, Roger Goodell. Yes, you read that correctly.

Goodell named himself the arbitrator to hear an appeal on a suspension that he issued--almost as if he wants to flaunt his unbridled power. The suspension was upheld and now Brady has filed a lawsuit against the NFL. While the lawsuit is still ongoing, it has been determined that the NFL does not and has never had any evidence of Brady’s involvement with the possible deflation of the footballs. However, the two sides continue to argue over the semantics of whether Brady interfered with the investigation. To recap, Goodell handed out punishments without a proper investigation, then named himself the impartial arbitrator, upheld his original decision and has made the league a complete laughingstock.

Suffice it to say, there are heaps of reasons for Goodell's constant crucifixion in the media. By attempting to make examples out of single players, he consistently leaves the league in a vulnerable position. He talks out of two sides of his mouth, feigning concern for players' safety regarding substance abuse, yet he's done nothing about the rampant concussion issues. The league can only withstand destructive leadership for so long, especially with the NBA and MLB electing progressive, forward thinking commissioners. The NFL is the country's most popular sport by a wide margin, but it's hard to believe Roger Goodell will be around to much longer to enjoy its success.

Cover Image Credit: David Goldman/AP Photo

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The NFL's New National Anthem Policy Is A Slap In The Face To The First Amendment

Enforced speech, of any kind, is antithetical to those of us who uphold the First Amendment.
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On Wednesday, May 23rd, the NFL announced the implementation of a new policy requiring that "All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the [National] Anthem."

Although the policy includes a provision that "Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed," I can't help but notice the parallels between this policy and Canada's Bill C-16 (which is what drew international attention to Dr. Jordan Peterson), due to the enforced speech ensconced in their mere existence.

Of course, I understand that one is a government entity and the other is a professional sports league and, in my opinion, enforced speech from a government entity tiptoes the boundary of tyranny much more closely than a professional sports league. However, what's important here is the principle of the matter. Not to mention that the NFL isn't exactly disconnected from the government since it receives billions in taxpayer subsidies.

Furthermore, I'm also aware that Bill C-16 enforces its citizens to use certain speech and the new policy from the NFL prevents its members from using certain speech, and that there is a difference between the two, strictly speaking. But enforced speech encompasses both compelling certain speech and silencing certain speech.

Presumably, most people who are supporting the NFL's decision were outraged over Google firing James Damore for his memo regarding diversity at Google, Mozilla firing Brendan Eich for donating to a traditional marriage campaign in California and ESPN firing Curt Schilling due to his views on transwomen using the same bathroom as his daughter.

If we, as conservatives, are going to have any semblance of intellectual consistency in our beliefs, then we have to condemn the silencing and firing of those who have different political views than us with the same tenacity that we condemn the silencing and firing of those who have similar political views as us.

This is not to say that behavior we disagree with shouldn't be subjected to criticism, but we cannot support measures that suppress the expression of those we disagree with if we simultaneously take up arms against the suppression of our expression.

The arena of professional sports is a unique case when it comes to these matters because, while on one hand, the NFL is a private entity, its players are all public figures. The field is their platform. And expressing their beliefs, as public figures, on their platform shouldn't be a point of regulation, especially since that expression surrounds something that doesn't pertain to their team or the NFL.

As a body of individuals who want to take on the role of Defenders of the First Amendment, we have to understand that our defense of the First Amendment doesn't end with those we agree with, but with those we disagree with the most.

Which is why this provision from the NFL should feel like a slap in the face to those of us who hold the First Amendment in the highest regards, and shouldn't be a cause for celebration.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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