One Ebony Voice

The thoughts and views of an African-American...

Roger Goodell will be Fine
John Q. Public is on Life Support
September 4, 2015

In the aftermath of Judge Richard Berman’s decision regarding the Tom Brady Deflategate case, many are criticizing Roger Goodell and some are even calling for his employment head on a platter. I believe Roger Goodell is in no danger of losing his job. However, John Q. Public (a.k.a. the general public) is in trouble.

Why Roger Goodell will be Fine

Roger Goodell will be fine because he has the continued support of the 32 NFL team owners. He works for them and not the football talking heads, retired NFL players turned analysts or fans of individual teams. It is not realistic that Roger Goodell takes actions without the counsel and/or consent of those 32 owners. In the midst of the flurry around Roger Goodell’s actions as NFL Commissioner, what is getting lost in the conversation is the support that Roger Goodell continues to have from the NFL owners. Maybe many of the football talking heads do not want to criticize the NFL owners for fear of their wealth and power. So instead of criticizing the NFL owners directly, they criticize Roger Goodell -- quite harshly. But I do believe that Roger Goodell’s actions as Commissioner are executed in conjunction with the general philosophy, attitudes and values of the 32 owners. So generally speaking, how Roger Goodell thinks is a reflection of what the owners think. Roger Goodell’s actions are a reflection of the general feelings of the owners. As long as Roger Goodell remains in step with the NFL owners – win or lose --, he is not in any danger of losing his job.

What About John Q. Public?

John Q. Public is an emotional entity who is notorious for acting without thinking. John Q. Public is like a spoiled brat who cries when he doesn’t get his way. He is quick tempered, has little regard or patience for details and little regard for the law. John Q. Public is arrogant and demanding.

Relative to the NFL, John Q. Public threw a hissy fit because the criminal court had mercy on former NFL Running Back, Ray Rice in his domestic violence case. The court treated Ray Rice as a first time offender (which he was), and showed him mercy, giving him a chance to change is ways regarding domestic violence. Ray Rice took the opportunity given him by the criminal justice system and ran with that “ball”, making a touchdown regarding all of the requirements given him under the criminal justice system and then some.

However, the manner in which the criminal justice system handled Ray Rice’s case, irritated John Q. Public, who wanted Ray Rice’s head on a platter or better yet mounted on a wall like the trophies of hunters such as the hunter who killed the cherished lion in Africa! So to make up for what the criminal justice system did not do, John Q. Public badgered the NFL into extracting blood from Ray Rice.

Roger Goodell, I am sure thinking he could satisfy the whims of John Q. Public, suspended Ray Rice indefinitely, after initially giving him a two game suspension for the domestic violence episode. Prior to the Ray Rice case, Roger Goodell had practiced allowing any criminal cases involving an NFL player to be adjudicated before addressing the issue on behalf of the NFL. I noticed (prior to the Ray Rice case), that in issuing discipline to NFL players, Roger Goodell would seemingly “follow suit” along the lines of what the criminal court had done. Without having knowledge of Roger Goodell’s thought processes regarding these cases, there seemed to have been a pattern of taking a cue from the criminal justice system when imposing consequences on NFL players for committing behavior “detrimental to the league”. If that was indeed Roger Goodell’s mindset and actions, to the best of my knowledge there was no outcry against it – until the Ray Rice case.

Roger Goodell’s mistake was to try to satisfy John Q. Public’s ire at the criminal justice system. Roger Goodell was fighting a losing battle from the start because, temper tantrums such as the hissy fit thrown by John Q. Public over Ray Rice cannot be appeased! John Q. Public was never going to be satisfied because discipline from the NFL is not and cannot be a substitute for the actions of the criminal justice system.

Roger Goodell should have stood his ground against John Q. Public and said, “The NFL is no substitute for the criminial justice system. Take your complaint to them. We have done ALL that we can LEGALLY do regarding a player who violated the law!”

What About the Court Cases?

The subsequent court cases that the NFL has lost since the Ray Rice case are a result of Roger Goodell’s attempts to appease John Q. Public. Although the NFL was the one who loss the court cases, those cases should really be regarded as a rebuke of John Q. Public – the motivating factor behind Roger Goodell’s ill advised actions.

What Now?

Relative to the NFL, John Q. Public is on life support. As long as the NFL keeps trying to satisfy the whims of John Q. Public, it will keep losing battles in court. I also believe the NFL will get to the point where it should have been in the first place and tell John Q. Public to take its temper tantrum elsewhere! The NFL should also put an end to money being extorted from it by non-profit organizations who claim to be concerned about violence toward women. Those organizations used John Q. Public’s temper tantrum to extort money from the NFL. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if those organizations were the driving force behind John Q. Public’s tantrum as a means to get money. Whether that is true or not, John Q. Public is on life support because the actions that result from John Q.’s tantrums certainly cannot stand up in court.

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