Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Roger Goodell Has Lost Control

When Paul Tagliabu's career as commissioner of the National Football League came to an end, a young, sharp-dressed future of hope was selected to take over the NFL. That hope-inspiring young man was Roger Goodell. Very few questioned the charismatic figure. It was a welcomed change.

Goodell's tenure has been mired by controversial player decisions -- both on and off of the football field. From concussions to drugs to domestic disputes. In the agreement outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2010, Goodell was awarded full power as judge, jury, and executioner of any of these situations he wanted to handle. It was this one crucial clause that held up the agreement during the locket, and it has proven to be his unraveling.

Last season, former Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice became the center of attention for a domestic violence case. Rice knocked his then-fiance unconscious during an argument. Goodell originally levied a two-game suspension on Rice, and then admitted the situation was handled poorly by all. A new domestic abuse policy was installed in response. After footage from inside of the elevator became available, Goodell decided to suspend Ray Rice indefinitely. An appeal showed that Rice never lied about that night to Goodell before the 2-game suspension, prompting a reinstatement for Rice.

As Goodell fumbled this 0-tolerance policy, he also fumbled his credibility. On-field penalties turned into stricter suspensions than domestic abuse. Tom Brady's alleged involvement in deflated footballs cost him 4 games. Greg Hardy's suspension for a domestic abuse case was decreased from 10 games to 4.

The NFL is not likely to take a hit for any of this, but there is a shadow cast on Goodell's name, and word. Players are more terrified of incidental contact to the helmet of an opponent than they are of beating up women. While teams can choose to not play a player for violating team conduct (domestic abuse falls under this category), the Judge, Jury, and Executioner Goodell can not suspend a player for domestic abuse for any period of time over 4 weeks and get away with it. Hardy's appeal made sure of this, and Hardy's downgrade was made possible by Goodell's poor handling of the Rice case.

The only chance of the NFL getting these problems corrected, is for Goodell to have no authority in them. A new commissioner could adjust this. A new addendum in the CBA could easily be made, agreeable by all parties, if a new authority figure is in charge.

If.

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