Roger Goodell addressed the media today in a prepared statement regarding the past few weeks of anarchy the NFL has experienced. Goodell was humble and took a large portion of the blame for the mistakes that were made, specifically in the case of Ray Rice. He also addressed many of the steps the NFL has taken so far, including partnering with major domestic violence and sexual assault organizations, and what the NFL still has to do, namely the creation of a public policy committee and the implementation of a new public policy by the Super Bowl. The speech was sincere and Goodell has taken the right steps to correcting this mess but there is still one that he refuses to acknowledge: his resignation as commissioner of the NFL.
Goodell has had his fair share of criticism over the years, from the handling lockout of 2010 to his questionable fines with former linebacker James Harrison to his reinstatement of players with checked pasts (i.e. Michael Vick). Those have all been water under the bridge for the commissioner but yet this time around I don’t think that can be allowed. Roger Goodell absolutely butchered the Ray Rice fiasco. Whether or not he had the infamous video from inside the elevator is inadmissible because he should not have needed it to adequately punish Rice. Not to mention that following the initial two game suspension of Rice, Goodell turned around and suspended the Broncos kicker Matt Prater for twice as long because he had violated the drug policy.
Now, I am not the first one to start calling for Goodell to step down. I believe that started with Kieth Olbermann and was continued this past week as various women’s groups and even some high profile league sponsors including Bud Light and Nike. Yet, Goodell has simply responded and said that he has dealt with criticism before. The most sickening thing so far has been that he has not even contemplated resigning. He made that clear today in his press conference stating that he is more focused on doing his job. That is all well and good if you are proficient at completing said job. And when asked why he thinks he deserves to stay on as commissioner, the first words out of his mouth were, “Because I acknowledged my mistake.” Can someone please tell him that is not how this works? Rice, Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson have all acknowledged their mistakes but hell none of them currently are at their jobs. Goodell should not simply be allowed to determine that he is trying to make up for things now so he should just be given a free pass. This man deserves to be punished for his actions as much as the people he has wrongly been evaluating.
So from here, I really hope that the pressure of these sponsors and other outside groups put enough pressure on Goodell to step down or on the league to fire him. Now the only way that Goodell can actually be fired is if the NFL owners agree to do so. However, the sponsors are in a very unique position of threatening to walk away with all of their money, leaving the league without its largest stream of revenue. So is it possible that Goodell is given his walking papers? Possibly. Is it likely? I sure as hell hope so. There is absolutely no reason that Goodell should been in a position of power right now or ever again for that matter after how poorly he has done exercising the power he currently has.
Alright, I rest my case. I hope that somewhere out there, executives of major companies will read this and realize that this cannot go on. And it pains me to write this. I am a huge football fan and I love watching games every Sunday but right now, it sickens me at poorly run the league I love seems to be. Let me know what you think. I would love to hear opinions on this one.