Drowning In His Own Shallow Puddle of Stupid

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The NFL doesn’t have a domestic violence problem. It has a commissioner problem.

Take note of the irony: Roger Goodell’s big initiative when he took over for Paul Tagliabue, was to be the new sheriff in town on player behavior and to clean up the league. Now, the clattering failure of that high and mighty project has a decent chance of making him the first major sports commissioner to be FIRED in my lifetime.

Goodell’s original sin came in the form of his absurdly over-the-top scolding and suspension of Ben Roethlisberger – all because of a blacked out sorority girl wearing a DTF (Down to F***) button at a bar, and her fuzzy recollection of her very bad night.

Not only were no charges ever brought, but a 6 game suspension had absolutely no grounding in previous cases, basic fairness or with any eye to future precedent. That case is haunting Goodell and the NFL to this day.

Because of it, the public (or, more accurately the electronic media) now have a mob mentality for the NFL to “DO SOMETHING!” on all of these alleged crimes, right away, many months before any legal proceedings begin.

This is insane.

But because Goodell is so spineless – afraid to even show up to open the Niners’ new stadium – he can’t stand up and have a simple press conference setting forth the league’s stance on such matters.

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A real commissioner, one who isn’t swimming in water too fast and too deep for his below-average intellect, would say flatly:

“Look. We have a policy. We will follow that policy. But every player facing the possibility of losing 6 paychecks or more, has the right to have all the evidence adjudicated in a court of law, not in the media. After that process has played out, we will have all the information to make an appropriate decision on discipline. We’re the NFL people. We’re not going anywhere. Every player’s day of reckoning for bad conduct, will come. And we’ll be ready.”

“Now… any questions..?”

Goodell’s other big mistake, was apologizing for the Ray Rice 2-game suspension. You made it. Now own it.

His new get tough policy has done nothing other than officially cast the NFL as a “woman abusing league” even though the numbers simply don’t show that. When a reactive, scared commissioner makes moves like this, it doesn’t so much play out as a heroic move to right a societal wrong, it instead serves as a “no contest plea.”

“Yes. We are the league that beats women. But we are working hard to do less of it.”

Idiot.

Any half decent CEO would take a moment to play some good offense in the public eye, and remind everyone this is a league of 1,600+ players (2,000 if you count practice squadders) who not only do not get arrested, but also do mountains of charitable work in their communities, serve meals at soup kitchens, build playgrounds in bad neighborhoods, and visit sick kids in hospitals.

Tell every keyboard wielding high priest of morality: “If you choose to judge this league of 2,000 players and coaches on four guys, three of whom haven’t yet had their day in court…. well then… that’s on you.”

Only the 49ers right now seem to understand how to play the game, now that Roger and the Shield have made it a game of “all-in” poker. Jim Harbaugh said the team wouldn’t “flinch” and suspend Ray McDonald now, before he’s even been charged. Smart man. Why should he? Just for the bag of beans equivalent of a few grudgingly complimentary columns by those same hypocrite pundits?

Meanwhile, the Panthers and Vikings are only making it worse on themselves. They might be fooled into thinking this magical “Commissioner’s List” move is some “safe haven” from all of the “bad publicity” right now, but it’s nothing more than an expensive way to kick the can down the road.

Imagine if Greg Hardy was instead “Mark Steffenhagen” and he worked for ABC Plumbing, not the Panthers. Let’s say ol’ Mark was pretty important. Like, “Accounts Receivable.” So if Mark Steffenhagen gets into a fight with his coked up girlfriend, who ends up breaking her toenail and calling police to file charges, what do you do?

If the plumbers guild that oversees ABC Plumbing has a strict 6-weeks-off-without-pay punishment for that crime, only an idiot boss at ABC would tell Steffenhagen to go home for 8-plus weeks WITH FULL PAY, while the invoices pile up, and the company loses money. Especially if the trial goes south for ol’ Steffenhagen, and he’s found guilty, then ABC Plumbing is forced to send him home again NEXT YEAR (without pay) while the invoices again pile up in his absence.

What if ol’ Steffenhagen is really, really, GOOD at getting those invoices paid – AND HE IS FOUND NOT GUILTY – and he has the chance to go work for XYZ Plumbing next year because he’s pissed about how you treated him during this ordeal?

If so, you’ve now fucked up a crucial part of your revenue season in business, and chased away a valuable employee. Good work, fellas.

As for Peterson, you can be horrified at his awful parenting – I was horrified to find out his staggering number of illegitimate kids a year ago, the beating is just an extra layer of disgust – but the legal impact of it is going to almost certainly be nothing more than counseling and probation. You want to essentially PRE-suspend a guy for possibly a YEAR over that? Why? Because your dipshit Governor told you to? Because Radisson ripped up your rewards points card?

Who knows what exciting new case will have Goodell and the league’s owners tying themselves in knots over next? But you can bet it’s coming. And judging by the current incoherence of #thisleague… it promises to be once again, low comedy.

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Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. "Czabe" also writes and edits his own commentaries for www.czabe.com and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at czabe@yahoo.com.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Comparing an NFL player to a plumber is lol preposterously stupid. Why did you waste your time? Good god. No one cares about the freaking plumber except those affected, which is like 12 or maybe 50. Is there a fantasy plumbing league? Are plumbers part of a massive multi-billion dollar media behemoth? You’re not that stupid.

    And another thing, the video and the picture evidence are the fucking due process. Are you honestly saying if an NFL punk is caught on legit film cold-cocking his chick or beating the piss out of a 4 year old kid (which they both admitted to before “due process”), we the public must wait until 79 court appeals are heard and “due process” is awarded before we “judge”?

    Get it straight. It’s a new age of ubiquitous vids and pics. I don’t always need a court to tell me who’s a despicable maggot before a judge or jury decides… I believe you and B and B made derogatory comments Mark Chumura in the early 00’s. And he was acquitted. How dare you judge.

    A plumber comparison? That’s what you’ve got? Jeez…

    • The plumber and the NFL superstar are both covered by the law.

      The difference is that only the NFL superstar is covered by online dolts who don’t understand due process or the real-world reasons for insisting on its priority. And that’s okay — because these peripheral observers are only relevant if someone is foolish enough to grant them any importance.

      Both you and Goodell have lived in sheltered worlds. Both of you might benefit from leaving those worlds, and Roger is about to do so involuntarily.

  2. I don’t understand the NFL’s need to appease “The Mob” on issues like this. “The Mob” is a bunch of moralizing ninny’s who glom on to the issue de jure and decide what companies and organizations should do or they will feel their wrath, what ever that may be. What’s even worse, “The Mob”, as a whole, is not a consumer of the NFL product. Do you think the NFL would loose one damn dollar if they would have stuck by the Ray Rice decision? All the NFL is doing now is pissing me off. I’m an actual consumer of the NFL, as in Direct Ticket, team gear, paraphernalia, and the occasional trip to the stadium. I’ve starting to see the NFL as just another formerly great American institution infected with corporatist politics. I could point to several issues over the past several years to show how the NFL has taken a left turn in American society.
    I found it hysterical Budweiser published such a strongly worded letter against the NFL’s domestic abuse issues. If NFL really wanted to send a message to the Public they were going to nip this domestic violence thing in the bud, they would not allow any consumption of alcohol at the stadiums or partner with any beer company for advertising.
    This whole thing is a joke.

  3. Welcome to mob mentality America, Czabe. Law and Order is a good thing, but the key component is order. When the law becomes arbitrary and contracts become null and void, then Law has no more basis than mob action and because the mob has ‘democratic’ appeal it will always trump arbitrary law. You are right to say that Goddell brought this upon himself; he opened the gates for the barbarians with the Rothlisberger punishment. Mobs are fickle, and if you stand firm and execute laws, contracts, and rules in a reliable, ordered way, the mob grows tired and disperses. But if you give in, like Goddell did, it only inflames them and hands the power over to them. The guillotines are being hoisted, and people like Jordan can already smell the blood and offal. What a shame.

  4. Agree with the first post. A better example would be NASCAR where every driver is covered in sponsor logos (coming soon to an NFL uniform near you). When you damage the brand, or somehow diminish the ability of the sponsors and owners to make money, you get suspended, or possibly released. Due process is a separate path for the legal system. Fair? As a business owner, I don’t care. Its my money. Have a nice day. (See DeSean Jackson).

    I do agree that it is a management problem, specifically an HR problem. Good policy and procedures should have been in place that explicitly lay out the proper steps toward resolution. On this point I think the players will later have an opportunity to file a workplace grievance for unequal treatment.

  5. I’m saying it is preposterous to not take action for absolutely reprehensible behavior. Caught on video. Caught on verified photo. If Goodell tried to hide it but only acted properly after the fact, then rip him for that.

    To say Goodell doesn’t have “balls” or whatever for not telling everyone to STFU while the shitbag player gets full pay and suits up like normal while receiving his “due process’ is a colossally stupid position. And I can’t stand Goodell. But I’m not an idiot so simply hating Goodell while stating something very stupid (with a plumber analogy) doesn’t work for me.

    Once again, if it was your wife/friend/sibling/child that was victimized (on video mind you) by one of these pukes, I’m sure you’d be happy watching the puke tote the rock and collecting millions while he was awaiting his “due process”. Nothing “mobbish” about wanting shitbags to be shown severe consequences for horrible behavior. That used to be expected, so other potential shitbags would think twice, See how that works?

    PS: OJ was acquitted you Einsteins. By your logic, he should have been the lead analyst for NBC and doing Naked Gun sequels after receiving his “due process”… Good god… morons

  6. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out. In the case of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, both have admitted to what they are accused of. It’s the league’s prerogative to suspend them.

    We don’t know if these games will count toward a future suspension for Peterson. It is strange that Ray Rice’s hasn’t been given a specific number of games.

    Czaban’s post points to the folly of indefinitely suspending a guy without all of the facts and then later suspending the guy when judged to be guilty. Either the NFL knows he’s guilty and should suspend him for a specific number of games, or they should say they don’t have all the facts and do nothing.

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