Thursday, September 11, 2014


Times-Picayune sports columnist Jeff Duncan, January 22, 2013:
At Super Bowl 2013, Roger Goodell should be hailed as a New Orleans hero for helping to save a cosmopolitan city
Some day, a few months down the road, when this has finally flipped off of the news carousel and Robert Mueller has completed his whitewashing, and all the NFL owners have rallied around him, Roger Goodell will still have his job.  And when we get there, he'll still be able to help the careers of all the hype men who've done their job running interference for him over the years.  Don't worry about Duncan. He'll be fine.

Update: Really, there was no call for the flashback. Here's Duncan this afternoon.
If Goodell lied about seeing the video footage of the Rice incident inside the elevator or conspired to cover it up, then he deserves a pink slip. But something just doesn't add up.

While it's unbelievable to think that Goodell or league officials would not have seen a copy of the tape, which reportedly was sent to the league office by an unidentified law enforcement officer in April, it's equally incredible to think Goodell would lie about seeing it. Why would he lie about it? What's the motivation? He's already said he botched the investigation and admitted he "didn't get it right."

"My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families," Goodell wrote in an Aug. 28 letter to NFL owners outlining the league's new domestic violence policy. "I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values.  ... Simply put, we have to do better. And we will."

If he's already fallen on the sword, what is there to gain by lying about the tape?
OK that's pretty funny. If the Bountygate saga taught us anything it's that Goodell will definitely lie, and lie stupidly, about evidence he has or hasn't collected.  What's his motivation?   At the time, he thought it would be the most convenient way to sweep an ugly incident under the rug.  It's well established that this is a guy who cares far more about "optics" than facts.

But, hey, at least Duncan allows that Goodell "deserves a pink slip," if he engaged in a cover-up... which he clearly did. It's the most likely explanation. 

But nevermind that. That's all beside the point of this column. The topic at hand here is the general impudence of the NFL's ungrateful current and former employees and their fans. 
Until the investigation is completed -- and it could take months -- Goodell's job appears to be safe, despite the demands for his head from the social media lynch mob.

Dozens of current and former NFL players launched a fusillade of criticism on Twitter toward Goodell in the wake of the Associated Press report Wednesday that said the league office received the video in April.

"Anyone who went thru the 'bounty' BS knew entire time Roger goodell had seen that ray rice tape," former Saints linebacker Scott Shanle tweeted. "He's a piece of crap! #ownersfirehim #liar"

The public derision of Goodell, no matter how incendiary, is ultimately no more consequential to his job security than, say, fan dissatisfaction with a player's on-field performance.

NFL owners hired Goodell and they are the only ones that can fire him. Not the media. Not the public.
And, look, that last line is absolutely correct. Goodell works for the owners. They're the ones who can fire him and they probably won't.

But the division here, as usual, is between an ownership who only care about image control and the players who, time and again, find themselves subjected to an arbitrary disciplinary system.  As for the fans, most of them tend to side with the players these days.  And so do many among the press.

Some of the press, however.. for whatever reason.. perhaps cynical careerism.. or maybe just general denseness.. prefer to side with management at all costs.  And that's how we get to read columns like this.

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