After further review, the call has been reversed. Due to not only recent events involving football players and domestic violence, but because of no serious consideration to the seriousness of these and other offenses, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell needs to resign, and he needs to do it now.
By now you have likely seen the casino elevator video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée (now wife) in the face and knocking her out. When that was released, the National Organization for Women immediately came out and called for Goodell's resignation. At the time I thought that as a bit of an over-reaction, but perhaps not. It's seems very likely now that he had seen the video earlier and did nothing, and now it also seems like he's lying about when he saw the footage for the first time. A lie is one thing, and a cover-up is another, but there are other reasons why the Commish needs to start packing.
I didn't realize it has been this long, but Goodell has been commissioner since 2006. Lots of bad things have happened in that time. Every time a player gets arrested, it's become a joke. It happens that often. But before we take a look at the more egregious offenses by NFL players and the commissioner either doing little about it or looking the other way, let's look at what's going on now...
Rice was originally suspended two games for the altercation in Atlantic City. There was video at the time of him dragging her out of the elevator, or he may not have even gotten that punishment. Reacting to the outrage after the later video, Rice was suspended for the season, and released by the Baltimore Ravens. Rice, though, will appeal through the NFL Players Association.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald was arrested August 31 on domestic violence charges, and actually played last night. Charges have not been filed yet, and the 49ers say they its only fair for McDonald to have 'due process' before taking any action. Do you think if one of your co-workers was arrested for spousal abuse, they would have been in the office today? The least that could be done here is suspend McDonald with pay until law enforcement decides not to file. Otherwise, he should be out of the league. Goodell, by the way, has done nothing.
And this case right here is the perfect illustration of why Goodell should be fired, and no one seems to be talking about it. Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was convicted of assaulting and threatening his ex-girlfriend this summer. He was 'de-activated' for yesterday's game by the team. It was a last minute decision, and you know it's only because of the Ray Rice case. Hardy could play this Sunday, and Goodell has done nothing.
Adrian Peterson's case may be a little more complicated. Not because of the seriousness, but because of the process. Peterson has been indicted by a grand jury, and he has been charged with child abuse for allegedly using a tree branch to spank his four year-old son. I have friends who have southern parents, but this isn't the 1970s, and even then, I don't think parents took a switch to a four-year old. Nevertheless, Peterson's case could take months or even years to play out. He did not play Sunday, so at least Goodell did something.
Besides domestic violence and child abuse, there are guys like San Francisco linebacker Aldon Smith. He was suspended for the first nine games of this season because of numerous charges—the latest being for substance abuse and weapons. Smith was even stupid enough to make a joke with an airport official about a bomb, and could have faced federal charges. He entered a guilty plea to wreckless driving charges two years earlier. Still, the 49ers had to wait several weeks for Goodell to make a decision. All those violations, and he sits out half-a-year.
We all remember Michael Vick and his dog killing ring. That happened in 2007. Vick served his time, and Goodell seems okay with that. Vick is back in the league, as the backup quarterback with the New York Jets.
Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was involved in a murder. No one thinks he killed anyone now, but he was there when it happened in Atlanta in 2000. He was actually charged with murder, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, sentenced to a year of probation and a 250-thousand dollar fine, and will likely end up in the NFL Hall of Fame. Goodell was not commissioner then, but praised Lewis when the linebacker retired as a player last year.
But if you don't think Goodell can yield the swift hand of punishment, let's take the case of Adam 'Pacman' Jones. Goodell suspended Jones for the entire 2007 season after several legal issues. In 2005, Jones was charged with felony vandalism at a nightclub. In 2006, he was busted for marijuana possession. He spit in a woman's face. Twice. And then finally, at a strip club, he bashed several women's faces into a bar. Jones, who doesn't use the PacMan moniker anymore, is still in the league, with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Football may be a violent sport, but there's no reason that violent people with little or no regard for the law should be allowed to play it. And there's no reason the guy in charge should allow it to happen or look the other way when it does. Goodbye Goodell. Get out now.
Baseball bits: With their win tonight at home against Seattle, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are the first team to clinch a playoff berth. Their magic number to clinch the AL West is 3, but they are guaranteed at least a wild card. The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals can both clinch their respective divisions tomorrow... It's hard to understand why none of the Dodgers-Giants games over the weekend were on national television. ESPN went with Yankees-Orioles Sunday night, with both teams in contention, Derek Jeter's final visit to Babe Ruth's hometown, and the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner, so maybe that's understandable. The world was watching the 49ers lose anyway, so who cares. Fox had a 10am window Saturday because of college football, so it was another dose of New York-Baltimore. Fox Sports One inexplicably went with Padres-Diamondbacks Saturday afternoon. That game was the only one that started at 4pm, and maybe they had some lame college football game on after that. Too bad the whole nation didn't see the Dodgers club the Gigantes 17-0 that day. TBS on Sunday went with Cleveland-Detroit, but there is no reason why they couldn't have waited two more hours for Kershaw and company... You gotta love it when neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox make the playoffs, but the Baltimore Orioles are hard to like. Nelson Cruz was a drug cheat, suspended 50 games, and signed with Baltimore for millions, and Chris Davis, who led the majors in homers last year, is now out 25 games for testing positive for a banned substance. I'm not a huge fan of Buck Showalter, either, but you gotta love Adam Jones...Oakland A's Wild Card and Division Series tickets went on sale this morning. I'm going to the wild card game if they don't fall completely apart over the next two weeks.