Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Roger Goodeell Doesn't Have Time to Keep Losing Player Discipline Battles

Yes, the NFL returns to town this week, and if you're like me, you're rather eager for professional football to hit the scene once again.  Though the league has done a tremendous job of remaining at the center of the sports world even when games aren't being played, off-season intrigue is a poor substitute for on-the-field excitement.  In fact, it could be that all this extra attention on the combine, the draft, free agency, and the pre-season only makes fans more eager to see their teams get back to business.  Bonus points: sizing up games and breaking down the action will surely provide a welcome break from the steady stream of drama that Roger Goodell's misguided attempts to serve as judge, jury, and executioner for the league has provided.

Let's face it: Roger can't win for losing.  Maybe his heart is in the right place as he works to protect the integrity of the shield by dropping the hammer on players who can't stay out of trouble or teams and players who have a hard time sticking to the rules.  Yet it can't be denied that his track record and his overall performance toward those ends have him looking like the Washington Redskins in action.  Maybe the commissioner and D.C.'s beloved team in the lovely burgundy and yellow color scheme are competing to see who can lose more and sound less convincing as they work to convince us that they are trying really hard to succeed.  Goodell exceeds at pouncing on issues long before the legal system has a chance to do its job when he isn't ordering up investigations that move at a snail's pace.  His actions are either too fast or too slow for the NFLPA and the legions of fans who support the NFL, and those same actions are frequently out of touch with the general public's perception of a reasonable process and suitable punishment for the parties in question.

With this in mind, when Goodell took time out of his busy schedule to declare that he was interested in taking a less active role in player discipline moving forward, it was surely welcome news.  Of course, being the arrogant titan that he is, Roger didn't acknowledge that this move is a response to the constant stream of jeers, bewilderment, and calls for his job that his efforts to play Wyatt Earp have generated.  No, he wants us to believe that he simply doesn't have time to continue his sound imitation of an inept Emperor Palpatine at the helm of the NFL.  Said Goodell: "It's become extremely time-consuming and I have to be focused on other issues."  While he didn't elaborate on the other issues that he would like to turn into a circus sideshow, he was correct when he noted that a "discipline officer or some type of panel that could make at least the initial decision and then designate on some type of appeal" would allow for "a better system."  Of course, it could be said that doing anything differently would result in a better system at this point, so maybe we shouldn't give Roger a prize just yet.

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