They say the cover up is always worst than the crime. Roger Goodell’s malfeasance and subsequent cover up of his handling of the Ray Rice incident puts him square in the middle of the chopping block as NFL commissioner.
1) When the initial video came out of Rice dragging and unconscious Janay Palmer out of a casino elevator, part of his ‘investigation’ was to interview both Ray and Janay in the same room at the same time. She married Ray so what in the hell did Goodell think she was going to say? I wonder what Ray Rice told Goodell, as the commissioner made a huge deal of Michael Vick telling the complete truth to him regarding his dog fighting allegations. Did he admit that he struck her? Did he lie? My educated guess he is told the truth. Rice never said once publicly that he didn’t strike Palmer. Janay went on national television and claimed she contributed to the left hook that sent her down for the count. Goodell decided that two games was enough of a suspension. FAIL
2) When the backlash of the two game suspension hit, the commissioner was M.I.A. Instead of defending or explaining it himself, he waited days before rolling out NFL Sr. VP Adolpho Birch via a call to ESPN’s Mike & Mike In The Morning Show. Said Birch, “The discipline that was taken by the NFL is the only discipline that occurred with respect to Mr. Rice in this case. Were he not an NFL player, I don’t know that he would have received punishment from any other source … We believe that the discipline we issued is appropriate — it’s multiple games, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. It doesn’t reflect that we condone the behavior.” Weeks later during Hall of Fame Weekend, Goodell having no other choice defended himself. “We have a very firm policy that domestic violence is not acceptable in the NFL, and there are consequences for that. Obviously, when we are going through the process of evaluating an issue and whether there will be discipline, you look at all of the facts that are available to us.”… “”We have to remain consistent,” he said. “We can’t just make up the discipline. It has to be consistent with other cases, and it was in this matter. … I take into account all of the information before I make a decision on what the discipline will be,” More outrage ensued and on yet a few weeks later on August 28th, Goodell announced a new policy for stiffer penalties regarding domestic abuse; six games for a first time offense and a lifetime ban for a second. While some applauded Goodell for changing his stance, I was reticent to do so. Goodell has never been transparent with the public nor had he ever changed his mind about a policy he’d put in place. There was something else to this.
3) On Monday morning we all found out what the something else was. TMZ released the video explicitly showing how Janay Palmer ended up on the floor of the elevator. From the moment I saw that announcement in the wee hours of the morning while watching the aforementioned Mike and Mike show, I said to my wife, “This is why they changed the policy. They knew this video was going to surface.” Initially again there is no comment from the NFL to the media. The Baltimore Ravens did a u-turn cutting ties with Rice altogether terminating his contract. Soon afterwards, Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely. Speaking of lack of leadership, how about the Ravens rolling head football coach John Harbaugh out to speak to the media while owner Steve Bisciotti and GM Ozzie Newsome, adamant supporters of Rice and their own sources of what really happened were noticeably missing. Talk about cowards? Neither of them have my respect. But I digress. The issue now with the commissioner’s office is, 1) Did the league see the video. 2) If not why not. Goodell claimed that not only had the league not received the video, but that they were rebuffed by the New Jersey State Police. (NJSP) It only took minutes for the NJSP to respond that not only was that a lie, but that they were not the ones handling the investigation in the first place. The NFL issued a follow up statement attempting to wiggle their way out of being previously busted in the first lie. Goodell appeared on CBS Tuesday evening with the following statements:
On why he made a decision without seeing the tape: “That’s why we asked for it on several occasions. Because when we make a decision we want to have all the information that’s available. And obviously that was the — that when we met with Ray Rice and his representatives, it was ambiguous about what actually happened.”
Let’s examine that statement for a moment. Basically he’s saying that Ray Rice and his people gave the NFL the runaround and he realized that when they were in his office. Rice’s lawyer had the tape. Goodell didn’t press? So he’s saying he was punked into giving him a minimum suspension of two games. Does that sound like Fidel Goodell to you?
You can see the rest of that foolishness in the interview, especially in his BS explanation about how TMZ got the video but the NFL offices couldn’t.
But let me tell you something about NFL security. They are pretty much second to Homeland Security in terms of resources and connections. Many of their personnel are former FBI, military and other government workers. There isn’t a player who is drafted who has not had an in-depth background check right on down to the friends they hang with as well as their family interactions. As an example we can look at former Miami Dolphins executive Jeff Ireland’s asking then draft prospect Dez Bryant if his mother had been a prostitute. The NFL can get their hands on any tape or information they choose to.
There may be a few folk who believe Goodell when he says he didn’t see the video. For him to say that he suspected there was a second video (in a casino no doubt) insults all of our intelligence. He also said he was made aware of the video from his staff after he got in the office on Monday. This is the final straw to me. As I said before, I suspected he not only saw the video, but he new the video was coming out, which is why he changed the policy. Furthermore, if I’m in my bedroom getting this news from ESPN shortly after 6 am EST. you mean to tell me Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL didn’t receive a call from ANYONE before he got in the office regarding the video’s release?
Now we have word that the NFL had the tape in April. I mean how incompetent and arrogant can this dude be? The ass covering operation is an epic fail. I guess next he will go Ronald Reagan on us and say, “Well apparently we HAD the video in the office, but I didn’t see it. They kept it from me.” Maybe the female on the tape who answering the phone will be the NFL’s Oliver North.
4) Roger Goodell’s salary for last year was $44.2 million per year. Many fans talk about the worth of players and whether they should make the money they make. The same people don’t even consider a salary like Goodell’s when they pay for tickets, a hot dog and a beer at a game. This is because most of us can toss a football around so we think we can relate. The same people cannot fathom owning or running a team. Like the players, I couldn’t care less about what Goodell makes. That’s between he and his NFL bosses. That being said, from his handling of Spy Gate, Bounty Gate, and this latest fiasco, it’s clear that this job is too big for him to handle. It’s clear though he said he couldn’t ‘make up discipline’ in earlier interviews, he did just that in suspending Rice indefinitely after the second video became public. He didn’t act because he saw the video, he acted because WE ALL saw the video.
Finally, the NFL had been soft on domestic violence for years. For the first time there was an incident that got national exposure because of the initial surveillance video. If the commissioner had done his job and suspended Ray Rice to 8 games, 12 games, or an entire season without pay nothing happening this week would have made a difference to the NFL. A harsh penalty befitting the first video evidence, people would shown Goodell to be a great leader. Rice could have had a chance to make amends with his wife, get some help, perhaps become an advocate against domestic violence and appeal to the public for a second chance. Donte’ Stallworth and Josh Brent killed people driving drunk. Stallworth played again and Brent will soon play again. Instead, he handled the investigation like Barney Fife, gave Rice a slap on the wrist knowing Rice knocked Janay unconscious, defended it several times over, and then once the second video became public re-sentenced Rice to lifetime penalties while acting pompously indignant. I don’t see how the collective bargaining agreement with the players union would allow a second sentence to slide by. Think about it, even if Goodell wanted to make some additional show of Rice, what happened to his second plan for first time offenders of 6 games? He just skipped that. If Rice doesn’t get back in the league, seeing how all of this fallout is on Goodell in the first place, Rice is in a position for a helluva lawsuit against the NFL… especially since he had been forthright with Goodell in telling him he struck Janay in the first place. That doesn’t make Rice a hero, its just not his job to punish himself. The commissioner should have laid the hammer down on Rice that he deserved in the first place. There is no excuse. Roger Goodell has failed miserably and there is no CEO of any company that would survive such a salacious scandal brought on by pure arrogance and stupidity.
Where’s Donald Trump when you need him?