In 2013, Roger Goodell earned a salary of $44 million, including bonuses.
Despite his title as commissioner, his primary role was that of a “local” union representative for 31 billionaires and Packer Nation, tasked with advancing the NFL’s brand and ensuring the satisfaction of fans, owners, and players.
His responsibilities extended beyond being a mediator between players and owners.
It’s essential to bear in mind this perspective whenever Goodell addresses topics such as player safety, fan experience, or the NFL’s charitable initiatives.
His efforts aimed to enhance the league’s image and bolster the sport, ultimately contributing to the financial gains of the billionaires who paid his salary.
Goodell had proven to be highly effective in fulfilling this role for the owners until a particular incident came to light.
The widely circulated TMZ video depicting Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancée drew attention to a glaring issue.
The initial video, showing Rice dragging a woman out of an elevator, had already triggered assumptions about the severity of the incident inside.
The subsequent video, although disturbing, aligned closely with the mental image formed after the first release. This revelation did not alter the author’s opinion on Rice’s actions or the inadequacy of the initial response.
The punishment seemed disproportionately lenient considering the gravity of the offense, and the newly surfaced video merely reinforced pre-existing assumptions.
Acknowledging personal imperfections and past mistakes, the author emphasized the challenge of determining a just response to Rice’s actions.
The lack of a straightforward formula for equating justice with the severity of the crime complicated the situation.
While recognizing the difficulty in satisfying everyone with a fair verdict, the consensus was that the punishment should have been more stringent based on the evidence available before the latest revelations.
The author shared this sentiment unequivocally.
“But instead of talking about the huge win by the Falcons, Bills or Dolphins today, we are talking about this. That is Goodell’s fault.”
The enduring tragedy of Ray Rice’s actions extends beyond the immediate consequences of his crime, impacting not only him but also his wife, children, family, and friends.
The burden of this incident is a perpetual and haunting punishment that will persist throughout their lives.
The author emphasized the profound and lasting impact on Rice and those close to him, describing it as a punishment that transcends official measures.
Reflecting on personal perceptions of Ray Rice before the incident, the author remembered him as an exceptional all-purpose back, admired for his toughness, power, and versatility in running, blocking, and catching.
However, the video has now overshadowed this previous image, becoming the author’s and others’ dominant association.
The thought of carrying such a burden indefinitely resembles a Category 5 hurricane, an enduring and inescapable form of personal hell.
From the author’s perspective, there are multiple offenses at play.
Roger Goodell’s failure to prioritize the league’s best interests has allowed controversies like this to take center stage, detracting from the on-field achievements of teams like the Falcons, Bills, and Dolphins.
While acknowledging Goodell’s responsibility, the author doubted that any repercussions would befall him due to his favorable track record with the real decision-makers. These team owners have benefitted financially from his tenure.
Drawing on 12 years of experience in the NFL, the author highlighted the league’s unique status, receiving preferential treatment and enjoying exemptions from specific laws, including antitrust regulations.
Political influence, demonstrated by prominent politicians attending games, is a reality in the NFL, reflecting its multi-billion dollar stature.
Despite the league’s privileged position, the author found the NFL and Ravens’ claims of not seeing the recent elevator video either disingenuous or a result of inadequate diligence, both deemed inexcusable in the author’s view.
“He didn’t do his job. He failed in epic proportions. This will tarnish his legacy.”
While it’s challenging to prove the NFL’s claim of not seeing the video false without contrary evidence, the focus shifts to why they didn’t see it.
The author emphasized the significance of the incident involving a high-profile player from a recent Super Bowl-winning team, underscoring the gravity of the situation.
Given the prominence of the player involved, the author argued that every effort should have been made to investigate the incident and gather all available evidence thoroughly.
The failure to do so, in the author’s view, was a significant oversight of the NFL.
While unfamiliar with New Jersey laws, the author pointed out the ubiquity of cameras in elevators in casinos and the likelihood of the video existing.
Highlighting Roger Goodell’s considerable power, connections, and resources, the author expressed disappointment in Goodell’s failure to fulfill his responsibilities in this instance.
The author criticized Goodell for not utilizing his influence to obtain the video evidence, characterizing it as a significant failure on his part.
Acknowledging Goodell’s influential position and extensive resources, the author argued that he did not fulfill his duties in a situation of such magnitude.
The author predicted that Goodell would respond by directing the NFL to take decisive action against domestic violence, possibly through substantial donations to charities supporting battered women.
However, the author expressed skepticism about the authenticity of such actions, likening them to political maneuvers designed to appease public sentiment.
The NFL, deeply ingrained in the fabric of American culture, has now been tarnished in the author’s eyes.
The author emphasized the league’s integral role in the lives of many Americans, from watching games to participating in fantasy leagues.
However, the recent events have dimmed the league’s shine, and the burden of this tarnished image is attributed to Roger Goodell.