Saturday, September 20, 2014

Roger Goodell and the bigger picture

OK. Everybody knows the NFL has been taking a lot of heat lately over certain player off-field "incidents". And everybody also knows Roger Goodell is the Commissioner. Though he serves at the pleasure of the "owners", Goodell is basically the face of the league. The boss. The head dude. And theoretically, when things go awry -- the buck stops with him. Certainly, few would question that Goodell has been under intense scrutiny in the last few days/weeks/months for what he did -- and what he didn't do. Tough job, but it pays well. Reports say Goodell raked in a whopping $44 million last year.

Idle thought. All the teams have to abide by it, so if Roger the Dodger wants to lead by example, perhaps the first thing he should do is institute a salary cap on himself. Methinks he could squeeze by on a paltry $10 million or so.

Nonetheless, Goodell has been put in an awkward position not of his making. He's supposed to come up with all the answers, politically correct and otherwise, for the actions and misdeeds of others, specifically the NFL players. And that gets downright complicated.

Consider the volatile mixture that embodies a typical NFL player.

The majority of them are in their 20s and never had a "real" job. Being the best of the best, at least on the gridiron, throughout high school and college they were idolized by their adoring fans. They could choose from the fairer sex for a little "play time" like a sheik from his harem. Though many of them likely weren't proficient at even the 6th grade level of basic academics, rest assured the powers that be would find a way to give them a high school diploma. Then came the full-ride scholarship at a university somewhere, where they would set them up with a "curriculum" your average yorkie or beagle could get passing grades. Stars again, but still no responsibility.

On to the NFL, where they become millionaires. The potential for trouble should be apparent.

Take a 20-something that has been entitled since childhood due to his athletic skills, combine it with a lack of any true education, be it scholastically or societal, and give him an obscene amount of money. Have him play a game that is extremely violent by its very nature, and what do you get?

What we have now, though yours truly suspects it's always been there -- just brushed under the rug in the past.

Crashing cars and assaultive behavior. Alcohol, drug, and firearm abuse. This should come as no surprise. It's just little kids in big bodies that never had to learn any better because they could run, rush the quarterback, and catch passes better than everybody else.

Roger Goodell is currently catching all the heat for this, but it's hardly his fault. Sure, he can form a committee to study the problem and have them consult with various "experts". And yes, the Commish definitely appears to be in damage control mode. He has vowed the NFL will "get it right" with upcoming policy changes. That might mean longer suspensions and heftier fines in the future. Much like the President can thunder down from on high, or our illustrious legislators (on second thought forget them -- they can't agree on what day it is), along with various activists demand accountability and change -- it's all just empty talk in the end.

Because in reality, there's really not much Goodell himself can do to fix the problem unless he wants to change the game itself.

Let's get real. Immature young men with way too much money, especially being highly conditioned to play a very violent game, where only the strongest survive -- are going to do immature young men things.

And who's kidding who? The NFL itself rose to be the gorilla in the room of American professional sports because of the very nature of the game. They once trumpeted all the hard-hitting action, and now they're trying to scale it back.

Unless Goodell and company change the rules again whereby only former college students possessing a Master's degree with an impeccable background are eligible to play in their league -- good luck with that -- there will be continue to be "incidents" amongst the players.

For that matter, there are various players around the league that have become known as thugs not only off the field -- but ON it. While universally despised elsewhere, their home fans continue to embrace them as heroes.

Is Goodell supposed to come up with a policy to correct the fans cheering for various thugs as well?

There's a lot of blame to go around and it shouldn't all fall in the lap of the Commish.

The man's trying hard in hard times -- but there's only so much he can do when it comes to human nature. It is what it is, and it ain't always going to be pretty......

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