Goodell’s Watergate

Posted: September 9, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Watergate, Monica Lewinsky, Chappaquiddick, The Keating Five. Comparatively, the Ray Rice fiasco seems like small potatoes. But, much as the aforementioned scandals tarnished reputations and, in the case of some, ruined careers; the former Baltimore running back’s assault on his wife and the NFL’s response in the aftermath will be a defining moment in the career of a notorious juggernaut.

rayriceRoger Goodell, Commissioner of the United States’ most profitable athletic entity, is under fire. Like a simmering volcano high atop a small village, the repercussions of Goodell’s actions (or lack thereof) could explode at any time. Even before video surfaced Monday of Rice brutally assaulting his then fiance, the league’s decision to only suspend Rice for 2-games was highly criticized. Now, as the media masses converge upon NFL headquarters, the sentence looks like not only a slap in the face to women and fans; but, also a potential momentum killer in the league’s attempt to become larger than Jesus Christ himself.

You see, the league (and, by proxy, its chief executive) has grown exponentially over the last decade. Gone are the days when Sunday was a day for God and family. Now, the Sabbath belongs to CBS, Fox, and the gridiron “goliaths” that those media “Megatrons” proliferate and profit from. If it were as simple as turning off women, that would be one thing. After all, the NFL has shown their expertise in offering platitudes to female fans. “Breast cancer awareness month,” in which players and referees are adorned in pink apparel, was the first straw. Then came the ever-burgeoning market for female jerseys, logo adorned purses, and even wedges to placate even the least stylish of women. Goodell and Co. have become experts at marketing the league, and regardless of the amount of steroid fueled freaks beating their wives, the league’s popularity the masses will not subside.

The problem, however, isn’t attracting fans. It’s attracting sponsors. That’s why Ray Rice is no longer an NFL player. The moment that the CEO of McDonald’s cancels their commercial advertising with CBS is the moment the NFL owners begin to feel the burn in their wallets. That’s also the instant that Goodell’s reign comes crashing down, like so many great tyrants before him.

Similarly, the Ravens’ decision to release Rice also coincided with the release of Monday’s bombshell. Suddenly, standing ovations for wife-beaters didn’t make as much business sense. If Baltimore hadn’t cut their tarnished investment, threats of dropped sponsorships would have ensued, followed by the major networks’ refusal to air Ravens games nationally. After all, if they’re not making any money, why would the execs at NBC want Baltimore on their schedule 3-times a year as they annually are? Instead, Baltimore would find themselves without prime time viewership, badly crippling their bottom line. Ask the Davis family if they long for the days when Oakland was must see Monday night TV. You won’t be surprised by their answer.

goodNo, the decisions by Goodell and Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti to figuratively drop Rice like he physically did his wife weren’t coated in a love for women. Instead, they were cloaked in greed. Only once it became obvious that the media fervor would be unavoidable did either of these frauds act with some common sense. Until Monday, Rice was a valued part of the Ravens’ family. Now, he’s evaporated into thin air quicker than the smoke escaping from the open windows of a Pittsburgh Steelers team bus. The realization that dollars and cents were at jeopardy invoked a swifter response than George Bush after 9/11. In the end, the failure to act, unlike Bush’s “My Pet Goat” story time, may be the undoing of them both.

For Goodell, the future is darker today than it was after a successful first Sunday of football. Why did the NFL not ask Revel Casino for tapes of the inside of the elevator? That lack of investigative effort is dropping the ball more than Chris Christie did when he invested in the now defunct casino. Are we really to believe that the most powerful league in America was outwitted by TMZ Sports? It all smells fishy to me. Imagine what it must smell like to those whose financial futures depend on the sport’s success.

We’re in day two of Goodell Gate, and more opinions have been shared on this topic than have ever been uttered on The View. But, it’s still only the beginning. How deep does this scandal go? Is this the beginning of the end for the Commissioner? Only time will tell. Like Dick Nixon, Goodell was once the most powerful figure in the room. He’s now just a hiccup away from being another disgraced former giant in the twilight of his success.

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