It was once thought that Deflategate would be the signature, defining moment of Roger Goodell’s tenure as commissioner of the NFL. However, that theory prevailed in the comparatively innocent days before the advent of anthem protests. Now that it’s clear that those protests, and not mysterious psi levels, will come to signify Goodell’s tenure. Perhaps it’s poetically just that the controversy surrounding those protests, is what’s delaying Goodell’s new contract.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, “Goodell’s deal is still expected to be completed and has been papered, sources told ESPN, but the process has been slowed while the overwhelming majority of the NFL’s attention has been diverted to handling the anthem issue, which has affected TV ratings, merchandise sales and the country’s feelings about football.
“Had the issue not existed, Goodell’s contract might have been completed at last week’s owners meeting in New York, sources said. However, because the issue has become so critical to the league, the NFL’s compensation committee spent about only 20 minutes Wednesday discussing Goodell’s extension, with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank leading those talks, sources told ESPN.”
Schefter continued, “The committee still insists Goodell’s deal will be completed, but there is other business that currently is more pressing.”
In truth, the anthem controversy should have ended Goodell’s contract negotiations, not delayed them. The commissioner has provided nothing less than a real-life, real-time tutorial in how not to handle a labor crisis.
Goodell should have immediately disciplined Kaepernick, in some way, when he began the anthem protests. He had another opportunity to drop the hammer when other players joined Kaepernick’s protest, he did not. He made the particularly awful decision to offer unqualified support to Michael Bennett. An obvious liar, who accused the Las Vegas Police Department of racism. Then, behaving like someone who has resided in a cave for the past two years, he foolishly engaged President Trump in a public dispute after Trump criticized NFL players who protested. Resulting in a slew of polls, which showed just how much the public supported Trump’s position, not the NFL’s.
Then, after weeks of falling attendance and television numbers, in addition to polls showing how damaging the protests were to the league. When Goodell had a golden opportunity to rally the NFL owners and draw a hard-line on the anthem protesters, he caved.
He caved because it doesn’t matter what you, I, or anyone else outside of Manhattan thinks. Goodell is a hostage to the liberal group-think which informs and dominates every area of the pathetically small and sad world in which he lives. Which wouldn’t be so bad, if Goodell was merely determined to drag only himself, down into irrelevance.
Instead, he’s taking what was once the greatest sports league in the world down with him.