The National Football League (NFL) has a problem with not just holding its players responsible for domestic abuse but with investigating itself on the issue.
On her show MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported that it isn’t just the Ravens’ Ray Rice beating his then fiance unconscious in an Atlantic City casino elevator but other players who have not only been charged but convicted of abuse and assault who are still playing.
In light of all the attention that the Rice incident has drawn and the inconsistent statements by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, there are calls for Mr. Goodell to resign or be fired. One of the NFL’s sharpest critics, ESPN’s Keith Olbermann took to the airways over the last several nights to chastise Commissioner Goodell
Last night, ESPN’s Keith Olbermann called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign over the domestic abuse scandal surrounding Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. In a new segment set to air tonight, Olbermann changed his mind: Goodell should not resign, the host argued – He should be fired.
It was a report from the Associated Press, claiming that law enforcement sent the video of Rice beating his then-fiancée unconscious in an elevator months before it was released by TMZ this week, that made Olbermann argue for the commissioner’s termination. Goodell had claimed that he had not seen the video until now.
“You have already forfeited your privilege of resigning,” Olbermann said to Goodell, saying that the only way for the NFL “to restore just the slightest credibility to the den of liars” that is the league would be for them to “fire you.”
Keith also ripped the commissioner for his appointments questioning the independence of the former FBI Director Robert Meuller and two team owners, who are his friends, to investigate.
And the calls for Goodell’s resignation go on: from David Haugh at The Chicago Tribune
Forgive me for not waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the so-called independent investigation of the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice case.
Independent implies free of bias, which seems implausible for the panel the league assembled to evaluate the accountability of Commissioner Roger Goodell.
It will be led by former FBI director Robert Mueller, a partner in the law firm WilmerHale that recently helped the NFL negotiate a Sunday Ticket deal with DirectTV worth billions. It will be aided by two Goodell supporters who also happen to his bosses, owners John Mara of the Giants and Art Rooney II of the Steelers.
Apparently, Goodell’s uncle and cousin were busy. [..]
The idea of crisis management is to control damage, not create more. The NFL hiring rich, white male cronies as a checks-and-balance system for Goodell only enhanced the perception that the commissioner can’t be trusted regarding the Rice case. In trying to protect “the shield,” as Goodell likes to call the league, he keeps diminishing its brand. How many newspapers and websites in the country Thursday referred to the NFL as the National Football Liars? What’s the cumulative effect of universal criticism? [..]
When punishing the Saints organization in 2012 for the bounty scandal, despite denials by many that they were not aware of such a system in place, Goodell famously said that ignorance is no excuse. Ironically, Goodell’s words resonate loudest now. Ignorance is no excuse. [..]
Many owners probably will continue to back Goodell unless sponsors such as Marriott or FedEx threaten to sever ties with the league. Short of sponsors fleeing, the old boys’ club will point to the NFL’s second-least-valuable team, the Bills, selling recently for $1.1 billion as a sign that Goodell excels at the part of the job they consider most important.
Effective commissioners find ways to make money and a difference. Goodell no longer qualifies as one and should step down.