Why Roger Goodell Is Not Getting Fired Any Time Soon » VSB

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Why Roger Goodell Is Not Getting Fired Any Time Soon

goodellI play basketball every Thursday night. It’s a weekly game that has apparently been going on for decades. A group of 15 to 20 guys — varying in age and skill level — meet at Central Catholic high school, play for a couple hours, and drink beer afterwards. For someone like me, who still has some faint (very, very, very faint) remnants of the guy in this picture, this is perfect. An opportunity to have fun, compete, stay in (reasonably) good shape, and play with a group of guys who know how to play is basically the dream scenario.

This fact isn’t lost on me. I look forward to Thursday night hoops more than I do for any other weekly occurrence. When possible, I arrive early to stretch and get some extra shots up. Sometimes I’ll even invite others, but only after they’ve gone through an intense internal vetting process. Considering the fact that, in the last seven years, I’ve had three different girlfriends (and one wife), three different jobs, and four different home addresses, you could say this has been the most consistent thing in my life.

But I’m probably not going to be there this week. Why? Because the Steelers are playing the Ravens Thursday night.

For the past year, I have been very outspoken about my distaste for decisions made by the NFL. The Ray Rice debacle is just the tip of an iceberg that has things like “years of lying to its workforce about the long-term dangers of playing the sport” at it’s base. Yet, when Sunday arrives and the Steelers happen to be on, everything stops.

To wit, my wife and I hadn’t been to church in a while, so we made sure to go last weekend. But instead of going at our usual 11:45 time, we got up at 8:15 (8:15 on a freakin weekend!!!!) so we could attend the 9:30 service…so I’d be able to watch the entire Steelers’ game at 1pm.

This, in a nutshell, is why the value of the Dallas Cowboys franchise seems to be increasing by the trillions every year despite the fact that it’s owner belongs in a wax museum. It’s why the NFL can be audacious enough to ask performers to pay them for the right to perform at the Super Bowl. It’s why the Emmys delayed its broadcast for a day just so NBC could televise an NFL preseason game.

And its why, despite all of our protests and thinkpieces and outrage, Roger Goodell is not getting fired any time soon. He does not work for VSB or EBONY or Gawker or Grantland or Slate or Jezebel anywhere else where passionate, factual, and insightful pieces outlining why he should lose his job have been published. He doesn’t know about the happy hour conversation, or the Facebook thread, or the group email chain you were involved in where people expressed how disgusted they were with the league. He does, however, work for the owners of each of the 32 NFL teams. And he definitely knows about the Forbes annual NFL franchise valuation, which states “the average NFL team is worth $1.43 billion, up 23% from 2013.

These numbers will continue to grow as long as we keep the NFL such an important part of our cultural zeitgeist, as long as its enough of a force to convince people like me and you to schedule their lives around it. And, as long as those numbers continue to grow, Goodell will continue to keep — and earn — his $44 million salary.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • I don’t think he’s going to be fired but he is definitely going to have a short tenure. The NFL isn’t like the NBA. They do not like controversy at all. All focus should be on teams and the glory of NFL football. That’s it. The NFL doesn’t even like big personalities. Goodell has been doing an extremely poor job at addressing every single crisis/public relations issue that has come during his reign.

    • Epsilonicus

      “Goodell has been doing an extremely poor job at addressing every single crisis/public relations issue that has come during his reign.”

      The owners would disagree since they are seeing their franchise worth increase. I agree with you though.

      • I think there’s a decent list of people that could of done the same. He’s not exactly a commissioner overseeing a great transitional period for the NFL.

        • Epsilonicus

          He is based on value increase, which is really all the owners care about. it is up to fans to change that calculus.

          • Disagree. People in entertainment industries get fired all the time even when the product does well. Public relations matters. If it didn’t then there wouldn’t be any press conferences for anyone affiliated with the league when anything happens

            • Epsilonicus

              But that is from other perspectives. From their perspective, and i am basing this on their actions, obviously the only thing that matters is profit. Consumers have shown that the PR aint bad enough to cause owners to worry

            • BlueWave1

              The NFL is different. NFL players have run afoul of the law countless times over the last several years. And Goodell has been making up as he goes along regarding punishment. As long as the league’s TV ratings continue to trump everything else, he’s good. As long as teams like the Bills are selling for $1.4 billion, Goodell is good.

              Bill Simmons wrote a great article last week. He basically said we all know how terrible the league is and yet we still watch. We still consume the product. Heck, the NFL has an owner in Washington basically giving the middle finger to fans who think he should change the name of the team. And Snyder will continue to. Why? Because he can. Because as much as people bump their gums complaining they still watch. And that’s why Goodell is good.

              On top of that, notice that Rice got banned “indefinitely” and not permanently. When the smoke clears he’ll be back on a roster somewhere. It may not be this season. But if he can still play next season he’ll likely be employed.

              • Ray Rice won’t be signed because it’s far cheaper and easier to get a rookie or younger player in general who will perform better, has an upside, and will be cheaper. Ray Rice is in decline mode as a player.

              • Epsilonicus

                We also have to blame the union too. They are not innocent in much of this. They push hard to make sure punishments are light too.

            • That’s a bit of apples to oranges though. In the entertainment industry, one’s persona is front and center, while in sports, one’s persona is somewhat incidental to the game. Looking it that way, having 2 sets of standards makes sense.

              • Sports is under the umbrella of the entertainment industry though.

                • Epsilonicus

                  Ehh sorta. That is like calling pro wrestling a sport…

  • Ben

    I want to learn more about his internal vetting process! haha

  • “No one man should have all that power” -K. Omari West

    I don’t think he should be fired, the problem here is all the power the commissioner holds that when he errs, this happens. I think his powers will be reduced and proctored out to more 3rd parties. Who should be fired is whoever thought a diversion program was suitable punishment in the first place.

    • Epsilonicus

      Atlantic City is so dang corrupt. How they got away with doing that after seeing the video smh…

      • DJ Kicks

        How is AC corrupt….for giving a first time offender a plea bargain?

        • Epsilonicus

          You obviously do not know much about AC and the things going on with their police. They often don’t report “lesser” crimes all the time.

          • DJ Kicks

            But this did get reported…and he was charged…and it got pleaded down….no corruption…any lawyer in any state worth his/her retainer could of got their client the same thing.

            • Epsilonicus

              Regular Joe with this kind of evidence would have went to jail.

              • DJ Kicks

                Regular Joe with a competent lawyer and no criminal record gets the same thing.

                Probated sentence, do your anger management and stay out of trouble for a year.

              • DJ Kicks

                GRANTED…I just thought of the case of a regular Jane in NJ who had a gun with an out of state permit. And is facing like 10 years cause the DA refuses to let her enter a Diversion program.

      • Broadway Empire isn’t Just Entertainment. When you’re an isolated resort town filled with poor Black people, strange things happen.

  • Val

    I’m not sure Goodell will survive this. The owners want to protect the value of their franchises and if Goodell becomes a drag on that then he’ll be gone. And, I think that depends on if there are anymore surprises with regard to what the NFL/ Goodell knew about the Ray Rice case. Or if Goodell makes any more public relations missteps anytime soon.

  • Val

    Please free me! Thanks. :-)

  • Sigma_Since 93

    Too many folks coming at this from a fan’s prospective and getting all caught up in their feelings. Rodger is an attorney. His #1 job is to make the owners money and reduce their risk. Let’s look at the tape shall we:

    Increase revenue:

    better tv deals check
    merchandising – check

    push for extended schedule – check
    minimize owner’s expenses by creating rookie slotting at draft – check

    Mitigate risk:
    settle concussion settlement by paying a fraction of its exposure – check
    get people thrown out of being able to participate in settlement – check
    implement policy (targeting, practice schedules) to prevent future lawsuits – check

    His #2 job is to dole out punishment. As long as #1 > #2 he’ll keep his job.

    • Yeah, that’s pretty much right. And the fact that he ducked the concussion bullet, which will have more impact long-term than anything else the league has to deal with, is a key one. This isn’t to say that the efforts to attract women fans aren’t going to be hammered by the Ray Rice controversy, but loss aversion is real. Plus a few years and a new marketing effort will wash away the lingering resentment among women fans, keeping it real. There’s also the fact that the NFL probably has the best demographics in sports right now. The NBA is too Black for a lot of White people, the NHL is begging for minority fans, while MLB is struggling to pull Black athletes away from basketball and football. From an owner’s perspective, he’s doing his job.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    I didn’t say anything bad or curse!!!! Free me please

  • Andrea

    I’m gonna wear my Caucasians tee-shirt to the game on Sunday. Its something…….


    PS. Pray I don’t get kilt dead

    • Sigma_Since 93

      *Lord please put a fence around Andrea today and everday*

    • Epsilonicus

      To which game?

      • Andrea

        Redskins versus somebody

        • Nick Peters

          But it doesn’t matter what you wear…your still buying a ticket, probably paying for parking, and will spend money in the stadium.

          • Andrea

            Do you have any solutions to this amazingly intricate problem?

            • Nick Peters

              Don’t spend your money on anything to do with the Redskins…I love the Redskins but until Snyder runs the Redskins like a functional organization…I’m not spending a nickel on anything Redskins

              • Andrea

                Why did you assume I spend money? People usually assume I don’t. I don’t spend money btw. In that case does it matter what I wear? Does it matter if I wear a Rice jersey? Do you watch the games?

  • He should get fired but he won’t. He’s been way too successful at keeping the players down. As long as he keeps muscling the players for the owners they’ll give Roger another chance.

  • afronica

    Loving that pic of Damon the Younger.

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