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

Roger Goodell (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

 

I 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.

  • Freebird

    “Because the Steelers are playing the Ravens Thursday night.”

    Yup. The people who only watch a game when there is a Super Bowl party might protest and not watch any games this year. The rest of us…..
    Most will be tuned in, be it Thursday or Sunday. Perhaps even the Rice family.

    And like Eps said profits are up for the league. If Ray Rice were a younger and bigger draw at the ticket office I think you would see him again. In regards to Goodell, I’d be surprised if dude goes anywhere.

  • Medium Meech

    Goodell shouldn’t be fired for this. Like you said, this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of morally questionable things he’s done during his tenure. In fact, this doesn’t even register as a moral issue, it’s a PR mistake. He didn’t read the tea leaves correctly for this particular instance. There was no public outcry for the number of other abuse allegations and subsequently light punishments.

    Domestic violence is a very complicated issue with oftentimes multigenerational psychological implications. I don’t believe for a second that the fear of stiffer penalties or not having enough to lose was the reason Ray Rice chose to his his then fiance in a public place. Goodell’s perceived lack of outrage is what angered people. PR issue.

    Things like player’s physical and mental health, the collective bargaining agreement, taking care of retired players with severe impairments from playing football, things he actually has direct and real control over that affect thousands of families and that he deliberately and knowingly exploited, yeah he should be fired for those.

    In fact, I would say the most direct influence he has over domestic violence committed by the players is allowing the hyper aggressive hyper masculine culture that fuels the hyper masculine hyper aggressive product the NFL produces for consumption by a fan base that craves a hyper masculine and hyper aggressive product (check military DV stats and attitudes towards women). Oh and the resulting loss of psychological integrity and impulse control that results from physical toll of said hyper masculine and hyper aggressive activity probably contributes as well. Yeah, but that kind of makes him and us hypocrites though.

    • Freebird

      “In fact, I would say the most direct influence he has over domestic violence committed by the players is allowing the hyper aggressive hyper masculine culture that fuels the hyper masculine hyper aggressive product the NFL produces for consumption by a fan base that craves a hyper masculine and hyper aggressive product (check military DV stats and attitudes towards women). Oh and the resulting loss of psychological integrity and impulse control that results from physical toll of said hyper masculine and hyper aggressive activity probably contributes as well. Yeah, but that kind of makes him and us hypocrites though.”

      Yes. To all of it but this for real. Word to Richie Incognito.

      • Medium Meech

        “Nah, that kind of thing happens in sports.” “It’s his fault,It would have stopped if he just stood up for himself” “He wasn’t a victim, he knew the culture coming in and is being paid millions to do his job”

        That’s what I remember about the conversation on this very blog. See, people like the culture but don’t want to own the consequences.

        • You can be a football player and not be a reprehensible human being. Arian Foster does it fine.

          • Shy Fran

            The one who preaches morality but had a side kid? Wrong example to use. But there are definitely decent guys out there.

            • I don’t think cheating makes someone morally reprehensible.

    • In fact, I would say the most direct influence he has over domestic
      violence committed by the players is allowing the hyper aggressive hyper
      masculine culture that fuels the hyper masculine hyper aggressive
      product the NFL produces for consumption by a fan base that craves a
      hyper masculine and hyper aggressive product (check military DV stats
      and attitudes towards women). Oh and the resulting loss of
      psychological integrity and impulse control that results from physical
      toll of said hyper masculine and hyper aggressive activity probably
      contributes as well. Yeah, but that kind of makes him and us hypocrites
      though.

      I’d partially disagree because I’m seen men that no sane person would describe as hypermasculine whip that tail like a jockey coming down the homestretch. The larger point about hypermasculinity leading to a culture of violence stands though. There was a reason that until the early 60s that professional football was looked at as seedy and somewhat disreputable. It wasn’t unusual for talented college football players to play other sports professionally or just use their reputations for high-profile jobs. (Hello President Gerald Ford!)

      • Medium Meech

        No doubt, but I’m not saying it’s the only thing that leads domestic violence at all, just contributes.

        • Freebird

          Trauma caused by football, as wonderful of a sport as it is, leads to men killing themselves. We do know this. So it is not a reach to suspect that it contributes to how the men who play professionally can potentially treat other folks.

          • BlueWave1

            Just look at the Chiefs player who blew his head off at the team facility in front of his coach and general manager. This what after he killed his then girlfriend at home.

            And the cold part is that story kind of came and went. It was only a couple of seasons ago no one even talks about it now.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              And that’s the beauty of Goodell; JaVon at the time of his death was on the cusp of NFL tenure. Non tenured players couldn’t participate in the class action suit and given most players careers end in 3.5 years means there are legions of players with multiple symptoms.

              Financial risks mitigated – check

              • I didn’t know that, but that was slick. Even a year in the league has shown to have some effects.

                • Sigma_Since 93

                  And we haven’t even begun talking about the folks strung out on pain pills………………..

            • Freebird

              yup….we forget, dont we?

  • He’s not getting fired for this, but I do think he’s taken some major hits between this and the fabrication that was “bounty-gate”. At the end of the day, when you got the Buffalo Bills selling for $1.6 billion despite playing in a terrible stadium in a terrible market, he makes the people who pay him money. To them $44 million is probably a BARGAIN. As we learned from the Hawks owner all these sports owners really care about is “gettin them checks”. BTW, Im assuming that pic of Damon hooping is from high school, but I’ve lived in Pittsburgh my whole life and have NO IDEA what school is on that jersey…..

    • That’s a college jersey from Canisius. The conference that the school is in, the Metro Atlantic, is mostly smaller Catholic colleges in and around New York City with a few in upstate New York.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Back when Siena used to dominate. Champ’s team used to come down to Albany and get mollywhopped.

        • Damon Young

          Iona, not Siena, was the team to beat when I was in college. Siena’s run came a little after.

          Coincidentally, that pic is from a game against Iona.

          • So you overlapped with Jeff Ruland’s tenure in New Rochelle. Cool. (And considering that this whole story started because a New Rochelle native decided to beat his girlfriend, this brings the story full circle.)

            • Sigma_Since 93

              The irony of it all.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Was Paul Hewitt the coach at Siena when you were there? I know Mike Deane had left a few years after I graduated from high school so Paul being there would appear logical.

  • Roger Goodell looks bad in this situation because it appears that he either hid or should have reasonably known the extent of what happened. That said, it’s one mistake, and the league is making a LOT of money. He also handled that concussion situation with aplomb, considering how bad it could have gotten.

    Remember that today’s players have high incomes, better earning opportunities outside of football and modern medicine to help them ameliorate any head trauma issues. When you’re talking about those players from the 50s and 60s who didn’t have modern medicine or modern equipment, not to mention salaries low enough that most players had 9 to 5 jobs in the off-season (and occasionally DURING the season), those players got hosed big-time, the 88 Fund notwithstanding.

    The NFL is the envy of the sports world. The big European soccer teams would kill them own mothers in cold blood for their revenue generating potential, despite having a much larger potential fan base. The other Big 4 sports would love to have the NFL’s problems. Ultimately, the commissioner serves at the owner’s pleasure, and this commissioner has much less in the way of independence compared to the other leagues either by rule or tradition. With the owners getting rich, he’s keeping his job. He hasn’t screwed up enough yet.

  • He needs to get fired for taking TD celebrations away

    • Freebird

      cosign.

    • Epsilonicus

      Amen

    • Val

      No Fun League strikes again.

  • Paradigm

    I feel ya on this article.. As the info continues to come out “soon” becomes a much more relative term

  • Khalil Jannah

    E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!! That is all

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