Rodger Goodell held a press conference on Friday and when it was over it seemed like everyone from current and former NFL players and women’s groups to politician and the media had a singular reaction, it’s time for him to go. Yes Friday was a bad day, in a host of bad days lately for Goodell and in all honesty he deserves it. But you know who was just fine with Friday? Thirty two NFL owners and their corporate sponsors. Because on Friday Rodger Goodell did what they pay him an obscene amount of money to do – on Friday Goodell shielded the shield.
There are 32 billionaires in the world who just happen to own NFL franchises, toys for most of them, toys that they were able to purchase thanks to their success or their family’s success in other businesses. They are very powerful and wealthy men and make no mistake they do not stand back idly waiting for Rodger Goodell to tell them what their next steps should be. As Hall of Famer Chris Carter so aptly put it, he never worked for the NFL he worked for the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings. Steve Bisciotti is the owner of the Baltimore Ravens, Ray Rice was an employee of Steve Bisciotti and any time that he wanted to Steve Bisciotti could have taken Ray Rice off the field. Could have said the Raven organization does not condone any type of abuse toward women and will not be associated with anyone who commits violence toward women, as such we are releasing Ray Rice or he could have said we are suspending Ray Rice while he undergoes mandated counseling. Steve Bisciotti did neither, well not until public pressure and a videotape released by TMZ forced his hand. Jerry Richardson owns the Carolina Panthers he has a player in Greg Hardy who was found guilty by a judge of choking his than girl friend dragging her around by her hair and threatening to kill her. Hardy is appealing the verdict but Jerry Richardson could have taken a stand nevertheless and taken his employee off the field. Instead Hardy, a star defensive end, played week one was deactivated week two, in the wake of the Ray Rice video, and was set to return week three, again that was until the public outcry forced the Panthers hand. To date, as far as I know, no one or no group has called for either of these men to sell their teams. No one or group has suggested boycotting their franchises or worst yet their outside business interests.
On the whole NFL owners have remained tight-lipped about their ugly problem. Not one has called for mandatory domestic violence classes for all rookies coming into league to help them better understand the pattern of abuse and gain coping skills in their interpersonal relationships. No NFL owner has suggested the NFL contribute to domestic violence organizations. In fact to my knowledge no NFL owners has done or said anything on their own to address this problem.
Some NFL corporate sponsors have pulled endorsement deals from Rice and Adrian Peterson and some have expressed “concern” over the problem of domestic violence in the NFL but not one has pulled out of their very lucrative NFL deals. This Sunday and every other Sunday, Monday and Thursday their commercials, which in many cases heavily rely on the objectification of women, will be beamed into your home to sell you any and everything including alcoholic products. By the way when it comes to those alcoholic products some studies have found that while alcohol may not have a direct correlation to domestic violence some abusers use alcohol as an excuse to become violent allowing them to justify their abuse on the alcohol. Yet no groups are calling for the boycott of these corporate sponsors or asking them any hard questions as it relates to the partnership with the NFL.
Yes Friday was a very bad day for the Rodger Goodell but to those that matter and profit from the NFL Friday was a great day – Goodell shielded the shield.