Tag Archives: Roger Goodell

NFL tells players to stand … or else

Freedom of speech and political expression has just been dealt an improper blow to the gut by the National Football League.

To be candid, this story makes my gut churn. The NFL, though, has made the wrong decision to restrict the manner in which its players can express themselves politically.

It began a couple of seasons ago when a player decided to kneel during the national anthem prior to the start of a game. Former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick wanted to protest the treatment of African-Americans by police.

At one level, I wish the young man had decided to stand during the anthem. His decision to “take a knee,” though, didn’t bother me greatly. I understand why he decided to do that.

But a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, decided to make a major issue out of it. Then the candidate was elected president in 2016 and he kept up the drumbeat. He called protesting NFL players “sons of bit****” who should be “fired.”

This week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said players henceforth will stand when they play the anthem. They are free to stay in the locker room, but while they are on the field, they will stand.

Trump won one, yes? I guess so.

I want to stipulate something here. The nation’s founding was based on its honoring of peaceful dissent. Its very governing document, the Constitution, guarantees citizens the right to protest.

NFL players who “take a knee” are exercising their right to protest. I have heard the argument that as employees of professional football team owners, they are obligated to behave the way their bosses dictate.

Yes, but they are performing on a public stage, subsidized by the public that pays top dollar to watch them play a game. As a social media acquaintance of mine noted recently, these men aren’t “indentured servants.” They are highly paid professional athletes, some of whom choose to make a political statement.

They do so peacefully. And to my way of thinking, their kneeling doesn’t disrespect the nation in the least. It honors the basis for the nation’s very founding.

Deflategate comes to an end

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 02:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots warms up before a game against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

A young man with whom I am acquainted is a happy fellow.

Trevor is as die-hard a New England Patriots fan as anyone this side of Cape Cod. However, heĀ lives way out here on the Texas Tundra, in Amarillo.

But by golly, he loves them Pats. He went to this year’s Super Bowl game in Arizona that the Patriots won in that remarkable fashion over the Seattle Seahawks.

I know he’s happy because a judge today tossed out a four-game suspension handed to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who’d been accused of conspiring to deflate some footballs prior to the Patriots’ AFC championship game victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The Pats won the game by a zillion points, so the deflating of the balls — no matter who did it — never really mattered.

But Brady got pounded with that four-game suspension handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Well, the suspension has been lifted. The NFL will appeal. My hunch is that the judge’s ruling will stand. Brady will take the first snap when the Patriots’ regular season begins.

Trevor will be made whole again.

I happen to agree with most Pats fans, that the four-game suspension was too severe. Brady perhaps needed some sanction. Fine him a lot of money; hey, he can afford it.

Four games? It was too much.

As for the appeal that Brady launched several months ago, consider this little item: He appealed his suspension to the league and the arbitrator was none other than theĀ same man who administered the suspension in the first place, Roger Goodell!

Is that fair?

I think not.

So, let’s get on with the pro football season. As for the air pressure inside those footballs, don’t let the players anywhere near the balls until it’s time for them to take the field.

Brady suspension lifted


Brady’s cover-up bites him in backside

Didn’t we all learn from the Watergate scandal that the cover-up almost always is worse than the crime?

Then again, the principal involved in a boiling sports controversy wasn’t even born yet when the Watergate scandal took down the president of the United States and sent several high-ranking government officials to prison.

Still, didn’t New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hear of such a thing when he was in high school or attending the University of Michigan?

Brady’s four-game suspension in this year’s upcoming NFL football season will stand. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had imposed it in the wake of the now-famed Deflate-gate controversy. Brady then appealed the suspension to, strange as it seems, to the same man who imposed it. Goodell decided to let the suspension stand.


And why is that? Well, it turns out that Brady destroyed the cell phone that contained text messages that supposedly implicated the QB in the issue of whether he knew anything about the deflated footballs used in the Patriots’ game in which they clobbered the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game this past year.

Good grief, man. All he had to do was turn over the cell phone. He didn’t do it, apparently knowing that he had done something wrong.

My strong hunch is that his destruction of the cell phone infuriated Goodell so much that he dared not lighten the suspension.

The cover-up, Tom, did you in.

This story likely isn’t over. TheĀ NFL players union will appeal the suspension.

They’d better hurry. The season starts in just a few weeks.

Brady probe needs independent judge

Did I hear this correctly? National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell — who administered the punishment against Tom Brady over the Deflate-gate matter — is now going to hear Brady’s appeal of the four-game suspension?

I am not going to defend the New England Patriots quarterback over this, but the NFL Players Association has a legitimate argument: Goodell should recuse himself and let an independent judge determine whether Brady’s four-game suspension stands.


I’ve said all along the story is overblown. Perhaps the punishment is as well. The NFLPA says it is. Brady’s agent says so, too.

What’s even more interesting is that the report issued prior to the sanctions being leveled cleared the team and head coach Bill Belichick of any complicity in deflating the footballs prior to the AFC championship game — but then the league fined the Pats $1 million and took away two draft picks in year’s draft.

What’s up with that?

Brady, though, is getting hammered — hard — for hisĀ probable involvement in the football deflation.

Goodell should step aside in favor of an impartial judge who can look at this case without the bias that the commissioner has demonstrated already.


Reading Tom Brady's body language

My wife isn’t a football fan, per se.

She doesn’t care so much about the details of the game, or even the men who play it.

However, she’s an astute reader of body language. She’s told me this about New England all-Universe quarterback Tom Brady, who’s been accused of having general knowledge that someone deflated those footballs prior to the Patriots’ game with the Indianapolis Colts.

“He looks like someone who was spoiled by his mother and has gotten away with everything he’s ever done,” she said. Does that mean Mrs. Brady actually spoiled little Tommy, or that my wife has inside knowledge of such? No. She said only that he looks like the type. “All he has to do is smile,” she said.

That was her takeaway from Brady’s appearance the other day in which he refused to answer questions about the deflated football story that has a lot of NFL fans in a tizzy these days. He looked “too smug,” she said.


The rumor mill is churning out stuff about the National Football League getting ready to suspend Brady for at least part of the next football season. Some reports say he might have to sit the entire season out if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decides to drop the hammer.

I don’t particularly care one way or the other whether Brady sits or plays. I don’t think there’s that much of a story there about what Brady knew about the balls’ air pressure and when he knew it. I mean, the Patriots clobbered the Colts that day.

However, if my wife’s intuition is correct — and she is the very definition of “woman’s intuition” — then the all-world QB is likely to receive the shock of his life when the NFL commissioner decides to punish him for breaking a simple rule.



Rice can return … but where?

A judge has ruled that Ray Rice can play football again.

You remember this young man. He punched his then-fiancƩe in the face, knocked her cold in a New Jersey casino elevator. He then got dumped by the Baltimore Ravens and was suspended indefinitely by the National Football League.

A judge has said the former Ravens running back didn’t like to the NFL and that Commissioner Roger Goodell overstepped his discretion by suspending Rice indefinitely.


Case closed?

Not entirely. Rice is without a team. My question is, who is going to hire a guy with the kind of baggage this young man is packing around?

I wish the suspension had stuck. The NFL is trying to mend its ways regarding domestic violence. The Rice case was thought to be a textbook case of a highly paid pro athlete gone out of control. Rice is one of several who face this kind of scrutiny.

It’s embarrassed the league, Rice’s employer. And speaking of employers, don’t they have the right to insist that the people who work for them behave in a certain manner?

I guess Rice will come back, or will at least attempt to come back.

We’ll see if winning matters more than character.


Peterson earns stiff suspension

The Adrian Peterson case continues to baffle me and it continues to play havoc with how I really feel about what he allegedly did to his toddler son.

But the suspension handed down by the National Football League against the starĀ Minnesota Vikings running back seems like the appropriate punishment.

A grand jury in Texas indicted Peterson on a felony count of child abuse after he smacked his son with a switch, which left several marks on the youngster’s limbs and torso.


The incident occurred just as the NFL was reeling from domestic violence cases, not most notable one involved former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and the infamous incident in which he cold-cocked his fiancƩe in a New Jersey casino elevator.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Peterson failed to show proper remorse and has not taken part in hearings. Therefore, he will sit out the rest of the season — without pay.

Peterson has said the punishment he meted out to his little boy was no different than what he received growing up in East Texas. Really?

Well, that was then. This is now. Times change. So do societal attitudes about such things — although Peterson is a young man and it wasn’t all that long ago when he was his son’s age.

Meanwhile, the NFL is trying to rehabilitate its own image by cracking down on players’ personal conduct, trying to protect people associated with these athletes from further potential abuse.

It well might be in Peterson’s best interest to swallow the medicine the NFL has forced on him. Then he can try to come back and resurrect his career.

Another one joins a sad, sorry list of thugs

You can add Greg Hardy to the National Football League’s list of abusive scoundrels … allegedly.

He plays for the Carolina Panthers and has been added to something called the “commissioner’s exempt” list, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

I guess it means the NFL commissioner has deemed him unfit to play football while he’s being investigated for criminal activity.

Hardy, too, has been charged with domestic violence, along with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson (whose actual allegation involves abuse of his 4-year-old son).

Will there be more to come? I’m betting yes.

Houston, we have a problem.

The NFL well might be a deep source of embarrassment, shame and recrimination.

Large, physically fit athletes are being charged with some despicable crimes.

As bad as it seems to look now for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, I’ll give him credit at least for admitting openly that he blew it initially when he suspended former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for just two games after learning he had punched his fiancĆ©e in the face, knocking her out cold in that casino elevator. Rice is now suspended indefinitely and has been fired by the Ravens.

I’m beginning to think we’re seeing just the beginning of a long and miserable tale of woe in the National Football League.

Congress to look into NFL conduct? C'mon!

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has opened the door for yet another congressional spectacle in which lawmakers will seek to call attention to a problem that should be solved by someone else.

Domestic violence is the issue of the day.

Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said today that the National Football League’s response to the Ray Rice scandal — he punched his then-fiancĆ©e unconscious, remember? — has been “outrageous.”


So, what’s Congress going to do about it?

Gillibrand thinks hearings are possible. To what end?

I think I know. The end will be to allow senators to make speeches, to get their names into print, their faces on TV and they’ll be able to express justifiable outrage at the way the NFL has handled these cases involving players striking the women in their lives.

Give me a break.

Congress has many more, and much larger, fish to fry — pardon the expression — than butting into the business of the NFL.

Yes, the league has a serious image problem. The owners need to hold Commissioner Roger Goodell accountable for the way he has handled the Rice matter. Goodell does work for the owners, who will need to decide whether the commissioner keeps his job.

The NFL already has launched an independent investigation led by former FBI director Robert Mueller, who vows to be thorough in his probe and plans to reveal his findings to the public the moment he has assembled all the facts in the case.

Let’s be clear: The domestic violence crisis in the NFL is a serious burden for the league to bear. It must make these offenders accountable and they must pay for the horrible acts of violence they commit. That’s within the NFL’s purview.

Congress has to worry about whether to approve air strikes in Syria; it has to look for ways to ensure that Americans are safe from terrorists; it must decide whether to act on the myriad programs proposed by President Obama, but which have been stuck in the congressional gridlock.

It need not conduct show hearings for the purpose of allowing elected politicians to make spectacles of themselves.

Independent probe needed in Rice case

The case of Ray Rice is getting serious.

The former Baltimore Ravens running back who hit his fiancĆ©e — who’s now his wife — is out of a job after knocking his wife unconscious in a New Jersey casino elevator.


But it’s getting complicated now.

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said he didn’t see the video of Rice smashing his wife in the face until just the other day. The Associated Press reports that the league office got the video in April, two months after the incident.

The question: Did the commissioner cover up what he knew and when he knew it?

That’s where former FBI director Robert Mueller comes in. He’s going to conduct (presumably) a thorough, independent investigation of what happened. He’ll report back to the NFL and to the public.

At issue is whether the NFL sought to whitewash this case to protect its image. If it turns out Goodell knew far earlier than what he’s acknowledged, he ought to be fired summarily.

The bigger issue, of course, is how the organization is going to handle domestic violence cases involving its employees in the future. Rice initially got a two-game “suspension.” Then the video showing him punching his wife came out. The league suspended Rice indefinitely and the Ravens fired him from the team.

Robert Mueller needs to get to the bottom of this case and he needs to follow every lead he gets to get to the truth — and to who knew what and when they knew it.