The NFL has entered perhaps the darkest period in its 94 year history in the past couple of weeks. Domestic violence is at an all-time high, the issue of drugs is still being debated, and players are getting injured faster and more seriously than ever. And I believe that Roger Goodell needs to step up, accept the blame, and then, be fired from his position as NFL commissioner.
As NFL commish, there are certain standards you are held to. You are supposed to create a more safe and enjoyable game. Create more revenue, find ways to make players, coaches, and most importantly, fans happy. Roger Goodell has had gaffes since he entered the league. Most notably, the Ray Rice ordeal, the running back who cold clocked his wife in an elevator, then dragged her unconscious body out. The video, which has since been leaked by TMZ, is brutal. Goodell claims he never received the video, although that seems like a load of you know what. Rice received a 2 game ban, which is letting him off the hook extremely easily. After the video was released, the Ravens organization made the swift and correct choice to release him.
Not that this is the only incident of abuse. Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers was arrested earlier this year in connection with an assault charge. He reportedly looked in the woman’s eyes and told her he was going to kill her, then dragged her by her hair across his floor. Hardy received no punishment from Goodell. He was deactivated by the Panther’s organization and did not play in last week’s game. Once again, a team has had to do the right thing on their own, with Goodell being either too dumb or too inconsiderate of domestic violence to do anything.
We haven’t even talked about the drug policy. So a player misses 16 games for smoking marijuana but only two games for knocking a woman out? I just don’t get that logic, and I think most people agree. Former players are dealing with mental health issues, and concussions and other serious injuries are becoming more common (ACL, Achilles tears, etc.). Goodell has taken action against this, but is going about it the wrong way. He’s fining players for helmet to helmet, and often fining players that lead with the shoulder and deliver perfectly legal, hard hits. It’s ruining the game. Flag. Flag. Flag. For good, clean, hard hits. Now with players being fined money for high hits, players are going lower, and aiming for the legs. Ask any player, and they would much rather take a concussion than tear an ACL. Goodell needs to talk to the players more about changing the rules and getting input from them, since they are the ones making the hits and getting hit.
Look, I know no commissioner in the history of sports has ever been perfect. But Goodell continually makes poor decisions that are hurting this league. I think that it’s time for a new commissioner, one that has the initiative to make the game better, and more enjoyable at the same time. And that begins and ends with the firing of Roger Goodell.