By Joe Munley
I am all for the safer direction that Roger Goodell seems intent on steering the NFL. After all, to hear him speak, he is only trying to save the entire sport of football from itself & that is to be commended. While aggressive, clean, and legal hits should always have a place in the game, it has been made very clear that there will be no room for the obvious dirty & bush league hits that Goodell has made it his mission to negate.
Fines and suspensions have followed the commissioner’s promise to clean up the game, and no matter what you think of the way that he has handled himself, it’s hard to argue that the league isn’t safer today than it was just 5 years ago.
The problem I have with Goodell and his crusade is that he is both the judge and the jury when it comes to handing out the above mentioned fines and suspensions no matter the severity of the infraction. And when a person who is on the receiving end of one of those fines or suspensions feels that they were unjustly punished? Guess who hears the appeal and decides if the punishment was indeed too harsh? Roger Goodell, the guy that handed down the punishment in the first place. How backwards is that?
Roger Goodell is Judge Dredd. I honestly think this is how he pictures himself whenever he walks into an appeal and he is faced with some punk that doesn’t agree with his brand of justice:
There are lawsuits brewing right now that will take aim at Goodell’s scope of authority, but the real problem for the players is this: They have themselves to blame. As much as everyone – players, coaches, trainers, advertisers, fans, etc. – wanted the NFL to get back to business during the lockout… The players are realizing that they might have given in a bit too early and conceded too much power to Dredd. They basically allowed him this scope of authority and signed on the line that made it legit.
I’m not among the fans that believe the Bountygate suspensions were too harsh, but I do believe that those players and coaches that were on the receiving end of them should have a legitimate venue to appeal the decisions if they so choose.
When a player or coach walks into a room, takes a seat opposite Goodell, and proceeds to make their case about why the punishment that Goodell himself handed down was unjust… Well, they simply have to know that they’re being jerked around.
I only wonder if Roger drops the “I AM THE LAW” line on them before ushering them out of the room so he can have a good chuckle at their naiveté.
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