Tag Archives: Roger Goodell

Is CTE Settled Science? Symptoms Similar to Those Found with Steroid Use

An on-going topic of debate in football is the impact the sport has on brain function. This is being discussed at all levels of football starting with youth leagues and going all the way up to the NFL. Concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) are serious issues that deserve not only the public’s attention but also the undivided attention of the NFL. But what if I told you that the symptoms associated with CTE were also associated with the use of steroids?

CTE, as defined by the Boston University CTE Center, is a “progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head.” Everyone from ESPN to PBS has produced featured stories on not only how CTE has affected football players but also on how the NFL has allegedly covered up the findings in order to benefit its business model. The symptoms of CTE, based on the Boston University CTE Center, include “memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.”

CTE has been blamed for the tragic events that led to the tragic stories of Kansas City Chief Jovan Belcher, New York Giant Tyler Sash, Atlanta Falcon Ray Easterling and San Diego Charger Junior Seau to name just a few. As a result of events such as these, many ex-NFL players have donated their brains to science and/or have retired from the NFL earlier than expected.

As is the case with any series of tragic events, society looks to cast blame on someone, or an entity, that is driven by greed. In the case of CTE, that entity is the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell. The charge against Goodell in the court of public opinion is that he, like his predecessors, chose to hide the impact of CTE from football players in order to maximize the profits of the NFL. Goodell found himself the subject of additional public outrage when he went on the record saying that he would encourage his son to play football.

Even with the substantiated proof of CTE, it should not be considered settled science that CTE is the primary factor involved in the tragedies of these current and former NFL players. Like Jason Whitlock and Danny Kanell, I too have my doubts about just how conclusive the science is that links CTE with these football tragedies.

In his J. School blog, Whitlock approached an angle that I have long thought about in regards to the symptoms of CTE and brain function. Whitlock discusses the angle the media took with the steroid issue in baseball, but what if there was more to the use of steroids in football than the media reported and we knew?

There is a long list of side effects that are associated with the use of steroids. These side effects include aggressive behaviors and psychiatric disorders. Aggressive behaviors and psychiatric disorders are also two of the more highly publicized side effects of CTE. I am not saying that CTE is not a real issue for football players and I am also not saying that it isn’t a serious issue for football players. But what if Goodell and the NFL are correct when they argue that CTE is not to blame for tragedies such as Jovan Belcher and Junior Seau?

Former NFL player Eddie George believes that steroids do play a role in the off the field issues of some of the NFL players.

Considering the fact that CTE and steroid use share some of the same side effects, why then is the impact of CTE considered settled science in the NFL and why then is the NFL, under Goodell’s leadership, being presented as being nefarious in their attitude towards CTE? My belief is that this is more outrage from the social justice warrior (SJW) crowd.

Blaming CTE for the current and post-retirement issues that afflict football players is the easy way out. The SJW crowd loves a good villain more than they love personal responsibility. CTE provides the villain and it’s a villain that Hollywood could also rally around. And considering that the topic of CTE has been snatched by the SJW crowd, it also means that it is an argument that is ultimately debated on social media rather than in the science lab. Like facts, science doesn’t care about your feelings. Social media does care about your feelings and topics become settled science based in large part to who can scream the loudest.

When discussing CTE in the NFL, many seem to remove the role of personal responsibility from the argument. Some players seize their freedom of choice and choose to retire early based on what is known about CTE. I applaud these players and believe more players should acknowledge that the choice does exist. Nobody forces these adults to play football.

Now, if steroids do play a role in the tragic events attributed to CTE then I believe that personal choice plays an even greater factor in this debate. But if the tragic events that occurred with Jovan Belcher and Junior Seau had anything at all to do with steroids, well, that doesn’t make for good SJW outrage because there is nobody like Goodell to present in an evil way. It’s all about the individual player at that point.

If you want a more concrete example of what i’m presenting, all you need to do is look at the world of professional wrestling. Paul Farhi makes an interesting statement in that Washington Post article:

Professional wrestlers of (Ultimate) Warrior’s generation (he was 54) have experienced a mortality rate that would be considered a crisis and a scandal if it happened in some other context — say, to football players, racecar drivers or boxers.

Farhi is correct in his assertion that if there were this many deaths of football players under the age of 50 that the situation would be considered a crisis and a scandal. Farhi even uses Chris Benoit as an example of a tragedy that would not be as accepted if it had involved an NFL player.

Before taking his own life, Chris Benoit killed his wife and their 7-year-old son, yet unlike the similar chain of events that involved Jovan Belcher, CTE was not blamed for Benoit’s killing spree. What was suggested as the influencing factor behind the deaths were steroids.

Investigators found anabolic steroids in the house and want to know whether the muscle man nicknamed “The Canadian Crippler” was unhinged by the bodybuilding drugs, which can cause paranoia, depression and explosive outbursts known as “roid rage.”

We as a society owe it to everyone to slow down and to take a responsible, level-headed examination of all of the facts and possible reasons behind the growing list of tragedies involving football players. Maybe CTE is the driving factor behind this growing issue and maybe the NFL and Goodell are ignoring it in the name of profit. But just maybe the science isn’t settled and just maybe the SJWs should give the scientific community time to engage in responsible science.

Remember, like facts, responsible science doesn’t care about your feelings.

E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.


*Featured image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

The NFL’s Tom Brady Long Con Revealed

Or proof that the Feds ain’t got nothing on the NFL…

On Friday, Roger Goodell told the Canton Repository (Canton, OH) that he suspended Tom Brady to ‘protect the integrity of the game‘.  Which, of course, is a joke, as has been discussed.  If ‘integrity of the game’ was so important, there’d be a lot more suspensions for PEDs, and far less spousal abuse or murders.

Goodell’s words, in full, according to the reports were:

The integrity of the game is the most important thing. The integrity of the game is something we will always protect. The rules apply to everybody. That is my job in particular, to make sure everyone from our players to our coach, to our fans and our partners, that they all recognize we’re going to play by these sets of rules, and that’s part of our values and standards.

When I think of the NFL, ‘values and standards’ are not the first words that come to mind.  Money-making machine is more apropos, and I believe that is where the Patriots and Tom Brady run into trouble.

During the first 41 years of their existence, the New England Patriots won exactly 0 championships.  The closest they came during that time was the 46 – 10 trouncing they took at the hands of the Chicago Bears during Super Bowl XX, and a 35 – 21 beat down to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI.

Since the beginning of the 2001 NFL season, there have been 9 different franchises that have won a Super Bowl.  The Patriots in that time span,  have won their first Super Bowl (XXXVI), and captured 4 of the 14 NFL titles in that time frame.  That is a Dynasty.

Dynasties did not used to be looked down upon, in fact, they were seen as the sign of a successfully-run franchise.  What is far more important these days in professional sports, but in particular the NFL, is making money.  The NFL has discovered that the best way to keep those Brinks trucks rolling in is to keep *fan* interest high, and the best way to do that is to have new winners as often as possible.  The NFL is not interested in new dynasties being launched (or continued), but rather, would see a new Champion every year if feasible.  The Patriots have interrupted that pattern, daring to win back to back Championships in ’04 – ’05.  In this day and age, that’s unheard of.  Everything is fixed so exactly that type of incident doesn’t occur.  As further proof, I submit Peyton Manning, the poster boy of the NFL.  Not even his marvelous right arm was allowed to overcome the league’s plan for parity and hoist a second consecutive Lombardi Trophy.

So the Patriots have endured attacks over the years, both on the field, and from alleged media partners.  Stephen A. Smith, as you may well recall, insisted that Tom Brady was a racist, and to the best of my knowledge, suffered no repercussions for his accusations.  Yeah, the Patriots and Tom Brady likely ‘cheated‘, if that’s what under-inflating a football can be labeled.

So Goodell, and many of the owners of other NFL franchises finally thought that they could stick one to the Patriots and Brady.  They got their knickers all twisted up, and when things began to turn against them, instead of looking to cut a deal, or to admit they may have been wrong, they doubled down and defiantly stated that they were standing by the decision.  Tom Brady is a Cheater, and he must suffer the consequences as such.

Here-in lies the Long Con:

Goodell and the NFL’s Inner Circle are in a no-lose position at the moment.  They had long ago alienated the Patriots’ fan base, so attempting to placate them made no sense.  Plus, they’re a Dynasty, which makes them Evil.  Rather, it was the smart play to kowtow to the anti-Patriots circle 1And tap the whole “Anti-Boston” gaggle, too. and appear to stick it to the Patriots.

By not agreeing to a reduction in the penalty, which a logical person might have done, Goodell has put the final decision for Brady’s fate in the hands of Judge Richard M. Berman.  If Judge Berman rules in the NFL’s favor and decides that it is more likely than not that Brady played a part in the ‘cheating’, Goodell gets to go out on live television and say to the world how he was right, and that the process worked correctly.  Brady broke the rules, and he now has to serve out his punishment.

If, however, Judge Berman should rule in Brady’s favor and say that there is not a suspension warranted, then Goodell gets to tell the fans and owners of the other 31 NFL teams that he did absolutely everything he could to destroy the Patriots’ season uphold the integrity of the game, but the Court ruled in Brady’s favor, so there is nothing else to be done about it.  He will then state it is time to put all of this ugliness in the past, and move forward with enjoying the current season, one that the Patriots have absolutely zero chance of repeating in.

This is the world that we now live in – accuse a man of a crime, then when he has the audacity to ignore your accusations, or not cooperate in helping to prove them, label him as the thing that you accused him of being in the first place.

In a text message to me this week, Mike Pellegrino said the Brady situation would be akin to him sending me a message like this:

Hey, Matt, I’m going to try and frame you for burglary.  Would you do me a favor and hand me your phone so I can look through it and leak anything I find to everyone you know without any context?

And then when I wouldn’t cooperate 2I’m not a crook!:

You won’t?  Well, obviously you burgled.

This is by far the most succinct and on-point explanation for how Brady has been treated over the last 6 months.

For fans of the other 31 teams that let this charade go on, it’s going to be a long season.  The last time the Patriots were attacked in such a manner (SpyGate) they went on an 18 – 0 run to start their 2007 season, before having their perfect dreams upended by the N.Y. Giants in the Super Bowl.  The Giants, nor any other franchise, are not likely to be able to stop the force of the Patriots this coming season.

Get your bets in now – the Patriots repeat.

   [ + ]

1. And tap the whole “Anti-Boston” gaggle, too.
2. I’m not a crook!

Antonio Gates’ Suspension Proves the NFL’s Competitive Balance Policy Is a Joke

Antonio Gates was suspended by the NFL this past week for 4 games for violating the League’s PED *policy*.  Normally, I wouldn’t care all that much about it, because it’s the NFL, and I assume that at least 75% of the players in the league use them.  Also, it’s the NFL, which at its apex is the 2nd best professional sport going, and it has not been near the top of its game in quite some time.

Continue reading Antonio Gates’ Suspension Proves the NFL’s Competitive Balance Policy Is a Joke

The NFL Knows Where Their Priorities Are. (Sigh)

I honestly don’t care much for the NFL now a days, and the past few years has made it very difficult for me to take the league seriously; more particularly Roger Goodell.

In case you haven’t heard (I’m sure you have), the New England Patriots starting QB Tom Brady was suspended four games without pay while the Patriots get slapped with a fine of $1 million dollars and lose two future draft picks for their roll in the controversial “Deflategate” in which the incident consisted of the team had underinflated footballs to take and advantage in a playoff game this past year.

The investigation stemmed from when the Patriots’ use of underinflated footballs during January’s AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots beat the Colts en route to a Super Bowl XLIX victory.

The report was investigated by attorney Ted Wells. The report consisted of 243 pages of “evidence”. The report reads that “it is more probable than not” that Brady “was generally aware of inappropriate activities” of staffers Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski.

Ok, most people would say the punishment if fair. Some people will say the punishment is a bit too much. But you can’t argue the fact that Brady and the Patriots deserve some sort of punishment for their actions. After all, the did cheat. Despite the fact that they cheated in the Indianapolis playoff game, I doubt the game would have had a different outcome. The Patriots just flat out embarrassed the Colts that game.

There is one thing about this “Deflategate” punishment that really gets me going. Sure, go ahead and suspend Tom Brady. Go ahead and take away two future draft picks from the Patriots. Go ahead and fine the Patriots organization $1 mill. If there is one thing that we can take out of this whole incident and the punishments handed down by Roger Goodell is where his and the NFL’s priorities are.

Cheating by deflating footballs does put a bit of a damper on the integrity of the game, however there is a more of an integrity problem out there; a Commissioner displaying such willful ignorance during a domestic violence case. You all know what I am talking about. A case that is far worse than someone deflating footballs.

It was a case that rocked the National Football League last year. Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended for two-games without pay in a May 2014 incident where the star running back knocked his fiance (now wife) out cold in a Atlantic City casino elevator. After video tape had surfaced regarding the incident, the league suspended him indefinitely while the Ravens terminated his contract. However, on Dec 1 after an appeal, Rice was reinstated. However the running back has not been picked up by any team since then.

Yes, a man that knocked out his now wife was punished far less than a man that really doesn’t have much evidence on him that he knew the footballs he was using were compromised

Say that one more time with me: a man that knocked out his now wife was punished far less than a man that really doesn’t have much evidence on him that he knew the footballs he was using were compromised.

How about one more time: a man that knocked out his now wife was punished far less than a man that really doesn’t have much evidence on him that he knew the footballs he was using were compromised.

That just doesn’t sound right at all! (Sorry, Caroline Keeney, I’m taking up for the guy that you despise the most.)

Many took to social media to vent their outrage over this punishment. To many people throughout the nation believes that this decision to punish Brady and the Patriots in this manner just shows another tone-deaf message on domestic violence and battery against women. To me, the punishment is grounds for Brady not to seek an appeal or a lawsuit against the league. Why not?

Another thing that can go how backwards the NFL is is the drug-policy. Yes, marijuana use is illegal in the league, but a man gets suspended an entire year for testing positive for using it.

I’ll say it one more time: a man that knocked out his now wife was punished far less.

Brady gets suspended 4 games for “more probable than not” deflating footballs. Ray Rice gets suspended 2 games for beating his wife. Solid work, NFL. Two thumbs WAAAAAY UP to you! Crack open an ice-cold Bud Light for the great work that you do.

After this bonehead punishment handed down against Brady and the Patriots, there should be one more question everyone should ask: HOW DOES ROGER GOODELL STILL HAVE A JOB?!?!



Yes, they should be punished; no question about it. But the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. This is a joke. Ok, I’m done ranting.







Talking Tom Brady On An NYC Road Trip

Once upon a time, Mike Pellegrino wrote the following limerick:

There once was a guy named Pat Hack
Who wrote a column that showed off a knack
He ranted and raved
But ultimately caved
To “priorities” and has yet to come back

Pat Hack, for those that missed him, seemed like he would be the next great writer to take over the pages of the MTAF Network.  Instead, he went the way of J.D. Salinger, shunning the buzz of his meteoric rise, and when he disappeared without a trace, many expected that he would never be heard from again.

Continue reading Talking Tom Brady On An NYC Road Trip

NASCAR Sends Message About Domestic Violence With Kurt Busch Suspension

by Ryan Isley

It’s about time someone raised the bar when it comes to holding athletes accountable for domestic violence. This past week, NASCAR took the first step in doing just that.

On Friday afternoon, word came that effective immediately, Kurt Busch was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for his role in an alleged domestic dispute with ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. This came after the Kent County (Delaware) Family Court commissioner released a finding that shows he believed that Busch did indeed commit an act of domestic abuse against Driscoll.

The release of information on Friday was in addition to the court granting Driscoll the protective order she sought against Busch earlier in the week. The order of protection was requested due to the alleged incident that happened last September, where Driscoll claims that Busch smashed her head into the wall of his motorcoach.

NASCAR’s stance on the suspension was that Busch violated two rules in the sport’s handbook:

Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing

Section 12.8: Behavioral Penalty

Busch appealed the initial ruling by NASCAR but both appeals were denied Saturday and Busch was out of not only the Daytona 500, but out of the sport for the foreseeable future.

While some think this was an overreaction by NASCAR because Busch has yet to actually be charged with an actual crime, I believe NASCAR did what it had to do. There is no way that NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France wanted to have this hanging over the head of the sport the way the Ray Rice story hung over the head of the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell.

NASCAR is not held to any standard of “innocent until proven guilty,” as some have claimed in this case.  We have seen in the past that NASCAR is judge, jury and executioner when it comes to punishment.  They can suspend a driver if they feel that he (or she) needs to be suspended.

In this case, it was necessary to suspend Busch to protect the sport and its governing body. Sometimes, the sport has to look out for itself – this was one of those times. After seeing the backlash the NFL received for their fumbling of the Ray Rice situation, NASCAR decided it needed to act quickly and sternly to get in front of any firestorm that may be headed its way once the commissioner’s opinion was made public.

Unlike with the situation involving Rice, this case has a very willing accuser. While Rice’s then-fiancé (now wife) was unwilling to testify against Rice, Driscoll is out for Busch’s blood. And while there wasn’t a videotape of the alleged incident in the motorcoach, the findings and opinion of the court commissioner are extremely hard to ignore.  The determining factor in the punishment was the opinion released by the commissioner of the court on Friday.

Had the court not come out with that information, Busch would have probably still been in the No.41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet for the Daytona 500 and moving forward until any new evidence was brought to light.

If Busch is never charged with a crime or is found innocent of any crime with which he might be charged, NASCAR can reinstate him immediately. On the other hand, if they didn’t suspend him and then he was charged and/or found guilty of a crime, it looks bad on NASCAR for allowing him to continue racing under the black cloud of suspicion. By issuing the suspension immediately, NASCAR takes itself out of a potentially bad situation if Busch is indeed charged with a crime after the findings had been released.

But based on the findings and opinion of the court commissioner, France and NASCAR had to take a stance.

The stance they took is that if there is any evidence of domestic violence by one of its drivers, that driver is done.  NASCAR has thrown down the gauntlet when it comes to domestic violence. The basic message is that no form of domestic violence would be tolerated if a court found sufficient enough evidence to believe the act occurred.

That’s one hell of a stance to take. And the right one.

Comments? Questions? You can leave them here or email Ryan at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on Twitter @isley23.

The NFL: It Fascinates Me

If there’s so much we dislike about the game of football, its players, its coaches, its writers, its government, and yes, even our fellow fan, why do we bother with it? Now, I can’t speak for everyone else, but the game simply fascinates me, and I’m not alone. Remember, the game is only three hours of your week for sixteen weeks out of the year, if you affix yourself to one team.

And to the “3 Hours Per Week” Club, us die-hards just chuckle, which isn’t to say we’re without envy. Some of us have jobs where we clock out and disavow any knowledge of what happens there until we report for our next shift. For others, work consumes our lives and lingers on the mind during dinner, family-time, and in those minutes before we fall asleep at night. For those that clock out daily, but never stop working, you know the life of the NFL fan, or should I say fanatic(?) better than most.

If your favorite team missed the playoffs, you’ve now gone seven Sundays without a dog in the fight. Yet, there you are, tuning into the NFL Network, checking Twitter for the latest, and thinking about how 2015 is going to be different, hopefully better. From the time I started watching the game 30 years ago, it’s always been the same, with some obvious differences that today’s technology affords us. The day my season ends, it’s on to the next one.

Even if you win the Super Bowl, and trust me when I say, that’s a treat I’ve barely sniffed, it’s still the same. How do you do it again? For those that came up short, you’re asking, how do we finish the job? Nothing is ever enough, unless you’re ready to walk away on top, a la John Elway, and that only happened after he did it twice and would have been expected to get it done a third time. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick did it three times in four years, but it took a decade of scratching and clawing at it, with very different supporting casts, to make it happen a fourth time.

Everyone talks about that stuff, and no one questions that playing to win the game, especially a championship game, is what it’s all about. That’s not even the fascinating part. Really, it’s the anticipation of everything, even the otherwise minute stuff, that makes the NFL, the shield, the empire that it actually is.

Personally, I don’t play Fantasy Football. I don’t bet on games against the spread. I don’t watch the draft from start to finish. And, I tend to avoid the pre-game shows. Still, I anticipate it, all of it.

I still want to know who the hot fantasy commodities are going to be, who is going to be favored and by how much, and the bar that Vegas sets for each team, as far as wins and losses are concerned. The draft has become a holiday, and much like actual holidays, they often disappoint (being a life-long Browns fan contributes to this in ways unimagineable). The schedule comes out in April, and the announcement of what date that will be is almost as suspenseful as learning who plays each other and when. Even though I do try to avoid studio shows, I’m always eager for a soundbyte to make waves that transcend the airwaves where they initially reside.

As unfortunate as it is, because heinous crimes are heinous by nature and lesser crimes are still bad, the off-field and off-season beat of our favorite game comes with its own intensity. We know that Josh Gordon and Greg Hardy are worth the price of admission on the field, and that matters more to some us than the type of human beings they are when the clock hits zero. Some of us care about the men they are, but most of you do not.

The game and everything that comes with it are bigger than the sum of their own parts. Those parts will modify, be replaced, and they’ll move on, but game isn’t going anywhere. It will change, and for the better, but it won’t come without its share of red ink for certain aspects. We’ll be able to ignore those and continue to be fascinated by a game. It’s not really fair to call professional football a game, because we’ve reached a point where few can deny it is THE game.

Bridging the Gap: The Midweek Report, Week 1

Well that was heartbreaking. Plain and simple. There is really no other way to look at it.

After a god awful first half, the Browns looked like a real NFL team for the majority of the second half. Or actually better than a normal NFL team. After looking about as talented as the peewee squad that plays down the road, the Browns came back out from the locker room and completely shut down a team that had just finished putting up 27 points on them in a mere 30 minutes of football. To give you a better understanding of how thoroughly we got dominated, here is a summary of the Steelers’ scoring drives from the first half:

9 plays, 62 yards, 5:02, Field Goal

9 plays, 80 yards, 4:49, Touchdown

6 plays, 89 yards, 3:12, Touchdown

2 plays, 50 yards, 0:48, Touchdown

10 plays, 64 yards, 1:44, Field Goal

Now overall, that’s real real efficient. Honestly, I was dreading the second half of the game. I wanted to walk out. I wanted to go do something that was more productive than watching the Browns get slaughtered by their rivals. But the Browns fan in me forced me to stay. I mean hey, we’ve seen worse. And man am I glad I stayed. I have no idea what Mike Pettine said in that locker room, but whatever it was it must have been brilliant. From the first drive of the second half, I truly believed that the Browns had a legitimate chance at winning the game. And they were oh so close. So tantalizingly close you could taste victory. And then stupid Shaun Suisham just had to put it through the uprights so that the Browns could start out their season just like they do every year, with a nice big “L” on the tables. At least they gave us a little something to believe in, although with injuries to Jordan Cameron and Ben Tate, it will be interesting to see how the Browns come out next week…

Speaking of which, I unfortunately cannot find myself able to imagine a scenario in which the Browns come out on top in this game. The Saints are always good with Drew Brees at the helm, and this year that won’t be any different. If the Browns come out like they did in the first half of Week 1, this Sunday (at 1:00 pm EST) is going to be very painful to watch. If they play like they did in the second half though, then we might have ourselves a game. But I don’t see the Browns being able to maintain that level of play for the whole game, definitely against a team as talented as the Saints. My prediction: Saints 31 – Browns 17

Now, to move away from the games themselves, there has been some interesting (although somewhat horrendous) stuff happening with relation to the NFL over the past couple of days. First off, let me just mention the whole Ray Rice thing; a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how it was idiocy that Rice got off with a mere two game suspension while Josh Gordon got slammed with an indefinite ban. The result of those actions was that I was disgusted with the NFL and Roger Goodell. Well this week the video of Rice actually hitting his then-fiancée-now-wife and knocking her unconscious surfaced. (For those of you who haven’t seen it…well I just don’t know what to say to you. If you are into football enough to be following this website and reading this post, then you definitely should’ve seen this video by now. But you know, if you haven’t, or if you want to watch it again for some sick reason, then go ahead and click here). Logically, he was dropped by the Ravens and then suspended indefinitely, leading me to feel even more disgusted with Goodell and the league. Sure, they did the right thing, but they did it much too late. Whether or not Goodell had prior knowledge of the elevator video, the league should’ve done a much more thorough job looking into this incident. To misjudge something this badly, to get something as wrong as they originally did, reflects very poorly upon the league itself as well as those that are part of the league. I’m not sure that it would be correct for Goodell to step down immediately, but I think it is fair to say that he should no longer be in control of this league when the 2015 season begins a year from now. It is time for the NFL to start searching for a new commissioner.

In better news, everyone’s favorite car salesman may be coming back. The NFLPA was scheduled to vote on a new drug policy on Tuesday, however, due to an overloaded plate, they had to postpone the vote. Under the new drug policy, the threshold for a positive marijuana test would jump from the current 15 ng/ml to around 50 ng/ml, meaning Josh Gordon, who registered 16 ng/ml, would not have failed his test. Which means that theoretically he could be reinstated almost immediately. But this is where it gets complicated. When this policy is passed (or if I guess, although I’m expecting that it will), the NFLPA has four options in regards to players currently suspended. The first is for them to immediately reinstate all players who are currently suspended under the current policy but who would not be under the new policy. That would include about 20 players, including Wes Welker and our beloved Gordon. But it would also open up the door for players who were suspended a few years ago to try and work their way back into the league, and that could potentially complicated, making this option unlikely. The other unlikely option is to choose not to reinstate anybody, letting all players currently suspended ride out their suspension. With both of those options improbable, it leaves two real options. One, they reassess all suspensions related to drug violations for the 2014 league year, or two, they reassess all suspensions for drug violations during the 2014 league year. Very similar, but at the same time extremely different. The former would allow for the reinstatement of Josh Gordon, as his suspension wasn’t doled out until part way through the 2014 league year (which started last March for those of you who were interested). The latter wouldn’t allow for the reinstatement of Josh Gordon, as his violation occurred in February, meaning it occurred in the 2013 football year. Make sense?

What it essentially comes down to is that there remains a slim possibility that we will see Josh Gordon on the field for the Cleveland Browns before the end of this season, which would, of course, be a game changer. I’m going to remain hopeful. With the incompetence in the NFL right now, pretty much anything could happen.

Goodell’s Key’s To the Game: Survive and Advance

First, let me say this; I don’t support, condone, whatever domestic violence. People in families get into arguments all the time, but spitting and punching each other isn’t the way to solve it. All of us gotten into some type of disagreement with others in our house at some point, and handling it is always a question of contention among many people.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been under serious pressure since the video of the Ray Rice incident became public Monday. Since that time, the Associated Press discovered that the video had indeed been delivered to NFL offices. Many assume that Goodell has seen the video, and some are giving him the benefit of the doubt. The truth is, none of us really know if he’s seen the video. Goodell has made it well known that he hasn’t seen the video. I’m not sure if you believe him, but I do.

Many of you, which means most, have decided that Roger Goodell needs to resign. I don’t believe that’s necessary. I think Goodell has enough goodwill built up with his bosses, who are the owners, and their sponsors to where he can survive this public relations disaster.

Goodell, Rice, and the Baltimore Ravens front office likely operated under the assumption the video would never leak. Had this been two or three years ago, that probably would have been a smart bet. In 2014, when TMZ is the new Deadspin, it wasn’t a smart bet.

Today is Thursday. The NFL, thankfully, has a game tonight. Except tonight’s game features the Baltimore Ravens. I don’t expect to see Goodell in Baltimore or anywhere else for the next few weeks, but if he can survive this storm through Sunday, he’ll be able to advance to next week.

Survive and advance

That term doesn’t only apply to March Madness, but applies to corporate leadership as well. Many have said and tweeted that Goodell needs to lead, and not consult with public relations people before making decision. The reality is, consulting with people is exactly what ALL leaders do. They take advice from many of their trusted advisors, take a look at the tea leaves and make decisions. Sometimes those decisions aren’t right. In retrospect, Goodell should have suspended Ray Rice for more than two games, but if he really hadn’t seen the video, what could he have gone on?

The Ravens and the league spoke with Rice, and based on everything we know, Rice was very detailed in his explanation for what happened. So detailed, in fact, that the Ravens admit that what he said is almost exactly what we saw on the video tape.

So, why the outrage?

The outrage is simple, people don’t get nearly as upset about things they don’t see. When Rice and his then-fiance had a presser months ago, the domestic violent people – correctly, I might add – suggested that she was protecting Rice. The rest of us thought maybe it wasn’t as bad as we heard it was. Then we saw the tape, and everything changed.

So, if you were in Goodell’s place what would you have done? Is two games enough of a suspension? Probably not. Is a lifetime banishment the way to go, of course not. Men and women are involved in domestic situations every day in this country. If each of those people were fired from their jobs and told they could never work again, where would this country be?

So again, I ask, what would you do if you were Goodell?

Does Roger Need To Go?

So bad at her last two jobs she deserves another high profile job.

Roger Goodell will no doubt be reprimanded for his poor decision by his corporate overlords, just like the rest of us are when we make mistakes. That punishment, to the detriment of the public, won’t be publicized, but if it’s taking part of his $35 million dollar salary, or reducing the use of the league jet, or making him drive himself around, don’t think he won’t be punished. Do you really thing termination is the solution for all missteps by leaders? I certainly don’t.

If Goodell is removed and you insert someone else, how do you know they wouldn’t have made a worse decision? Who’s a good replacement for Goodell? Condoleeza Rice? Based on what? Many say she helped take America into a war based on terrible intelligence, and now you want her to replace a guy who forgot to hit the play button on his in-office VCR?

Oh. OK.

The solution to this problem isn’t easy, but I know this, no matter if Goodell stays or goes, the overwhelming majority of you will be watching on Sunday. Your football Sundays are the most important 16 days of your lives. There’s nothing wrong with that, but as long as Goodell survives until Sunday, I expect he’ll advance through this crisis and move on to the next one.

What do you think? Should Roger Goodell resign? If so, who’s a great replacement? Leave a comment below or e-mail me at [email protected].

Photos: Flickr

I Hate Everything

Well, they did it. The NFL finally denied Josh Gordon’s appeal, thus confirming that he will be suspended for the entire season and that the Browns will be without their most talented player. When the story first broke Wednesday morning I was sitting at work and flipping back and forth between radio stations. As I heard the breaking news sounder and listened to the words of Gordon’s statement slowly flow out of my headphones, I found myself completely dejected. Every ounce of hope that had built up as the process dragged on for months and months instantly evaporated.

It was probably stupid of me to have gotten my hopes up at all. But I did. And they were blown to pieces by the NFL. After the initial wave of depression had subsided, I began to feel something different. Anger. I grew more and more furious as I sat there and listened to call after call and update after update about the suspension. And I wasn’t just mad at the NFL. Sure, they were probably getting the majority of it, but I was upset with the entire situation and with everyone involved.

That was Wednesday. I basically hated everyone and everything. I was channeling my inner angst filled 13 year old. Twenty four hours have passed and that anger has mostly subsided. Now I’m just kind of baffled by the absurdity of the NFL and the ridiculousness of all of their policies and procedures. First off, why did the appeal process last deep into the preseason? Why did the Browns have to wait until after the third game before a ruling finally came down? The failed test occurred over three months ago. There is absolutely no reason that it should have dragged into training camp at all, let alone the week before the regular season starts. Going by the letter of the law, Gordon won’t even be able to apply for reinstatement until this same time next year. That would essentially mean that he would not only lose this year, he would also lose the vast majority of next year’s preseason which would obviously have a huge negative impact on that season.

With regards to that point, the NFL actually did something that is quite curious. They stated that they would look at Gordon’s case once the season ends and indications were that they would potentially consider reinstatement at that time. That opens up a whole new can of frustrating worms for me. The league wouldn’t bend an inch on the punishment because Gordon was in stage three and he exceeded the insanely low threshold that the NFL has established. They were basically saying that nothing mattered besides the policy as it is written. And at the exact same time they were laying down this edict, they made note that they would consider bending the punishment as it is written in the CBA. The hypocrisy is almost enough to make my hair fall out. Sorry, we can’t do anything for you. You’re in stage three and you barely exceeded are insanely stupid threshold for pot. The CBA says we have to suspend you indefinitely for at least a year. But we’re also going to maybe amend this set in stone punishment in a few months. Stay tuned.

That also reminds me, the hierarchy of punishments in the NFL is almost beyond comprehension. One could theoretically be in a room with someone else smoking marijuana three separate times and end up being suspended indefinitely for at least a season. That same person could have theoretically beat up their wife and dragged her unconscious body out of, say, an elevator and they would receive a fraction of that punishment. Hell, Donte Stallworth got behind the wheel of a car intoxicated, killed a person, and his punishment was not as severe as what is laid out in the CBA for someone failing a drug test three times. How can the most popular and powerful sports league in the country have this be the case?

And don’t hide behind the fact that it’s in the CBA. Don’t use the cop out that the players agreed to this. The league put forth all of these programs and punishments, even though they don’t really make sense for anyone. Just because something is in the CBA doesn’t mean that it is right and it doesn’t mean that the commissioner can’t exercise discretion when he sees fit. He’s actually done just that his entire time in charge. There are countless examples. This is an instance where that kind of discretion would have made sense and it also would provide a golden opportunity for the league to sit down with the union and get this whole system fixed.

The CBA, after all, is just a really detailed contract. Contracts are things that are made by humans and, thus, are able to be changed by humans. Roger Goodell didn’t come down from some mountain top with the collective bargaining agreement chiseled into stone tablets. Saying that’s it’s just too bad for Josh Gordon because this policy is in the CBA is akin to the that’s the way we’ve always done it argument. Also known as the worst reasoning for anything ever.

Now, is Josh Gordon ultimately at fault here? Of course he is. Of course he made the decisions up to this point in his life that have gotten him, and all of us, where we are now. And believe me some of my anger was directed at him as I was fuming Wednesday afternoon. But the NFL and its broken system are what we should all be really fired up about. This is a league that is out of touch and a league that continues to make questionable decisions in all facets of its business. Nothing is going to change if we all just sit back and shrug everything off.

I’m glad I took a day to cool off. Had I wrote this a few hours after the Gordon appeal was denied I probably would have used a much more colorful set of words throughout this article. No, I’m glad I waited. I could probably write twenty thousand words on my dissatisfaction with Roger Goodell and the NFL, but no one wants to read that. Not even me. And for all of my discontent with the league, there is no question that I am an unabashed addict when it comes to their product.

You don’t have to look any farther than the fact that right now I’m watching Rex Grossman throw to Willie Snead in the third quarter of the last preseason game. I’m hooked. But at some point the NFL has to start doing better where it counts. Josh Gordon’s life could potentially be ruined and my favorite football is going to be without a young superstar all because one sample was tested before another one. What amounts to a simple flip of a coin set in motion a series of events that could destroy a person’s life. After that person passed dozens upon dozens upon dozens of tests. And that person probably didn’t even smoke pot. The thing that you would imagine the policy is actually trying to police. The whole thing is just mind numbing. Here’s hoping the NFL gets this message. I’m not holding my breath. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. They just put Connor Shaw in the game.