Roger Goodell Thinks You’re Stupid
It has not been a banner few weeks for the National Football League. I should feel compelled to write about the Bills starting 2-0 after being purchased by a local owner, determined to keep the beloved small-market team in the market that loves it so. I should want to write about how dumb Lovie Smith was for thinking Josh McCown was a viable starting quarterback, or the Chargers beating the Seahawks, or how the Cowboys defense has been so much better than that collection of players has any business being. It isn’t as though these have been two boring weeks on the field. Even so, the first two weeks of the NFL’s 2014 season have been defined by stories of domestic abuse and the appropriateness of corporal punishment. I did not think it was possible for the return of America’s favorite sport to take a backseat to other stories in the sports scene, but that’s exactly what has happened.
Fortunately, Roger Goodell is on the job (said no one ever). And his solution to the NFL’s current image problem is to send every player to seminar programs on domestic violence, presumably during the upcoming offseason and possibly future offseasons: another completely empty gesture that accomplishes nothing, being done exclusively for appearances. Wonderful. Goodell’s inexcusable job performance over the last month is well-documented, perhaps overly so, so let’s focus on this particular course of action, unveiled at a press conference after a week of hiding, where every word was carefully selected and every question balletically tip-toed around. There is no argument to be made in favor of this seminar.
Why shouldn’t the players learn about domestic abuse?
By suspending Ray Rice for an incredibly lenient two games, Roger Goodell displayed a staggering lack of awareness with regard to everything about domestic violence. It seems like HE is the one who has a thing or two to learn on domestic violence. He’s sending the players to learn about it instead. What a message to send to the Union you’re going to be negotiating with in the future: If I fuck the dog, YOU are going to be the ones who end up making it right. “Why not?” is not a good enough reason when you’re starting from that position.
By learning about domestic violence, players will be less likely to abuse their spouse/fiance/girlfriend.
This argument is complete bullshit that’s based on the premise that hitting your partner is a reasoned choice.
All couples argue. The Ray Rice incident in Atlantic City is an example of what happens when an argument becomes a fight. Not all couples fight, and whether or not they do is based on how violent either or both involved parties are. That doesn’t excuse or diminish anything he did. Nothing that happens in a domestic abuse seminar is going to curb anyone’s violent tendencies. That’s the type of thing that requires years of therapy.
I would guess that a large majority of NFL players would never escalate an argument with a loved one to the point of physical blows. For those players, this seminar is a complete waste of time and energy. And for those like Ray Rice who clearly would, this seminar is not going to stop them from doing it, making it a complete waste of time and energy for them as well. Let me explain.
When Ray Rice knocked his fiancé unconscious, I don’t think he was thinking clearly. I think that he has certain violent tendencies and that he snapped. In future tense moments, and they will happen, no person capable of domestic abuse is going to have the presence of mind to summon what they learned in a seminar. They’re going to see red and they’re going to lose it.
This seminar is not going to protect future victims. It’s just Goodell’s way of trying to make you believe that he “gets it,” or that the League is “getting its house in order.” Don’t buy it.
We’re bringing awareness to the issue:
Again, we are so aware of domestic violence that a suspended, past-his-peak running back on an average team has upstaged the first two weeks of the season.
A United States Women’s National Soccer Team friendly match against Mexico generated headlines because of Hope Solo and the domestic violence case that was so un-talked about that everyone had to talk about it immediately.
Even casual fans now know the names of Greg Hardy and Jonathan Dwyer.
One of the League’s marquee players is on indefinite suspension because “if hitting your spouse is so inexcusable, what makes hitting your child any different?”
Awareness has been brought. We have been made aware. All the NFL is hoping to do with this seminar is make you feel less aware of its own incompetence.
During Goodell’s tenure as Commissioner, my NFL fandom has changed. It has grown in scope thanks to fantasy football, and in passion as I’ve invested more time and energy into my team. As my fandom has grown, I have become more aware of this sport’s incredible ability to completely maim those who play it, and its League’s tendency to look the other way on performance-enhancing substances that exacerbate its potential to do so. I’ve seen the League stand by Daniel Snyder as he wages a campaign to insist that a catch-all term for a non-white race of people chosen by George Preston Marshall — a despicable pig of a man who was an openly racist, avowed supporter of segregation with an affinity for minstrel shows — was ever intended with honor or respect. I’ve seen Goodell mock sincerity by claiming to care about player safety. This, while John Abraham is being allowed to return to football after another concussion the season after essentially saying, “I am losing my memory. Pieces of my brain are GONE.”
I love football and I love following the NFL. Those 17 football sundays of the regular season are 17 of my favorite days of the year. And it is getting harder and harder to ignore the feeling that Roger Goodell’s continued status as Commissioner demands that I suspend my values to take enjoyment in watching. And now, by suggesting that Step 1 in “getting our house in order” is sending every player to a domestic abuse seminar, the Ginger Hammer is asking me to suspend my intelligence as well.
I hope no one falls for it. I hope no one believes that this in any way makes up for the Catastrofuck that has been his complete mismanagement of ALL of the League’s current image issues. This seminar is a non-idea from a non-idea, empty suit of a league commissioner. If Roger Goodell really cares about “protecting the shield” and “getting [the NFL’s] house in order” then his next course of action should be obvious: get as far away from the house as possible.