Don’t you hate it when a self-righteous pundit gets in front of a camera and says to someone in power, “Sir or Madam, if you have any decency, you would resign?”
Well, allow me to join their ranks. The person in power I’m addressing—the person I am asking to break out the want-ads and find new work, is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Dear Mr. Goodell:
It’s me …. Dave.
After the scandal-plagued year that the league just suffered through, when everyone from Bob Costas to the folks in Vegas assumed you’d be fired, it would be better for all of us, if you just resign.
No amount of spin, no number of media sycophants rushing to your defense, no series of public service announcements featuring NFL players saying “NO MORE,” can hide a very simple fact: 55 times since you became commissioner in 2006, a player in “your” league was arrested for domestic violence, and 55 times you did next to nothing. If not for a certain leaked videotape, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice would have been number 56.
When you wipe away the lawyer-speak about whether you saw the tape or didn’t see the tape or didn’t not see the tape—the fact remains that you are now connected to dozens of cases where a woman or child was beaten by one of your employees. Not only have I seen you do next to nothing to curb this problem, you also have chosen to “say” next to nothing about the probable links between head injuries, the violence on the field, and the violence that can visit the families of NFL players.
Yes, the overwhelming number of players do not take part in violence against women and yes domestic violence exists in many families where head injuries are not an issue. But the connection is still real and the league has done nothing—zero—that I can find to educate NFL families on looking for the warning signs.
Yet you continue to praise your league—and really yourself—for making domestic violence “part of the national conversation.” This is outrageous. Kind of like praising Goldman Sachs for making corporate greed part of the national conversation.
Maybe that’s why Miko Grimes, the wife of Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes, basically broke twitter last week with a too profane for tv rant against your league. Well I am going to read some of her tweets anyway.
Ms Grimes said, “The NFL is the BLEEPIEST, SHADIEST, DISRESPECTFUL professional sport in the WORLD and as long as i breathe air, I will talk bleep about em! You have these BULLBLEEP ass NOMORE campaigns going on about domestic violence and sexual assault when we all know u don’t GAF about women! I have friends that were beaten, thrown down stairs WHILE PREGNANT, guys arrested, & the NFL suspended them ONE BLEEPING GAME! Now yall care? Ray Rice clocked his now wife on camera. Then all of a sudden NOMORE? GET THE BLEEP OUTTA HERE NFL!!!! I’m not being quiet about this bullbleep NOMORE!!”
Miko Grimes is right – and clear. No one should be quiet about this.
If nothing else this last year, we have all learned that the continued profitability of the league means that NFL owners will protect and defend you no matter the moral cost. BE better than your employers, Mr. Goodell. Show the country that despite all popular opinion to the contrary, there is such a thing as shame in this world.
SAY that the league needs to get serious in how it discusses domestic violence and head injuries; that the league needs to work in partnership with the Players’ Association to figure out a new approach rooted in educating current players and caring for those who have retired … Make clear that your resignation is a precondition for making this new partnership a reality.
And MOST OF ALL be honest in your resignation speech that when it comes to issues of violence against women and head injuries you have been profoundly ignorant. Be honest that your now damning quote when punishing the New Orleans Saints that “ignorance is no excuse,” should apply to you as well… and then go out and find a new job. I would recommend seeking work at the Walter Reed hospital ward that deals with traumatic brain injuries. If the tragedy of your tenure as commissioner has been ignorance, I guarantee that will clear it up mighty quick.”