There is no question that the NFL has become the new ‘national pastime.’ It has more viewership and makes more money than any other professional sport. Now it begins on Thursday night, and ends on Monday evening. There is a growing majority who believe it is ‘oversaturating’ television. Another problem exists which is undermining the very game itself; the Commissioner and referees have become dictators in American Sports.
Due to recent revelations about the mishandling and misdirection regarding domestic violence issues and NFL players, one change is obvious and necessary; Commissioner Roger Goodell has too much power and abuses it. He is paid by the owners and aligns himself with their issues and those alone. The Commissioner’s office is intended to be the organization which ensures the integrity and success of the league. Under Goodell’s dictatorship, it has declined in all matters with the exception of profit.
Prior to the Ray Rice debacle, Goodell was frequently criticized for unequal punishment issued to players who violated the league’s misconduct code. Appeals by individual players ‘fell on deaf ears,’ and Goodell was allowed to continue his misuse of power. When he claimed ignorance during the Rice incident, he violated his own claim that ‘ignorance is not an excuse’ when Sean Payton was banned from the NFL for an entire season.
In 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the first six games of the season; it was eventually reduced to four. ‘Big Ben’ had been accused of sexual assault, but the district attorney in Georgia never brought the case to trial.
Recently several key players have been accused of domestic violence or sexual misconduct and they are allowed to play the next Sunday. Owners told the media that until the player is tried and convicted he will be allowed to play. His inconsistency is unforgiveable.
NFL referees have a difficult job. The game is fast, and their view of what actually occurs on the field can be obstructed. However, when they are staring at a play and make the wrong call, something has to be done. When a play is reviewed, and the incorrect call is made, it requires severe punishment by the league office; that never happens.
An NFL team plays 16 regular season games. One blatantly bad call or non-call can change the future of a team. One call may have cost a team a Super Bowl win, and one non-call kept a team out of the playoffs in recent years.
Honest mistakes are made, and that’s to be expected. When some games have a series of bad calls, and the game is slanted towards their opponent’s favor punishment should be the norm after the game is reviewed. It has never happened, and likely never will.
In fact, Goodell is so protective of his referees that making a derogatory comment about the officials by coaches or players results in an automatic fine. This is standard practice in the dictatorial world of Roger Goodell. His authority is passed onto the referees and is evidential of the inequality between management and players.
Goodell has served his purpose and his time is up. There is no room for dictators in American Sports.