The Commissioner and the League Office want the issue of domestic violence to disappear. They have used time and silence to divert attention from obvious lies and misconduct by the Commissioner and the owner of the Baltimore Ravens.
Let there be no misunderstanding about the reality of the NFL. For fans, it is the greatest game in sports. For the owners, it is one of the most profitable corporate entities in the United States. Is there a conspiracy by the owners and Goodell to ‘sweep the issue of domestic violence under the rug?’ There is no doubt about it.
Time heals all wounds, and time erases memory. Sports writers must keep certain critical issues alive. Goodell cannot be allowed to sweep the truth under a rug. His prejudicial punishments and disregard for NFL players will eventually be his downfall. His denial of his cover-up of the Ray Rice incident cannot be minimized or even ignored, and should be the reason for the end of his dictatorship.
There has been a division between the league office and players for some time; this issue has widened the gap. Many of the young men who play professional football have wives and children; all of them have mothers and possibly sisters. This issue is important to them.
The issue is important to the owners as well, but for another reason; losing key players can bring a losing season and cost them money.
This may be repetitive, but it’s important, and it cannot be ignored.
Too much emphasis has been placed on the second video from the elevator in Atlantic City; who saw it, and when. Steve Bisciotti, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens petitioned Commissioner Roger Goodell to be lenient in disciplining Ray Rice after a video was released revealing an unconscious Janay Palmer being dragged from a casino elevator in Atlantic City. Rice received a two game suspension; if he had failed a drug test, he would have been out for at least three games.
The fact is, what did they think happened in that elevator? Did Ms. Palmer decide to take a nap? Did she slip and hit her head? Ray Rice himself told Goodell that he struck her. Two things are evident; Goodell didn’t believe domestic violence was a serious issue; and both Bisciotti and Goodell lied.
Goodell had the unmitigated gall to feign ignorance about the actual events inside the elevator. Sources say he is lying. The owners don’t want to lose him; he has helped to make them record breaking profits. The players, not so much. His time is up; he’s bad for players, and bad for the NFL brand.
Bisciotti says he is hurt by the ESPN article which unveiled the facts of the incident; he felt his integrity was being attacked. Something cannot be attacked if it doesn’t exist.
And Goodell is entirely untrustworthy. The second tape was delivered to his office long before all the details were released to the public.
Neither of these men have been given press time in the last couple of weeks. They are using time and silence to divert attention from their lies and misconduct. All writers and broadcasters who care about the NFL must keep this issue alive and in the public eye. Integrity must be restored to the game and to the league office.
Commentary by James Turnage