Roger Goodell is discovering that while being the commish pays well, it brings problems. He started well. His first appearance in the job was the 2007 NFL draft, shortly after the mass murder at Virginia Tech, so he picked maybe Virginia Tech’s greatest player ever to announce his team’s selection. If you wanted to say Goodell was snakebit, you could say it started there: The player in question was Michael Vick, who was arrested shortly thereafter for running dog fights, a crime that disgusted most of the nation. A big part of the commissioner’s job is to enforce the Player Conduct Policy, which says that players whose conduct offends the public enough must be punished by the league, and so Vick was suspended. That wasn’t controversial, but since then he’s had problems.
They say if you do it on the field, you get paid, and if you do off the field, you get arrested, but there’s one kind of the off-the-field violence that doesn’t lead to enough arrests. NFL players rank up there with peace officers in the incidence of domestic violence, but for years the NFL didn’t care about that. As the culture in general has gotten smarter about that sort of thing, the league has followed in its wake, and when Ray Rice had the misfortune to do his domestic violence in front of a security camera, he was suspended and has been a pariah ever since. Less reasonably, the league proudly enforces the Nacirema’s tribal taboo against marijuana, and we have been deprived of the pleasure of watching Josh Gordon for almost three years because he is ritually unclean, as we lost years of watching Ricky Williams.
And now we have the Kaepernick mess. Owners could reasonably point out that any team signing Kaepernick will win the enmity of vast herds of flag-kissing morons, but perhaps the owners are themselves flag-kissing morons. One candidate is Houston Texans’ owner Bob McNair, who got caught saying in outside voice that letting the players have a voice in how the game is run is like letting the prisoners run the jail. (Great schadenfreude: The Texans just lost their quarterback and now desperately need Colin Kapernick.) The whole mess could cost Goodell his job.
Roger Goodell’s father, Charles Goodell, belonged to an extinct species. He was a liberal Republican. As his son would, he paid the price for belonging to an organization owned by rich assholes. As a senator, he was considered a Republican In Name Only, and the party ran a Republican in everything but name and chased him out of the Senate. Liberal Republicans roamed the Earth in those days. Just in New York, we had Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, Kenneth Keating, John Lindsay….They’re all dead now, and the Republican Party wouldn’t have any of them back. They have purged the liberals.
There was an election yesterday. Republicans lost all over the place, including to a transsexual and a socialist, because, in purifying the party, they gave themselves the face of Donald Trump.