There are times, in business and in life, where the ‘writing is on the wall’, so to speak. Where it become painfully obvious, to both those in the middle and completely outside of a situation, that something drastic needs to change. That things cannot simply continue to go forth as they have. That doing anything other than a dramatic shift would likely be catastrophic for all involved.
Unfortunately, for everyone, the situation with Roger Goodell and the NFL has not reached that breaking point. And, likely, it never will.
Which is why, for the sake of public perception and plain ol’-fashioned ethics, our only hope is that Roger Goodell will retire on his own.
See, even though he damn well deserves to be forced out as NFL Commissioner, that’s infinitely unlikely to happen. Morals and decency be dammed, by all means– money is what talks. And, at least so far, the money isn’t going anywhere.
None of the league’s major sponsors- Ford, Anheuser-Busch, Nike, etc -have said they will pull ads due to the NFL’s flub of the Ray Rice incident (ICYMI, I’m not going to recap here, but go ahead, do a quick Google search. We’ll wait for you to catch up). And, unless that highly-unprobable event were to occur, and unless the NFL saw a decrease in stadium attendance or TV ratings (which, again, is unlikely), than Roger Goodell won’t be resigning at any point in the foreseeable future.
You see, the NFL is profitable. Extremely profitable. And, under Goodell, that’s become more & more true in recent years.
NFL revenues jumped over a billion dollars between 2008-2010, with the average franchise worth, according to Forbes, an average of $1.4 billion each (which just so happened to be the exact recent selling price of the Buffalo Bills). According to an article on Boston.com, 34 of the 35 most watched television programs last Fall were NFL games. The game has enjoyed growing popularity in London, with the country now playing host to 3 regular-season games, up from just two last year. And, given a new stadium, a resurrected team in LA would mean exponential immediate revenue growth for the league.
Never mind that, also under Goodell’s leadership, the NFL faced a lock-out in 2011. Never mind that former players are dying, either “naturally” or because of suicide, as a result of severe concussion injuries received during their playing days. Never mind that the Saints’ punishment for “BountyGate” was more severe than Rice’s initial 2-game slap (and, don’t harp on that whole “entire season suspension for Josh Gordon’s recreational pot use” thing, either). Never mind that Goodell, who earns an estimated $85 million/year, either outright lied about not seeing the full Rice tape, or didn’t choose to watch it so he’d have “plausible deniability” later on.
Nope, don’t think about any of those things– because, the owners sure aren’t. And neither are Fox, CBS, NBC, or ESPN, frankly. They’re too busy to concern themselves with any of this– I mean, there’s money to be counted!, after all.
As football fans (many of which are female, in case you didn’t realize), there’s not much recourse for us here. We’ll still watch the games (after all, our favorite players didn’t go full-on UFC title bout on their fiancees; at least, as far as we know) because we’re fans, and, because, it’s not really fair to deprive us of our enjoyment, just because of the actions of a few others. And, yes, some of us might even feel guilty about cheering on our favorite NFL teams, for a week at least, but that doesn’t really change anything in the long-run.
No, none of our actions could make much of an impact on the sorry state of NFL ethics. But, if nothing else, Roger Goodell could do the right thing, and just resign. It’ll be better for everyone that way, and maybe, just maybe, the NFL could start over, with a new leader that is willing to take a firm stance on kind-of-important issues such as illegal & immoral behavior and player safety; which, you know, are kind of a big deal.
Or, at least, you’d think they would be.