Rice Wins Appeal; Could Be Bad News for Goodell

Rice
Rice
Ray Rice can play football again but we know it won't be with the Ravens. Will it be anyone for that matter?

In a relatively unsurprising decision, Ray Rice has been reinstated and can be signed by any team. Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones heard the appeal and released the decision yesterday. The following are excepts from her statement:

“In this arbitration, the NFL argues that Commissioner Goodell was misled when he disciplined Rice the first time. Because, after careful consideration of all of the evidence, I am not persuaded that Rice lied to, or misled, the NFL at his June interview, I find that the indefinite suspension was an abuse of discretion and must be vacated,” Jones’ decision stated.

“I find that the NFLPA carried its burden of showing that Rice did not mislead the Commissioner at the June 16th meeting, and therefore, that the imposition of a second suspension based on the same incident and the same known facts about the incident, was arbitrary,” Jones also wrote.

“The Commissioner needed to be fair and consistent in his imposition of discipline.”

Jones went on to essentially say that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell abused power and was reckless in his laying of it. This is exactly what the NFLPA has been arguing all along not just in this case but in several other disciplinary situations.

Goodell
Perhaps the take-down by US District Judge Barbara S. Jones will finally force Goodell to give up some power.

Goodell was brought in as commissioner with great fanfare because he was going to be the guy to “clean up the league.” We can point to some areas where he has but largely we can point to case upon case where his subjective and biased rule has been the norm.

The decision by Jones to reinstate Rice is the correct one. The league office has already accepted it; knowing that it’s binding there isn’t much area for recourse. This won’t end with Jones’ decision however.

What Jones implies in her findings is that someone isn’t telling the truth and that “someone” has to be Goodell and the NFL. Rice and his now-wife Janay have stuck to their story since the beginning and, according to Jones, it has been the NFL, Goodell and potentially the Ravens who have been talking from both sides of their mouths.

For her part, Janay Rice spoke with ESPN’s Jemele Hill and these were her first actual comments to the press. I find Hill getting the story to be odd since she has had a subjective look on athletes and their off-field problems since day one but that’s for another article.

What I took from this interview was that I don’t believe we are getting the truth and that’s fine as long as nothing ever happens again. Mrs. Rice explained what happened in the elevator and the comment about “as soon as Ray looked at his phone he spit at me and slapped me” speaks volumes to me. She claims she doesn’t know what they had been bickering about but remembers the phone coming out.

Nothing makes a woman more upset then when a man starts looking at his phone during an argument.

The other thing she says that concerns me is that “this was the only time he’s ever done this.” I call BS on that and if I’m wrong I’ll gladly eat crow but you just don’t defend someone so quickly who knocks you cold without something similar having happened previously. This is just my opinion but I’ve been on the planet long enough to see how these things work.

My gut feeling is that Rice will not get picked up this season simply because of the sideshow that will follow. I do think he’ll get a shot at training camps next summer but whether he joins a team or not I don’t know. What I do know is that Roger Goodell isn’t out of the woods just yet on this matter.

It’s Time to Talk Frankly About the NFL

Peterson
Peterson
It's doubtful we'll see Adrian Peterson in a uniform anytime soon.

The National Football League is wreck. It’s product on the field is under question more than at any time in my 40 plus years on this Earth and off the field it’s an even bigger mess.

Roger Goodell once again is wielding his fist of iron when it comes to discipline.Yesterday Commissioner Roger Goodell officially suspended Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson for the remainder of the season. This wasn’t a huge surprise except for the fact that Peterson and the National Football League Players’ Association believed what they were told. NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith claims that Peterson was told by someone in the league office that his current suspension would be rendered as “time served.”

Clearly someone didn’t get the memo. Lost in this is the fact that we wouldn’t be here had Peterson not “disciplined” his four-year old with a switch.

What we as fans forget is that professional football is a collection of a couple of thousand men from over 100 million here in America. Factor in also that the majority of these players come from circumstances where things that are accepted there aren’t by the larger society as a whole.

We’ve seen a massive demographic shift in the type of players that the NFL chooses to employ. I don’t necessarily blame this all on the NFL either. Players come from the collegiate ranks and there was a time when those players actually put their academics ahead of any realistic thoughts of playing professional football.

In fact, an education was a necessity because pro football was only a six-month commitment. Players would finish the season and then head home to real jobs. Those days are gone if you hadn’t noticed.

It’s no longer about finding the most hard-working guy it’s about finding the most talented guy. Teams are willing to live with the ups and downs of potential problem players if it means they bring in dollars and championships. It’s this way across the sports spectrum in North America and football is just the ringleader.

When fans decide they’ve had enough and will no longer support teams that employ the Ray Rice’s and Greg Hardy’s of the NFL then maybe things will change but that time is unlikely to come. For Americans, college and pro football is basically what watching gladiators was to the Ancient Romans.

We love the violence and we love the drama and now we are willing to live with what happens off of the field too. Players are essentially nothing more than rentals now with the average career span being roughly three years. Much like the gladiator, the longer they can survive the better life will be for them.

The NFL and its’ players are under fire from each other and they are under fire from dozens of other entities as well. You need to look no further than the huge amount of attention paid to the recent World Cup as evidence of our nation’s moral compass being challenged. While Goodell makes the game of football softer and more tolerable to people in other countries, traditionalists like myself are left to watch the game we love become a shell of its’ former self .

Both the players and the league share equal blame in allowing the sport at the professional level to become corrupted and the college level is no better. Look no further again than what goes on at major universities all the time in terms of preferential treatment and the dismissing of poor behavior.

In many ways it really does get these young men ready for the pros where they are again coddled and given all the opportunities in the world to screw up and then when they do they are given passes.

My rant does not mean to poke a finger at every NFL player because there are many, many great men who do things the right way but sadly they are not what the public wants to hear about. A dramatic, dirty story is more enticing so why should we be surprised by the narrative playing out in the NFL today?

Embrace J.J. Watt in a Time Where Others Are Embarrassing the NFL

Watt
Watt
J.J. Watt is having a season for the ages. We all need to be paying attention.

I wasn’t one bit surprised to hear some fans of the National Football League actually complaining about how much attention Houston Texans’ defensive lineman J.J. Watt has been getting. Fans by nature get tired of feel-good stories long before they tire of dramatic or controversy-filled ones.

I guess this is just how we are wired because it isn’t any different in the larger society is it? For every piece of good news there are the Ray Rice’s and Kim Kardashian’s of the world who demand our attention.

My message to those who are tired of hearing about and seeing J.J. Watt on all kinds of commercials is this; Shut up!

This guy scored his third touchdown in as many games Thursday night and just in case you forgot, he plays on defense! Watt has more touchdowns right now than Calvin Johnson does. He has more touchdowns than Roddy White does. He also has more TDs than DeSean Jackson or A.J. Green as well.

But you’re tired of hearing about him and seeing him on television all the time huh?

Peterson
We need to be less interested in Peterson and more interested in players doing the right things.

You obviously want more coverage of Ray Rice knocking his wife out cold in an elevator. Perhaps you need to hear more about Adrian Peterson telling a court official that he got high just before his first court appearance for abusing his child with a tree branch.

Right now, Watt could probably miss the remainder of the season and still win defensive player of the year honors. Furthermore, if he continues on his torrid pace, there’s a good chance that he could be deemed the most valuable player in the entire NFL.

Only two other defensive players have ever won the award and they would be Lawrence Taylor and Alan Page. There will certainly be calls for quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers to win the award and both are having good seasons, but what Watt is doing right now is as dominant as anything anyone in the NFL is doing.

The other reason you shouldn’t be tired of Watt is that he’s a quality individual. He’s active in the Houston community and rarely turns down an opportunity to do things with or for kids. He’s not afraid to make fun of himself either as he does in commercials for any number of advertisers recently.

This is a time where we as fans should be embracing a guy like Watt rather than “tiring of him.” We should be making more out of guys who take time out of their Tuesday off-days to spend time doing charitable works but we don’t. We’d rather hear salacious stories of what guys are doing wrong.

I’m not a Texans’ fan in any way, shape or form but I’m a J.J. Watt fan and you should be too.

Sparano Buries the Past

In case you missed it this past week, new Oakland Raiders’ Head Coach Tony Sparano’s first act as the new leader was to gather the team at the far end of the practice for a meeting. Upon their arrival, the team found a small hole dug and a shovel.

Sparano took the shovel and announced that he was burying the first four games of the season. He then invited each and every member of the team to drop some dirt in the hole.

I’ve seen and heard of this type of thing before and frankly if I were Sparano I’d be looking for some way to change the culture too. While burying a ball isn’t going to make players better it at least sends the message that things are changing if even a little.

It Just Won’t End But as Fans We Can Do Better

Peterson
Peterson
Add Adrian Peterson to the list of NFL players in trouble with the law.

I planned on writing today about the pennant races and the third week of college football but yet again I’m forced into another direction because of yet another stupid act by a professional athlete. Days after the Ray Rice video emerged leading to his release from the Baltimore Ravens, another NFL player in purple is finding himself in trouble with the law.

Minnesota Vikings’ star running back Adrian Peterson was charged with abuse of child in the state of Texas. He is accused of using a switch to discipline his four-year old son. When the child returned to his mother in Minnesota, she took him to the doctors where he was photographed with open scares on many areas of his body. The hospital then reported this to the authorities in Texas.

The Vikings have chosen to make Peterson inactive for Sunday’s game against New England and that’s the right move. But I have to ask, when will this all finally end for the National Football League?

Honestly? I don’t care when it ends but we as fans need to have a hand in it don’t we?

Apparently not because many fans, women especially, proudly wore their Ray Rice jerseys to the Baltimore-Pittsburgh game on Thursday night. Some were interviewed and even said “She (Janay Rice) hit him first so she deserved to be hit back.”

Hardy
Greg Hardy has had his domestic violence issues too and even brought his owner to tears.

This is the type of people we are dealing with here. This was far from the last stupid thing said though. I can’t even count the number of Tweets I saw last evening that were about Adrian Peterson screwing up their fantasy teams for this weekend. So let’s see; you’re upset that your fantasy football team might be impacted by Peterson not playing rather than being upset by the fact he abused his child?

I can’t tell you how sorry I am that your fantasy team is messed up. Perhaps you ought to get a different set of priorities in life don’t you think?

Peterson and Rice aren’t the only ones bringing the NFL more body blows either. San Francisco’s Ray McDonald played last week and will play again this week despite his arrest just days after the NFL put new domestic violence penalties into place. Carolina’s Greg Hardy is also prepared to play this week despite his domestic violence conviction this summer.

Panthers’ owner Jerry Richardson recently gave an impassioned speech about domestic violence. So moving was it that he brought himself to tears. If fighting against domestic violence is so important to Richardson then why isn’t he making Hardy inactive? Oh that’s right! Because the bottom line in the NFL is winning and winning means more money.

We’ll have to excuse Mr. Richardson then now won’t we?

We as fans have to do better. Are we really going to defend a man who knocks out his wife? Are we going to defend a player who ‘disciplines’ his son to the point where he bleeds? This child is four-years old not 14 as if that were to make it any better.

To this point the majority of fans have driven the social media outrage in the right direction. The push following the release of the damning video of Rice was a major factor in Goodell finally acting.

I’ve seen excuses about many of these players being brought up in rough circumstances and that they don’t know any better. That’s crap and you know it. We all know the difference between right and wrong and if we don’t then it’s our own fault.

Keep pushing Roger Goodell and the NFL to do better. It’s the only way to clean this mess up.

The NFL is Spiraling Out Control

Goodell
Goodell
Roger Goodell said his piece in an interview with CBS but was he lying?

It was just last week that I wrote about how no matter what the National Football League does wrong, it remains the most popular sport in America. It’s amazing how things can change in such a short period of time.

I really didn’t want to write again about the Ray Rice situation but new revelations last evening have essentially left me no choice. First of all, let me attack the Roger Goodell interview with CBS’ Norah O’Donnell on Tuesday night was not the worst interview of a guy under pressure I’ve ever seen but I wouldn’t categorize it as good either.

Goodell was as red-faced as I’ve ever seen him and I honestly don’t think it was because he was embarrassed. He looked as though he had spent the previous night on an all-night bender at Moe’s Tavern. While I believe O’Donnell asked him good questions, I can’t escape the fact she works for CBS which is a network that televises the NFL.

Rice
Ray Rice and his wife didn't exactly give the whole story to the NFL from what we know now.

Anyway, Goodell told O’Donnell that the NFL has never received nor seen the infamous elevator tape of Rice striking his then-fiance Janay Palmer. OK so let’s say this is true. If the no one in the NFL has seen it then my question is why not? They go to the ends of the Earth to investigate guys who smoke marijuana or use adderall or in one case, use fertility drugs in an effort to help his wife get pregnant.

So why then would this organization with greater power and reach than any corporation outside the of the US Government decide it doesn’t need to see all the evidence?

But as of last evening, we are hearing that might not necessarily be true…

A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that he sent a copy of the video to the NFL Offices. Could be just some guy trying to get some attention right? You might think that until he was able to produce a 12-second audio recording from a number at the NFL Office in New York where a female voice is heard saying “You’re right, it’s terrible.”

She said that when asked by the official for confirmation of receiving the video. OK, so this doesn’t mean that a couple of people aren’t trying to take advantage of the situation but things are just too coincidental aren’t they?

I mean, a number from the NFL Office? The voice confirms that she had seen it? Something isn’t adding up.

Worse yet for Rice is that ESPN’s Outside the Lines is reporting that he spat at Palmer in the elevator just prior to knocking her out and witnesses have come forward saying he did earlier in the evening as well. In the grand scheme of things this added dimension doesn’t do much in terms of the perception of Rice. It doesn’t help by any means but he’s already enemy number one across the country.

Before I wrap it up, let me get to the $100,000 question; Is this enough to bring down Roger Goodell? Initially I didn’t think so. Not seeing the video is blatant incompetence but probably not worthy of losing his job.

However, if it can be proved that Goodell has lied to Norah O’Donnell and that people in the NFL saw the video then I believe that would be enough to end his term as Commissioner and I for one would be just fine with that.

The NFL Finds Itself at a Crossroads

Rice
Rice
This shot from TMZ is from the clip of Rice striking Palmer in the elevator.

As with any major incident like the one involving Ray Rice and the assault on his then-fiance Janay Palmer, there are many angles and many questions that are troubling and head-scratching. What is clear as of this writing is that Ray Rice is no longer a member of the Baltimore Ravens. He is also now under indefinite suspension from the NFL leaving his playing career in doubt.

We are where we are because yesterday, TMZ released the one video from the assault we hadn’t seen but had assumed Roger Goodell and the NFL had. It was video from inside the elevator that clearly shows Rice strike Palmer with a left hook so vicious that it propelled her into the wall of the elevator knocking her out cold. I’m not linking the video because it’s disturbing. Frankly, google ‘Ray Rice’ and you’ll find it immediately if you’ve yet to see it.

Goodell
The only way I see Goodell in real trouble is if TMZ can prove the NFL has already seen the video.

By the time you read this, TMZ may have already revealed a major piece of information from this case. They reported last night that they have evidence that the NFL has in fact seen the video despite their denials. If, and this is a big ‘if,’ Goodell and the NFL are proven to have seen the video, it will be an incredible blow to any credibility that Roger Goodell has left.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet though and focus back on what happened yesterday. I find it incredibly sad that while all of us knew that Rice had assaulted Palmer, our true outrage didn’t come until we had actually seen the assault. I get it though because the video is that troubling and even imagining it doesn’t do it justice.

The social media reaction had a major impact on the decision of both the Ravens and the NFL and if anyone tells you differently they are lying. The Ravens by cutting Rice send him away with about $25 million in guaranteed money while taking a pretty big cap hit as well. Their hand was forced however and although it took this long, it was the right thing to do.

In terms of the NFL’s actions, some questions are certainly raised. First, Goodell admitted that he erred in the two-game suspension Rice originally received. Second, he then announced new penalties for domestic assault which was a move a long time coming. A first time offense earned a player a six-game suspension and a second offense would be a lifetime ban.

Therefore, why suspend Rice indefinitely? If the policy is now in place, why not use it? For a first time offender, Rice should have just been nailed for a six-game suspension. By not doing this, Goodell opens another can of worms. He suspended Rice indefinitely because of the severity of the video and perhaps even more, because of the reaction by the public.

Because of this, the can of worms I mentioned looks like this; if a player in the future abuses a woman and it isn’t caught on camera, then what’s the punishment? If a player abuses a woman on camera but it isn’t as “severe” as Rice’s punch, what kind of punishment does he get? See where I’m going with this?

As for Goodell, he’ll survive this unless TMZ truly can prove he had seen it. Even then, it may be difficult to get him to step down. Remember his job is to make money for the owners and that’s one thing he hasn’t failed at.

It’s Friday and I’ve Got Several Things on My Mind and Football is All of Them

Hill
Hill
Kenny Hill torched 9th-ranked South Carolina last night with over 500 yards passing.

So apparently my English skills are about as good as my ability to predict things if read this title. Two days ago, I gave you five fearless predictions for college football and already one of them is looking incredibly wrong. I said that Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina Gamecocks would win the SEC and while that could still happen, that theory took a massive hit last night.

Texas A&M came to Columbia with a redshirt freshman quarterback not named Johnny Manziel and torched the Gamecocks for over 500 yards passing in a 52-28 upset. Kenny Hill, son of former MLB pitcher Ken Hill, threw for 511 yards and three touchdowns in the rout over ninth-ranked South Carolina. The win does two things; first it makes us question just how good South Carolina is and two, how much longer before Kevin Sumlin is coaching in the NFL.

The fact that Sumlin has been able to show in just one game that he has moved this team beyond the Manziel era is enough for NFL teams and other major college programs to take notice. As for the Gamecocks, might want to work on that pass defense.

Rice
Ray Rice got one heck of a hometown discount from Roger Goodell as it turns out.

Goodell Does Something Positive for Once

Roger Goodell and the NFL announced yesterday that they have implemented a disciplinary system for domestic violence abusers. The first time will result in a six-game suspension while the second offense will result in a lifetime ban from the sport. Why it took this long for some form action in this regard is beyond me but it’s finally here and we should be happy about it as we can’t tolerate this behavior.

In the announcement, Goodell did something I never dreamed I’d hear from him. He apologized for the weak response in Ray Rice’s situation. While I appreciate the apology, I find it interesting that he didn’t extend Rice’s penalty. Perhaps it has to do with the NFLPA or maybe that Baltimore is his hometown team.

Strange that Goodell never apologized to Ben Roethlisberger after suspending him even though he was never arrested or charged with a crime. I digress however… I’m glad that the NFL is acting on domestic violence. It’s just a shame it’s taken this long and after a massive cry from the general public. Goodell has once again proven himself as the ‘reactive’ commissioner.

Because they have made themselves the epicenter of the sports’ world, ESPN is hard to avoid no matter how much they irritate and bother the hell out of us. Outside of ’30 for 30′ and the featuring of the several major sports, the rest of ESPN is essentially tabloid fodder. This notion was proved once again this week as ESPN reporter Josina Anderson decided to report on St. Louis Rams’ defensive end Michael Sam’s showering habits.

As you know, Sam is an openly gay man trying to make the roster and so far, he has an excellent shot at it. Whoever thought a story about whether Michael Sam showers with his teammates was worthy of our viewing time at ESPN needs to be fired. My question in this manner is quite simple; “who cares?”

Sam has had a really good preseason for the Rams and his two sacks of Cleveland Browns’ QB Johnny Manziel nearly forced Twitter into a shutdown. Whether he makes the roster or not is uncertain but someone will grab him because he has proven he can play in the NFL. Let’s hope that is what ESPN chooses to report on from here on out.

Goodell Finally Speaks; Says Nothing to Make Us Think He Has a Clue

Goodell
Goodell
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defends the two-game punishment for Ray Rice on Friday.

A week or so ago, National Football League Commissioner sent out one of his hired henchmen to defend the league’s decision to suspend Baltimore Ravens’ running back just two games. NFL V.P. Adolpho Birch appeared on ESPN’s ‘Mike and Mike’ and proceeded to make the entire situation even worse as he stumbled over answers and twisted himself into knots defending the the league’s decision.

What we all wanted was not to hear from the minions, but to hear from Goodell himself and we finally got our chance when he spoke on the Rice suspension on Friday. We should not have been surprised by his words which did nothing but tow the company line and give the same lip service Birch had given.

Goodell’s words in italics…

“We have a very firm policy that domestic violence is not acceptable in the NFL, and there are consequences for that,” the commissioner said. “Obviously, when we are going through the process of evaluating an issue and whether there will be discipline, you look at all of the facts that are available to us.” 

“We have to remain consistent,” he said. “We can’t just make up the discipline. It has to be consistent with other cases, and it was in this matter.”

I found two things disturbing with the above comments. First, he claims the NFL can’t just make up the discipline. That is 100% wrong because there is nothing in the collective bargaining agreement that covers knocking your significant other out cold in an elevator. Things that are collectively bargained are agreed upon by the league and the players. Therefore, Goodell and the NFL would have had cart blanche to suspend Rice with a much more harsh punishment.

Roethlisberger
Rice deserved a punishment similar to Roethlisberger but Goodell will hear nothing of it.

Secondly, Goodell was asked to compare this suspension to that of Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and as expected Goodell said there had been a prior incident in his past which warranted the long suspension. Let’s keep in mind that Roethlisberger was never videotaped, never arrested, never charged, never made to agree to a plea deal and so on.

If you want to say Roethlisberger was guilty of poor judgment then I can certainly understand that especially in the Georgia alleged incident. The first one that Goodell always cites was a money grab of the highest order and NFL security knows it just as they know it was the case in Georgia as well. Before you get pissed off, I suggest you read through the two incident reports and articles to educate yourself.

As for Rice, I thought he was very honest and contrite when he spoke to the media. I really do believe this has affected him greatly as it should have. I seriously hope that Rice can move forward and that he never again touches his wife or any other woman. My anger towards him is obvious but not nearly as much as it is towards Goodell.

I truly believe it is time for the Commissioner to completely remove himself from disciplinary decisions. He is losing terribly in the court of public opinion and looks even worse after the swift action of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver who hasn’t even been on his detail a year yet.

We all know that Goodell’s main mission is to make money for the owners. He is excelling at doing that but also has a myriad of other issues on his plate as well. Playoff expansion, London, concussions, and a growing list of felons are all weighing him down.

He can avoid a lot of headaches this way too.

 

The National Football League Clearly Doesn’t Get It.

Birch
Birch
NFL VP Adolpho Birch proved on ESPN yesterday that the league doesn't have a clue regarding the firestorm they've created.

You would think that I wake up every morning and just hope and pray that I get to rip on Roger Goodell but I don’t. I’ve said all I can say regarding my feelings towards him as the Commissioner of the National Football League, but then more news just keeps coming out and it always seems to come back to Goodell.

Today is unfortunately one of those days.

Rather than come forward and address his decision to suspend Ray Rice for just two games for domestic violence, Goodell sent out one of his minions in the form of NFL Vice-President Adolpho Birch. While his name sounds like that of a villain from a James Bond movie, Birch wasn’t nearly as entertaining as he appeared today on ESPN’s ‘Mike and Mike.’

This was the gist of Birch’s comment on why he feels the discipline was fair…

“Listen, I think if you are any player and you think that based on this decision that it’s OK to go out and commit that kind of conduct, I think that is something that I would suggest to you that no player is going to go out and do that,” Birch said Monday. “So in terms of sending a message about what the league stands for, we’ve done that. We can talk about the degree of discipline, we can talk about whether or not third parties need to be involved. I would suggest to you that a third party has been involved in this matter and that was the court that reviewed it, the prosecutor that reviewed it.

“But if it is a question about what the principle of the league is and what standards we stand by, that cannot be questioned. I think it is absolutely clear to all involved that the NFL does not condone domestic violence in any way and will not tolerate it in our league. I don’t know how you can reach a conclusion other than that although I certainly respect the opinion.”

Goodell
I find it sad that Goodell can't speak for himself sending out his minions instead.

Is this guy freaking serious? He asks how you can reach a conclusion other than that (the NFL won’t tolerate domestic abuse). Well let me think about that for a minute Adolpho. The reason why the overwhelming majority of Americans find this penalty to be horrendously weak is that it completely counters the very argument the Commissioner has made since he took the job. “Protect the shield.”

How is giving a woman beater a two-game sentence protecting the shield? Terrelle Pryor received a five-game suspension for getting free tattoos while in college. The NFL is sending the message that beating one’s fiance or wife or girlfriend is less of a big deal than getting free ink. In what fantasy world is this even remotely comprehensible?

I realize Mr. Birch is just towing the company line here and is taking all of flak that Roger Goodell should be taking but where are the morals of this man? Does he really think the message of two games is going to send any kind of message to other players? If anything, perhaps NFL players will do less PEDs and illegal drugs because the know the penalty is steeper than hitting a woman.

I hate to go there and realize that sounds insensitive but the league clearly doesn’t get the firestorm it has created.

Outrage Over Rice Wrist-Slap is On Point

Rice
Rice
Ray Rice will miss just two games after knocking his then-fiance out cold.

Just when you think National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell couldn’t do anything more stupid than he’s already done he’s completed the task. Goodell issued a two-game suspension from behind his iron curtain yesterday to Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice for assaulting his then-fiance in a New Jersey casino.

Not only was Rice caught on elevator cameras knocking his then-fiance out, but then lobby cameras caught him dragging her unconscious body from the elevator as well. The public has not been allowed to see the video inside the elevator but it has been reported that both Rice and his now wife exchanged several blows before he knocked her out.

If ever you needed a reason to believe that Roger Goodell is completely out of touch then here is your example. Players have been suspended more for on-field hits against other men.

Players have been suspended more for marijuana use.

Goodell
I wonder how Goodell's wife feels about a two-game suspension for domestic abuse?

Players have been suspended more for getting free tattoos.

Players have been suspended more for performance enhancing drug use.

Players have been suspended more for ADHD medication.

Players have been suspended more for what they ‘allegedly’ did.

Things really couldn’t be going much worse for Goodell and I couldn’t be happier about it. The only thing he does well is earn money for owners which is exactly why they constantly give him a vote of confidence. Therefore the owners are just as culpable in this joke of a suspension as he is.

I wouldn’t call this a step backwards for the NFL in regards to women. I would call it falling backwards of a 500-foot cliff.

For a league that prides itself on ‘Pink October’ where teams wear pink in honor of breast cancer awareness month, this is a serious misstep with women who make up a good portion of the NFL fan base. Nevermind that only 10% of the sales of pink-themed NFL gear actually go to breast cancer research… That’s for another day.

I’ve heard the argument that Janay Rice’s behavior leading up to the was highly inappropriate and is in large part what led to her now husband to knock her cold. She was originally charged with assault as well but those charges were dropped.

Let me be clear on this issue; Ray Rice is 260lbs. Janay Rice appears to be in the neighborhood of 115lbs? That’s a “slight” weight advantage if I’m no mistaken. I don’t care how violent Janay Rice was in the moments leading up to the eventual knockout. You don’t hit a woman.

If you think the two-game suspension was soft, consider too that Goodell also cut Rice a huge break when it came to the fine imposed upon him. Rice was only fined for one game rather than two and the suspension was based off his 2013 salary which was just $1 million rather than his current deal which pays him $4 million.

I have to wonder this morning how Roger Goodell’s wife and twin daughters feel. If I’m him, I’d be prepared for some questions from them.

In the end, reports say that Janay Rice made a very passionate plea to Roger Goodell. She pleaded that his suspension be light because of all the good he’s done. Apparently this is what swayed Goodell. I hope all NFL players are taking note. Bring your wife or girlfriend or mom for that matter when called before the Commissioner and chances are you’ll get a slap on the wrist too.