Many of the same sportswriters who praised the current NFL commissioner’s “tough guy” act when it came to enforcing the league’s very questionable banned substance policy or paying retirees a fraction due for head injuries sustained during their playing days have now turned on the man who runs the world’s most profitable nonprofit.
…Calling for Roger Goodell’s head on a spit only after the release today of a TMZ video of one of his league’s recent Super Bowl champions hitting on his fiancé in a casino like Rocky does a side of beef.
Today’s decision by the NFL to ban Ray Rice indefinitely and condemn his actions is long overdue. From the Baltimore Ravens, to the commissioner’s office, to the press corps, to the fans themselves, nobody can be accused of acting too hastily on this matter.
But let’s be clear: The move to ban Rice wasn’t done to punish Rice or to right a wrong—it was done simply as a PR stunt.
After all, Goodell gets to stuff 40 million reasons a year under his mattress to keep the league’s image untarnished.
The league has defined itself as being an aggressive affront to all women over the last two decades. Some highlights include, Warren Moon’s 1995 arrest for battering his wife followed by his 2006 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Atlanta Falcons DB Eugene Robinson, hours removed from receiving the Bart Starr Award from Christian group Athletes in Action for leadership and upstanding conduct and hours prior to playing in the Super Bowl, solicited a prostitute (who happened to be an undercover cop) for $40.
2003 went down as best/worst year ever for the league’s playcallers and womanizing. From Michael Vick sprinkling herpes around Atlanta like extra jalepiños on 2 a.m. 7-Eleven nachos using the pseudonym Ron Mexico, to Joe Namath in-interview slurring to ESPN’s Suzy Kolber “I wanna kiss you” on the sidelines of a Jets game.
It took seven years for Broadway Joe to be outshined. Fellow great Brett Favre turned to technology sexting photos of his junk and harassing sideline reporter Jenn Sterger in 2010 from the Minnesota locker room. ‘
Lest we forget the NFL’s Violence Against Women parade’s grand marshal OJ Simpson, who will celebrate the 20-year anniversary of his acquittal for turning his wife into a Pez dispenser and fileting her lover next October in Lovelock, Nevada prison. His Innocence is currently doing time for kidnapping and armed robbery convictions.
The league also prides itself in paying its cheerleaders about $10/hour less than babysitters, referring to them as “seasonal amusement”, subjecting them to “jiggle tests” and telling them who they can and cannot date and when to change their tampons. The result, a recent half-assed ruling in the favor of the Raiderettes to the tune of $1 million in back pay. A modest start, considering that’s a fraction of a single-game take for the organization.
And now, thanks to a Hollywood gossip site, we have can’t-unsee-it proof Ray Rice is willing to hit his bethroed so hard he had to drag her dead weight out of an elevator in February. Rice’s punch is landed with such precision and utility that one can’t help but believe treating significant others like hookers on Grand Theft Auto is no newfound skill to the Pro Bowler.
Critics are now saying Goodell should step down because he didn’t react when he first saw the video—and
credible sources say he saw it long ago—but the video doesn’t matter. What matters is we all have waited too long, decades too long, to act.
I don’t mind people decrying Goodell’s decisions, as long as we second-guess our own.
Because we are all guilty. Goodell is guilty. His league is guilty. My favorite team growing up, the San Francisco 49ers of Santa Clara, is guilty for not suspending their own abuser Ray McDonald. While likely facing domestic violence charges from the Santa Clara DA, McDonald started last weekend against Dallas.
And I am guilty. Guilty of not doing a damn thing.
But then I realized, it’s not enough just to say, fuck the NFL.
Not this time.
This time, I am acting with my time and my checkbook.
Starting today, I will not attend a game. I will not play fantasy football. I will not buy NFL attire. I will not support major NFL-aligned sponsors with my patronage. I will not watch games or highlights on TV.
I am done.
My favorite hat has the NFL shield stitched on the back. My favorite way to pretend I’m working at work is to check my team. My favorite gold satin jacket (OK, my only gold satin jacket) is a 49ers jacket.
But it’s over.
It’s a decrepit league run by decrepit men staring down from their sky boxes, leering, sniveling making fun of every last corn-syrup-beer swilling serf who fills the sky-high monuments to their own shriveled manhood.
I know it’s going to be tough to go cold-turkey, so I made a deal with myself today.
At the season’s end, I will donate $100 to the San Luis Obispo Women’s Shelter, for 35 years, a safe house for women and children who are victims of domestic violence and abuse. The organization is an emergency home and provides crisis intervention, education and advocacy to the women and children of the county I call home.
Along with the $100, I will donate $1 every time:
• I watch (even part or highlights) an NFL game
• I log into my fantasy football league
• I wear a piece of NFL or NFL-related clothing (grown men who sit in cubicles all week shouldn’t wear jerseys anyway, not a flattering look)
• I give my patronage to any of the NFL’s top sponsors, including: Toyota, Comcast, Gatorade, Ford, Coca-Cola, Geico, Papa John’s, Anheuser-Busch, Ticketmaster, Verizon, Miller, Coors, Pepsi and Visa
My spreadsheet’s ready. Is yours?
For more information on women’s shelters or related nonprofits in your area click on womenshelters.org