The NFL has been on the receiving end of much scrutiny in recent years. From scandals such as Ray Rice beating his fiancee to the more recent “Deflategate”, these issues have brought the name of the NFL down like never before. At the center of all these controversies is the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell. He is in charge of dealing with how the situations should be handled and how punishments should be distributed. Recently, however, his ways have come into question. Deflategate especially has brought to attention that maybe there is corruption beyond the players in the NFL.
Roger Goodell took over as commissioner in 2006, replacing Paul Tagliabue. Goodell has taken the league by storm, implementing multiple new conduct policies, including stiffer fines and longer suspensions. His main goal in the league is “protecting the shield” of the NFL from criticism as well as protecting the players from injury.
Granted most of the policies he has implemented have had a positive affect on the NFL, such fining players who get involved in shady activities or who commit unnecessary fouls on the field. It is way he has dealt with multiple scandals with different teams that is the main issue many people have with him. Goodell’s questionable decision making has made him a huge target for scrutiny.
The first major scandal he had to deal with that made people question his commitment to the league’s integrity was the Ray Rice scandal. This was a huge case that involved Rice in a domestic disputes with his then fiancee. The original ruling made by Goodell was that he would be suspended the first two games of the regular season. The case flew under the radar for about four months or so until TMZ released the actual video of the dispute. That same day Goodell announced that Ray Rice would be indefinitely suspended from the NFL. This was a worthy punishment for the crime, but it only came after public outcry following the release of the video footage. Many people felt as if Goodell tried to make the case fly under the radar. Claims were made that he received the tape earlier in the year and hid that information from the press. Either way, his ruling was made without knowing the true severity of the situation.
The most recent case Goodell dealt with questionably was the “Deflategate” scandal. The Indianapolis Colts called out the New England Patriots about taking air out of their footballs so they were more to the liking of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The original punishment included a four-game suspension without pay to the quarterback. Goodell named himself judge of the process of dealing with any appeals to the suspension. The ruling was upheld but the suspension was dropped after it was taken to court. Many feel as if it was a makeup call for coming down so hard on the Patriots for “Spygate” when they were caught video taping other teams’ practices. Either way the whole process was a mess and scarred the name of the NFL.
The NFL has evolved incredibly over the past decade. The new age of technology has revealed more about the players’ lives on and off the field. Scandals, drugs, and violence have threatened the name of the NFL for years, and I’m not sure Roger Goodell is the right man to handle these problems professionally.