Apparently Roger Goodell is going have shine up his sheriff’s badge.
Off the field, the NFL is getting out-of-control as players with more money than ever before, exert their ego and entitlement on others.
In 2014, which is less then two months old mind you, there have already been four arrests. Add in the Dolphins’ locker room environment, and the recent Ray Rice altercation with his fiancé and Goodell has his hands full.
But that’s not even the worse of it. Former NFL player Darren Sharper was charged with seven rape and drug counts involving four women.
Goodell’s fairytale has suddenly drifted off the tracks. You have players that are getting rich in an instant, oftentimes more money than they’ve ever dreamed of, and then watching as these same athletes commit blatant crimes.
Goodell can talk about more rookie town hall meetings where Herm Edwards gets in front of an overhead projector and talks about how to fill your life off-the-field positively. He can talk about workshops to help curb substance abuse, which are usually the jumping off point to physical violence.
But the time for talk is over. Goodell now needs to get tough and make those players understand how important playing for that NFL shield is. And the quickest way for Goodell to get it in their heads is in through their bank account.
The things that Richie Incognito did would get entire human resources staffs fired. If Incognito did those kinds of things in the real world, he would be at odds to find a job let alone another professional football one.
Rice still hasn’t been charged but at no point is it OK for a man to hit a woman. Period. The video of him dragging out his fiancé because he knocked her out is not only shocking but it’s also very sad. He never thought for an instant what the ramifications of hitting a woman might lead to. At the very least he needs to be suspended, some are saying he should be kicked out of the NFL. Even if his fiancé elects not to press charges, Rice should still be punished by Goodell.
And finally, Sharper. Packers fans will remember him for being an excellent ball-hawking safety that wasn’t afraid to come to the line of scrimmage and deliver a hit. The five-time Pro Bowler had a great off-the-field presence and proved it as a pretty good NFL Network analyst. But none of those accomplishments make a difference when you allegedly drug and rape women. That is absolutely horrific.
The NFL is one of the preeminent brands in America. The final TV deal that Paul Tagliabue got as commissioner was $2.2 billion per year. The TV contract that Goodell just inked that runs until 2021 is for $4.95 billion a year.
For that kind of cheddar comes enormous responsibilities. Fortune 500 companies aren’t going to want to see continuous police blotter updates for a sport they are dumping in millions of dollars to advertise.
Goodell has made the NFL bigger than I ever thought it could be. A network will be televising Thursday Night Football. I never thought I’d see that.
The NFL is at a crossroads right now. How much more bloated can the police blotter get before people start tuning out?
Goodell needs to come down hard on offenders and send a message that this isn’t your daddy’s NFL. Gone are the days of a few folks that would look the other way because you get a check to put on a helmet and pads. Welcome to the new world of more money and higher expectations, which equates to more scrutiny from the boss.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn