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Saturday, September 20, 2014

NFL "Scandal" Exposes Sports Media Corruption

The NFL is the "biggest" sport in America--although not the best--and its commissioner Roger Goodell a major public figure.  The sport is so overhyped by the media that any "scandal" gets blown out of proportion. 

The latest "issue" is violence in the NFL.  Think about this.  An extremely violent sport played by testosterone-charged, hyperviolent men.  Why would it shock us that they sometimes take this off the field? 

Goodell, who, it is true, earns millions to make the right decisions, decided to suspend one player two games for punching his wife in a casino.  Normally, he would have earned a six-game suspension, but Goodell decided to be lenient because the player was cooperative, the law had already enacted its penalty (pre-trial intervention for a year; he was a first-offender, and that's not uncommon.) and the player's wife begged for clemency.  The facts in the case were never in doubt.  He walloped her. 

Only two games raised some eyebrows, especially when one player was suspended a year for being a three-time offender of the NFL's illegal-drug use policy.   But the media moved on...

Until  a celebrity website leaked the video of the actual punch, recorded on the casino's security system.  Then all hell broke loose.  Goodell was obviously covering it up (Why? Never explained.)  He then suspended the player indefinitely.  (Even though the facts of the case were never in doubt.)

This was an ugly incident.  But not even the worst we heard about in the last week!  Law enforcement has been busy.

Now the media want Goodell to resign--because he made a mistake.  Three reasons for this: 1) the sports media always feels inferior to actual journalism, so when it has an opportunity to squawk about a Big Issue, it does so for all it's worth 2) it feels subliminally guilty about ignoring issues like off-field violence for so long, especially of famous stars; and 3) it has Watergate Envy:  It wants to show that, by itself, it can take down a major figure, like the Washington Post supposedly did to Richard Nixon.  

Note well, this has nothing to do with the welfare of the offending player's family; his wife blasted the media for dredging all this up again.  Now they have no income to boot. 

The fact is the NFL has done more in recent years to clean up these off-the-field offenses than  in all its past decades combined.  See this perceptive article by Samuel Chi: Give Goodell a Raise  The league is way cleaner than it used to be.

Maybe some good will come out of all this, such as getting people to start realizing that they worship organized violence, which might have some unintended consequences.

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