Saturday, September 20, 2014

Roger. Over and Eventually Out.

Friday was the day Roger Goodell learned what every NFL player learns eventually: That he is fungible. He may be highly skilled, he may be highly paid, but the second he's not benefitting his employers, he's replaceable. 

It's what got Payton out of Indianapolis, it's what got LT out of San Diego, never mind that they were both untouchable gods while they were there. Once their futures got hazy, they were gone. And if Goodell continues to Three Stooges his way through the league's handling of various domestic abuse cases and costing the league sponsors in the process, he'll be out on his neatly tailored ass, too. Not because of the morals of the case - the team belonging to one of the owners in charge making sure the "impartial" investigation has continued to employ Ben Roethlisberger despite multiple allegations of sexual assault - but because the sponsors have apparently had enough of Goodell's mishandling of things, and they've warned him to knock it off.

Today was Goodell's mea culpa day. It's the day traditionally chosen for bad news and stories that people in power want buried, because bad stories lose momentum over the weekend. It's a day for cutting your losses.

Goodell got up behind the podium and said all the right things. He admitted he screwed up. He said the league would do better, though he was largely light on specifics. He, by and large, gave the impression of a man saying exactly what he had been told to say, or else. 
Some people, like on-air talent at ESPN, bought it. (Note to radio host claiming that law enforcement botched the Ray Rice case by not getting a longer sentence: read this.) Some people, like the head of NOW and many players, did not. 

Regardless, it was clear that Goodell was being thrown into the deep end here. He threw himself on his sword on behalf of his bosses. If he restores the league's image and placates the sponsors, he'll no doubt be welcomed back and hailed for his bold leadership in addressing the problem. If he doesn't, they'll wait until he's soaked up all the heat he can absorbed and then he'll be gone.

And they're probably fire him on a Friday.

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