Sunday, September 14, 2014

To the Drowning Man, An Anchor

Sometimes, the jokes write themselves.

For example: yesterday embattled Washington football team owner Daniel Snyder, best known for A)suing the bejesus out of anyone he thinks makes fun of him B)cutting down trees in a park illegally and then screwing over the park ranger who called him on it C)Trying to buy support for the ridiculously racist nickname of the sports franchise he owns while defending his right to keep that nickname unto the death through outright lies and childish tantrums D)co-opting the local media in a way that would make Kruschev proud and E)doing a truly horrible job of owning a football team, has come out with a statement of support for embattled NFL commissioner and wannabe Cobra Kai member Roger Goodell.

If there is a more tone-deaf move that could have been made, I can't think of what it might be. If there were a heavier anvil that could have been tossed to a drowning man, I don't know where you'd find it. If there were a single more step-on-rake act of stupidity in the whole rotten mess that is the bungling of the Ray Rice domestic abuse case - please, let's not sanitize it by calling it a "situation" - that could have been made, I don't know what it might be.

I have precisely zero sympathy for Goodell. He has been wielding the fasces of the commissioner's office for years with impunity, assuming that nothing could ever counter the imperial might of football. It's clear, from the bungled handling of this incident, that he expected the Rice case to blow over and be forgotten by the time the whistles started blowing, the same way so many other cases have been forgotten, and as a result he and his team arrogantly half-assed it. Why bother doing due diligence when in six months everyone's going to have their fantasy team to worry about?

But for once, it didn't work out that way, and it caught Mega-Gruden flatfooted. Watching a league - no, a business entity - that's used to getting whatever it wants by going wherever it wants having to backpedal and react is a fascinating thing; it's like watching an elephant on roller skates. And perhaps in part because the league never has to react, Goodell's done a terrible job of it, from the "Oh wait we have a policy now, really!" PR ploy to the laughably connected "independent investigation". 

And then along came Snyder, who said this:
Roger Goodell has always had the best interests of football at heart...We are fortunate to have him as our Commissioner. 
Did I mention that Goodell has strongly supported Snyder's position on keeping the franchise name? Didn't think I needed to. But thanks, Danny, for reminding us of that, for telling wavering fans that Goodell's track record of horrid behavior stretches well beyond the current day. 

I can only imagine that the second this hit the wire, Goodell's mouth opened in one of those Hollywood slow-motion "Nooooooooo"s. 

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

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