Archive for the ‘nfl’ tag
Dale Hansen has brought the rhetorical pain on the Dallas Cowboys for hiring Greg Hardy, who was involved in a domestic dispute for beating his girlfriend, threatening to kill her and then paying her off to simply disappear:
Hardy was convicted of assault and sending death threats this past summer. And now, he will be playing football for the Cowboys, who will pay him a handsome $11.3 million. Meanwhile, the Cowboys, and the NFL more broadly, have relinquished any remaining scruples to which they were still feebly clinging. After Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s track record on domestic violence is indefensible.
Although NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down an indefinite suspension against former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after video evidence was released showing that Rice had indeed knocked out his now-wife Janey Rice back in February at a casino in Las Vegas, one can understand from a technical standpoint why former U.S. District Court judge and arbiter in the case, Barbara Jones, lifted the suspension, even if the offense itself seems to warrant harsher discipline than just missing two football games.
I thought it was interesting that a female arbiter presided over the case and ruled in Rice’s favor, even if I don’t agree with the decision. In August, largely in response to public ire over the Rice’ minimal two-game punishment, Goodell modified the NFL’s policy to stipulate that domestic abuse offenders would be suspended for at least six games on a first offense and indefinitely for a second occurrence, although he failed to make Rice accountable based on this new policy. Not until September after the video evidence was released did Goodell pass along the indefinite suspension. Therefore, in Jones’ eyes, this decision appeared inconsistent.
Here’s the crux of Jones’ reasoning:
Because Rice did not mislead the commissioner and because there were no new facts on which the commissioner could base his increased suspension, I find that the imposition of the indefinite suspension was arbitrary. I therefore vacate the second penalty imposed on Rice.
I agree that the decision appeared to be arbitrary based on NFL policy, but shouldn’t Goodell as commissioner have the power and prerogative to modify the punishment when new evidence is brought to bear in a case? We can debate whether Goodell saw the video evidence before September — I happen to think he did and only increased the punishment when it became public — but should it not be within a commissioner’s purview to act on a case-by-case basis when evidence makes it more likely, actually somewhere near 100 percent, that the offender in question actually committed an egregious crime against a woman?
In any case, I’m not sure whether to feel sorry for Janay Rice for supporting her husband through this whole noxious affair or castigate her as being woefully delusional to think that Rice can’t or won’t potentially act out again, against her or against another woman. In my experience, only two people exist in domestic relationships: abusers and non-abusers, and abusers are, in general, more likely than not to strike again. I’m not saying Rice will get in trouble again. I hope he doesn’t, and I hope he is sincerely reformed, but the germ of abuse, once mixed with decision-impairing alcohol, is hard to snuff out.
In this now notorious press conference, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell went on and on about the NFL’s lack of clear and consistent policies related to discipline and personal conduct that apparently haven’t been updated since 2007.
Seems like Goodell has had been plenty of time since then to revisit and modify any policies he deemed insufficient. Why were such important policies not being reviewed every year? The NFL certainly takes pains to review every nuance about the rules on the football field each season. Not even taking into account the Ray Rice debacle, seems like this oversight alone would be grounds for termination. Further, how does a league with an entire legal department at its disposal not know that you don’t conduct interviews with the victim and abuser in the same room?
There’s just so many elements in this case that don’t add up, and I think that, in part, fueled Bill Simmons’ also notorious tirade against Goodell. It’s clear to anyone paying attention that either Goodell, NFL executives, the Ravens or all three, have not been completely forthcoming with what they knew and when they knew it. Simmons, with perhaps a little too much impropriety in calling out the corporate suits at ESPN, just had the balls to say what everyone was already thinking.
And frankly, with the exception of Simmons — and it will be interesting to see what he has to say, if anything, once he returns from suspension — I can’t say that I trust the credibility of other ESPN employees commenting on the NFL because of the sports channel’s cozy partnership with the league on “Monday Night Football.”
Two bad football teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jacksonville Jaguars, who went a collective 8-24 in regular season season play last year, are squaring off right now in their first preseason game.
Given the Jaguars’ already-awful jerseys and the Buccaneers’ new “groundbreaking” hey-if-we-distract-fans-with-glow-in-the-dark-jerseys-maybe-they-won’t-notice-the-terrible-team-on-the-field jerseys, I’m going to go ahead and christen this game the Ugly Jersey Bowl:
Steve Gorman made a good point today on his radio show about NFL penalties facing Ray Rice, with the Baltimore Ravens, and Josh Gordon, with the Cleveland Browns. Rice allegedly knocked his then-girlfriend unconscious back in February at a hotel, and Gordon got caught pot. In one incident, pot was found in Gordon’s car and in another, he was arrested and charged with DWI. He also failed a drug test this offseason.
Rice faces a two-game suspension for his domestic issues, while Gordon could be forced to sit out a year for his offenses. Rice and his girlfriend have since got married — go figure — and Rice has claimed that counseling has helped in their relationship, which is precisely what he has to say in order to get back into good graces with the NFL suits.
But as Gorman pointed out, what kind of message does this send to children and teenagers, many of whom are obviously fans of the NFL, that smoking pot is somehow worse than physically abusing another human being, a woman no less? The NFL should have zero tolerance for civil violence period, much less violence against women. As more and more states continue legalizing pot or medical marijuana, the drug will most likely be available everywhere sooner than later. That’s going to happen; it’s just a matter of how long it takes. People want it, the health risks of smoking pot are relatively low compared with other drugs and as soon as it’s legalized and distributed, it will be as commonplace as alcohol and cigarettes. The ethical difference between smoking pot in this day and age and hitting women isn’t even close, yet Gordon faces a year, and Rice essentially gets a slap on the wrist. I like the NFL, but the message this sends to their fans is shameful.
I like Gorman’s idea for the NFL:
They might as well put out a billboard that says we’d rather have you punch a woman than smoke pot.
So days after Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam became the first openly gay college football, making the announcement Feb. 9 to ESPN and The New York Times, news has come out that his father, Michael Sam Sr., was apparently distressed when he received a text from his son. His father was at Denny’s celebrating his birthday, but upon receiving the text, he left to go get drinks. As reported by The Times:
Last Tuesday, Michael Sam Sr. was at a Denny’s near his home outside Dallas to celebrate his birthday when his son sent him a text message.
Dad, I’m gay, he wrote.
The party stopped cold. “I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks,” Sam Sr. said. “I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment.
“I’m old school,” he added. “I’m a man-and-a-woman type of guy.” As evidence, he pointed out that he had taken an older son to Mexico to lose his virginity.
On Sunday night, just after Michael Sam announced his intention to make sports history, his father was still struggling with the news.
To apparently prove this, he recounted a story in which he took one of his other sons to Mexico to lose his virginity.
I’m not even sure where to start. Why would a father actually take a proactive measure to ensure that his son has sex for the first time and in Mexico no less? Why would a father even really be that interested in the minute details of his son’s virginity? Was this arrangement set up beforehand or did this noble fatherly act take place in a brothel down in some barrio?
Second, he said he doesn’t want his grandchildren to grow up in that environment, when everything that I’ve seen about Michael Sam Jr. is that he is an upstanding young man with a bright future and a good head on his shoulders. Shouldn’t a father be proud that his son had the courage to make the announcement and that he wants to live an honest and open life? Shouldn’t a father want his son to be happy and not have to sneak around and live in constant fear of embarrassment and rejection? No, instead Michael Sam Sr. seems to prefer the environment of intolerance and bigotry, where a person merely drinks their problems away and can’t be real about who they really are.
Stephen Colbert opined on the issue last night:
According to a recent poll, half of Americans believe God has something to do with the outcome of the Super Bowl.
Scary levels of stupidity here:
Two weeks ahead of the Super Bowl, half of American sports fans say they believe God or a supernatural force is at play in the games they watch, according to a new survey.
That percentage includes Americans who pray for God to help their team (26 percent), think their team has been cursed (25 percent) or more generally believe God is involved in determining who wins on the court or in the field (19 percent). Overall, half of Americans fall into one of these groups, according to the survey Public Religion Research Institute released Tuesday.
I highly doubt some nonprofit organization had enough green to pay for an ad during the Superbowl but if so, here it is I guess:
The University of Tennessee does not yet have a plan for how it will finance a multimillion-dollar buyout of former football coach Derek Dooley, who was fired Sunday, Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said Monday.
The university is “keeping every possibility on the table,” Cheek said, but declined to say whether university funds could be used to bolster a struggling athletics department budget.
… Firing Dooley, who coached three seasons to finish with a 15-21 record, will be expensive. Dooley’s contract stipulates UT will have to pay out roughly $5 million for the remainder of his contract, in monthly installments of about $102,000.
In the real world, failure means being shown the door, and if you’re lucky, getting one last paycheck from accrued vacation. Universities and professional sports teams could save a lot of money if they did away with guaranteed contracts and scaled pay based on performance, not just forking over egregious sums of money based on little more than on potential.