The NFL game is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the United States. We may love baseball, or the NBA, but there’s nothing quite like the investment people make in their favorite NFL team. Sundays are special, and so are Monday nights. Even Thursday NFL football, of which I’m not a huge fan, does have a certain appeal. NFL football is NFL football. It’s a game that has everything from spectacular athletes to solid performers and the occasional flash in the pan. The unexpected can be expected in any game.
That being said, we have to remember what makes the NFL so great is the people. The athletes, the coaches, and the fans. What people can make work, they can make fail. In this case, the case of Ray Rice and the infamous elevator incident, we have two failures. One, the instantaneous bad decision made by Rice. While it’s easy to condemn, and we certainly have to condemn the act, it’s an event that occurs every single day in households and relationships across the country and they are no less to be condemned. The fact that Ray Rice had his act caught on camera makes it no less onerous, simply more newsworthy since he’s a rich athlete admired by many (Before this incident).
The second onerous act is that of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Here we have a woman knocked unconscious and Goodell chooses to suspend him for two games. His defense is that he didn’t have the video of the actual assault. Reports are coming out that he did in fact have the video. Whether he did or he didn’t is almost meaningless. He could have gotten it couldn’t he? He could have requested it in order to make a more informed decision. The fact that he didn’t ask for it, or that he simply ignored it, makes you wonder exactly what he thought he was protecting. In this day and age every dirty little secret is almost certain to be exposed. If Goodell did have the tape and protected Ray Rice, he should be forced to resign immediately, because he was lying. If he didn’t have the tape, it calls into serious question his competency. Some would say that the NFL didn’t have the legal right to see it. Maybe not, but at no point are we getting any indications that the NFL or the Baltimore Ravens even asked for it. Even they didn’t, they should hand their heads in shame.
Bottom line: The NFL will continue to thrive and that’s because in the end, most of the people and players associated with the game are basically good people. For every Ray Rice who lashes out in an angry punch, there are a hundred others serving as examples of how hard work and proper conduct are the way to handle your business. They devote time and money to charitable cause, help their communities, entertain us, and in the end that’s the NFL. This Ray Rice thing is a dirty and distasteful business. But it’s not an example of the NFL as a whole and I refuse to see it as such. Let Rice handle his private business, find out what Goodell’s part was, and let the chips fall. The good part of the NFL is going to prevail.Eric Drouant