As more and more players in the National Football League continue to make poor choices, get suspended and get pulled over, the man in charge of the NFL is nowhere to be seen or heard.
In the past few days, Dion Jordan of Miami, Rokevious Watkins of Kansas City and Lane Johnson of Philadelphia were all suspended for four games under the League’s substance abuse policy. The Colts’ LaVon Brazill was suspended for the entire 2014 season for yet another substance abuse issue. They are among a growing handful of suspended players already heading into the season.
These three incidents are easy for the NFL to deal with because of the protocols that already in place. What isn’t so easy is the plethora of decisions facing Roger Goodell and these include players like Ray Rice who is awaiting his fate following his domestic violence problem. Also expecting a decision is Aldon Smith of the 49ers.
This past Fourth of July weekend brought us yet another chance to see Johnny Manziel partying in Las Vegas (not illegal by the way) and more importantly, another arrest of a very high-profile player in Josh Gordon of Cleveland.
Gordon is already facing the potential of a year-long suspension and now he could be looking at even longer. Gordon was arrested in North Carolina early Saturday morning for speeding and ultimately driving while impaired. To make matters look even worse, he was bailed out by a man with a significant criminal and drug history.
Don’t forget that he was also pulled over for speeding in May and his passenger was arrested for possession of marijuana. He was suspended for the first four games last season and still went on to lead the NFL in receiving. Tons of talent but all kinds of problems would be putting it mildly.
While I can respect taking one’s time in making important decisions, Roger Goodell has fallen flat on his face when compared to new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Silver has shown swift and effective decision-making when it has come to discipline of not only players but owners as well. Just look at how quickly he acted with the Donald Sterling situation.
Goodell has taken his sweet time with the aforementioned Ray Rice who still doesn’t know his fate. What of Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay? He is facing a significant number of charges resulting from his traffic stop and drug possession issues. Months have now gone by and Irsay has not been punished in any way, shape or form.
Obviously the players’ association is a most interested party in Irasy’s case because they want to see how Goodell handles the discipline for one of his own in comparison to that of their players. The time for patience has gone though and fans and the general public deserve answers.
Goodell has already put himself in a very unenviable position by making the game of football “safer” in an effort to do nothing more than satisfy the plaintiffs of the concussion lawsuit. He has also shown overwhelming subjectivity when he does give suspensions often hiding behind the ‘protect the shield’ mantra.
The Hall of Fame Game is less than a month away. The Buffalo Bills, who play the New York Giants in that game open camp on July 18th. If Roger Goodell has not made rulings on Ray Rice, Aldon Smith and Jim Irsay by that point then shame on him. Then again, it’s what we’ve come to expect from him.