After what can only be described as a troubling first five weeks in the NFL for its commissioner, Roger Goodell met with owners in New York. After the first day in the meetings, it looks as if, despite all the controversy in the league about domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault, the owners do not appear to be upset with how things have been handled. Roger Goodell’s job is not in jeopardy, at least for the moment.
The league first came under fire back in February, when the running back for the Baltimore Ravens, Ray Rice, was arrested for assaulting Janay Palmer, his then-fiancé. A few days after the charges were made public, the video from outside the hotel was released, which showed Rice dragging Palmer out of the elevator while she appeared to be completely unconscious.
On July 24, Goodell gave Rice a two-game suspension to start the season. This was a decision that that fans and media alike thought was far too lenient for the crime that had been committed. Over a full month later, the NFL admitted to messing up the situation and instituted a new policy in regards to domestic violence charges. The new punishment would be a minimum six-game suspension for first time offenders and a lifetime ban for a second. This new policy would affect everyone in the league, including executives and owners.
On Sept. 8, new video footage was released showing the incident in the elevator, in which Rice can be seen punching Palmer and sending her to the ground immediately. Later that day, Rice was released from the Ravens. The Ravens say they came to their decision when video evidence did not match up to what Rice told them.
Also in July, Greg Hardy, defensive end for the Carolina Panthers, was found guilty of domestic assault for choking his girlfriend. Hardy was not disciplined by the league, and was only given 18 months probation. Hardy played for the Panthers in Week 1, but has since been sidelined on the NFL players exempt list. The exempt list can only be determined by the commissioner. Once on the list, a player cannot play in games or participate in any team related activities, but still receive their full pay.
While most of the media and fans have seen the way all these situations have been handled as an incident of severe mishandling by the league, in particular Goodell, the owners do not seem to see it that way. The NFL has steadily been the top earning sport in America since Goodell took over as the commissioner eight years ago. Owners are happy with their profits. Unless these incidents have an effect on the bottom line of the owners, it does not appear that Goodell’s job is in jeopardy.
Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson is currently undergoing alleged child abuse charges. Peterson played Week 1, before the charges were made public. The Vikings said Peterson would not play in Week 2 against the New England Patriots. After the Vikings suffered a big loss 30-7, Vikings officials said that Peterson would play again in Week 3. Many felt that Peterson was getting special treatment because he is viewed as the face of the NFL. Peterson has been on the cover of the successful video game franchise Madden, has been a league MVP and is the leading rusher since he entered the league.
One thing the NFL got right in all this mess is they have taken Peterson off the active roster and put him on the exempt list…at least until his court dates are all done. The league and Goodell have been criticized by many. Fans have been screaming for Gooddell to step down. After his meeting today with the league owners one thing seems very clear for the time being, and that is Goodell’s job is not in jeopardy.
Commentary by Andy Lapic