Roger Goodell’s choice to have the 2010 NFL Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl has been met with controversy since day one and his decision to kick Viking Bryant McKinnie off the NFC team was his latest mistake.
McKinnie was booted from the game after missing practice Friday and Saturday for unexcused reasons and will most likely be subjected to some sort of fine from the NFL.
The NFL fines players left and right so if that were McKinnie’s only punishment, it would not come as a shock to any football fan.
On the other hand, Goodell’s decision to oust him from the game is not only absurd but flat out stupid.
First off, whether or not football fans believe McKinnie deserved to play in the Pro Bowl in the first place, he was selected to be part of it and should be entitled to play.
How can the Commissioner take that away from McKinnie simply because he missed practice?
In the words of Allen Iverson: “Practice? We’re sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we’re talking about practice.”
I would understand Goodell’s reasoning for it if McKinnie had done something unacceptable like sucker punched one of the Saints players and knocked them out of the NFC title game but it was just practice, nothing more.
Second, with McKinnie off the team, that means the NFC only has two offensive tackles in the Giants David Diehl and the Eagles Jason Peters.
In an interview with the Star Tribune, Diehl avoided speaking about the subject and how he felt about the fact that he would play most of the game, but common sense would tell you that the guy is most likely not ecstatic.
It may be a game that not many players take seriously but even if the level of competition is not as high as a regular season game, there is still the possibility of injury and let’s just say that Diehl does not play the lightest position on the field.
Diehl and Peters will both be subjected to an extra, and unnecessary, amount of physical pressure and force.
What if one of them goes down with a freak, career ending injury because they were forced to unnecessarily play the entire Pro-Bowl since McKinnie was booted from the team?
Now I am not saying McKinnie is totally innocent in this whole situation because he should have been at the practices and should not have put Diehl and Peters in the predicament that he did.
Regardless, Goodell could have slapped him with a fine or taken some other sort of disciplinary action rather than dismiss him from the game altogether.
McKinnie was chosen to play and should be able to actually do so and Diehl and Peters should not have to subject themselves to an increased risk of injury that comes with playing the whole game as opposed to some.
Last time I checked Goodell, getting mostly negative coverage on an event that is supposed to be positive is not exactly a success—nice try though.