This article is a continuance of a previous article that you read by clicking the following link:
Almost two years ago, I started writing articles on why I thought that the NFL had violated the rights of players such as Pacman Jones.
I wanted to see some type of justice done. I would like to believe that my efforts spurned readers to start asking questions and that that has had a ripple effect in which previously unknown information became known.
I believed that Jones was a mere microcosm in a rising tide of injustice in employment. That was in spring of 2008, well before the economic meltdown later that year.
I as a blogger have had to make personal sacrifices in this pursuit, which is why some people in the media truly irritate me, because I view them as useless puppets scarfing down doughnuts and railing about the moral decline in pro sports.
Does the thought of some so-called purist that rants about taunting in sports yet stuffs his face with junk food irritate only me? I however have willingly taken a burden, because it was in the greater good.
To reiterate a few details from the previous article in order to provide some context, I pondered what effect that the Georgia investigation of Ben Roethlisberger for sexual assault could have on the civil trial against him in Nevada for sexual assault.
You might read subversive bias in the reports about that suit. For instance, “journalists” have written that the civil suit in Nevada against Roethlisberger have been mere accusations. In truth, the civil suit is on-going civil suit, despite attempts to dismiss.
Defenders will insist (often angrily and incessantly) that the suit is frivolous, and yet, the Georgia investigation may have dramatically changed the perception of reality in the Nevada case.
The sports media continues to iterate a lie by omission about the case, which has led passive observers to think nothing of a serious issue facing Roethlisberger.
After the release of documents that detail the witness accounts from the Georgia bar, I believe that Roethlisberger's has shot to hell his credibility and that he has no chance before a civil jury.
Shoe on the Other Foot
I am sure however, that in the "Terrible Towel" heads of die-hard Steelers fans, Ben Roethlisberger should be allowed to continue his career without punishment, or a slap on the wrist. Considering that Roethlisberger may have disturbed sexual impulses, he might enjoy a slap on the wrist.
Believe me though that I know where you Steelers fans are coming from.
I as a Raider fan once defended former defensive-tackle Darrell Russell, because my team was important than the idea that Russell committed a heinous crime.
Remember him? Russell is a big reason for why NFL fans have ridiculed the Raiders as "thugs," and is an early example for the change in disciplinary policies of Commissioner Goodell.
In what is a significant side-note, the issues relative to Russell, prevented him from playing in the infamous, "Tuck Rule Game."
I can only imagine what the Raiders pass-rush would have done to Tom Brady with Russell. I can only imagine that the few steps lost by Russell's absence were enough for Brady to get away with a pump fake instead of a sack.
I wanted to believe that Russell was innocent, and even though Russell averted conviction—my willful desire to defend the interests of a sports team over the interests of the justice system has been a burden to say the least.
I know what effect that the absence of one great player can have, and how the course of a franchise can significantly change because of it.
I should add to that even though Russell averted conviction, people have referred to him as a rapist regardless, even after his premature death.
And justice for all ... I hope
Simultaneously, NFL players have rights just like anyone else. I do not doubt that many NFL players are troublemakers, but the law should be more important than perceptions and indignation clearly skewed by race.
I do believe that the public mentality against pro-athletes and especially black players (which is now beyond any reasonable doubt thanks to Roethlisberger) has been a mentality of pseudo-proletarianism, in which NFL fans have now convinced themselves that they are the victims of overpaid pro-athletes.
When Pacman Jones was suspended, much of the public declared that it was about time that the NFL acted against "thugs." That the “thugs” flaunted their money and privilege by evasion of charges or indictments after investigation, thus the public believed that Jones and others merely eluded the law because of money and privilege.
That perception has thus damaged the brand of the National Football League.
I believe that has been the intent of the suspensions by Commissioner Goodell. Everyone in the NFL knows what the public does not know about NFL players.
NFL clubs know what they have had to bury in order to protect their brand. Yet, they tire of it. They hate the fact that NFL players continuously push their luck, when it is clearly a fact that the public is willing to "convict" some players for the mere stink of bad or criminal behavior.
Thus, the NFL decided to suspend players that NFL clubs know far more about than the public does.
Three police officers (two from Pennsylvania) meanwhile surrounded Roethlisberger at various times in the Georgia bar. The witnesses depicted an account of officers with an ethical duty to protect and serve, yet those officers did nothing and potentially assisted Roethlisberger. The Georgia officer that investigated the allegations in fact, just recently resigned for his role in the investigation (as he has admitted to derogatory remarks about the plaintiff).
This may be a nuanced answer, but while I have opposed arbitrary suspensions to begin with, NFL fans are not seeing the big picture. If Commissioner Goodell fails to treat Roethlisberger proportionately to other player's he has suspended, it could incur blow-back from the Players Union that could put the NFL is a similar position as the MLB was before the strike back in 1994.
Enough with the Hypocrisy
Today, defenders of Roethlisberger declare that anyone who thinks that Commissioner Goodell should be consistent with his punishments—is crazy, because Roethlisberger averted charges.
Too late—you should have spoken up sooner.
I tire of fans in denial that insist that their favorite players did nothing. Despite the fact that NFL players have enough money to pay off witnesses and plaintiff(s) before their behavior becomes public or a court issue. Enablers that will protect the player from his behavior surround the same players.
If you truly cared about the rights of NFL players, then you should have spoken up when the NFL came for Pacman Jones. Now that the NFL is coming for Ben Roethlisberger, you are now afraid of what you created in order to extract one player under the guise of morality and victim hood.
The problem however for Commissioner Goodell is that his suspensions have damaged his image amongst the Players Union as disproportionately heavy-handed and unfair to black players.
Thus, Commissioner Goodell is in a conundrum where he must pick his poison. Please the fans by doing little against Roethlisberger and thereby angering a Players Union in times of no Collective Bargaining Agreement that will demand changes to the disciplinary policies in the CBA negotiations. Alternatively, Commissioner Goodell can give the same punishment he gave to Pacman Jones, and thereby eviscerate the career of an NFL icon.
If I were Commissioner Goodell, I would eviscerate the career of an icon. Baseball survived even after the steroid scandals of Mark McGwire amongst others. The NFL can survive even with the loss of one icon. The NFL cannot survive however without labor peace.
As I suggested earlier, a verdict against Roethlisberger in Nevada may be inevitable at this point. Is Commissioner Goodell willing to take his chances with the potential blowback against him that that trial could have against him?
The reality is that Roethlisberger "got away" because of NFL wealth and privilege. Many detractors of troubled players like Jones would hide under the guise of class warfare and pseudo-proletarianism—and that Jones was just a spoiled bourgeois brat. Now that Roethlisberger is in hot water, the pseudo-proles chirp only to the sounds of silence.
You tell me. But I know you won't.