Where is that dictator like Commissioner Roger Goodell hiding in such a time of crisis?
I remember back just a few months ago when he was handing out a three eights of a season long suspension to a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who hadn’t been convicted of anything. Now he’s letting a guy get a D.U.I. while on probation, Braylon Edwards, then just five days later play in a rivalry game on Sunday night prime time television.
Not to mention Edwards is on probation because he punched LeBron James’ friend in the face. Edwards and the Jets headed to Miami for last Sunday night’s game. You know, Miami , the place where LeBron James resides now. I bet LeBron wanted to give a nice knock to Braylon’s face while he was in town. Lucky for both the NFL and NBA that altercation didn’t happen.
This isn’t a good look for the NFL. And hasn’t Roger Goodell’s stance always been to clean up the league’s image? At least Braylon cleaned up his image a little bit by shaving his Paul Bunyon like beard before their prime time game.
Speaking of hairy situations, an even bigger epidemic seems to be forming during Goodell’s reign. Both players and coaches are breaking NCAA rules, then leaving the NCAA and heading to the NFL to avoid sanctions.
This theory hasn’t been proven, but looking at the facts there seems to be a pattern.
Reggie Bush left the University of Southern California a year early to be drafted in the NFL. He since has not admitted to the allegations of receiving ineligible benefits, but has become the first person ever to win the Heisman Trophy and hand it back to the NCAA. It’s a good PR move, but that broken leg he suffered this year seems to scream karma. Sure, he had to give up his prized possession of the Heisman Trophy, but we all know in his mind and in ours he won the Heisman that year. Even the NCAA won’t recognize someone else as the Hesiman Trophy winner for that season.
Now, let’s fly over to where the Seahawks play and you find Reggie Bush’s head coach at USC, Pete Carroll, now in Seattle . He left USC this past off season to accept the head coaching position for the Seahawks. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this off-season USC received NCAA sanctions and Carroll decided this season rather than any other to accept a head coaching position in the NFL. Why leave a winning program that you built at USC and the California life style to go to muggy Seattle to coach a struggling franchise? I think we all know the answer to that question, and I don't mean the money.
Next, go over to Pittsburgh and you find Maurkice Pouncey. He’s already the starting center for the Steelers in his rookie season. Pouncey’s twin brother stayed in college at the University of Florida while he left early. A story came out during the pre season saying that Maurkice allegedly took $100,000 from an agent before the Gators bowl game against Cincinnati last season.
This is a recurring theme that Roger Goodell is ignoring. This seems to be the perfect place for Goodell to step in and set precedence. Suspend some of the players and coaches involved in these allegations, especially in a case like Reggie Bush and Pete Carroll when the misconduct is backed by NCAA sanctions directly relating to their actions during their time at the University.
Or better yet, don’t let agents involved in bribery of a student athlete represent NFL players any more. And don't allow any coaches involved in bribery of a student athlete become a coach in the NFL.
This problem is in other sports as well, most evidently in the NBA where O.J. Mayo and Tim Floyd left USC to go to the NBA when the first word was rumored about USC 's misconduct about two years ago. To add, Charles Barkley admitted recently that he received benefits when he was at Auburn University nearly 30 years ago.
It sounds like David Stern and Roger Goodell need to have a meeting. Maybe even get all of the professional league’s commissioners to gather and have a “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’s” type meeting. It would only make sense for all of the commissioners to do this anyway in order to address common issues in each others sports and make all of the businesses more successful.
Maybe the strong possibility of a lockout next season has Goodell off his game.
With all the inconsistencies ranging from suspensions without convictions, to convictions without suspensions, to the possible 2011 lockout, to ex-convict Michael Vick being praised for his great play, something is in disarray with the whole decision making process in the NFL and it needs some attention.