How Roger Goodell Became the Biggest Loser in the Ray Rice Situation

DAMAGE+CONTROL%3A+Goodell+has+been+the+focus+of+much+negative+press%2C+as+many+believe+he+had+access+to+the+new+tape+when+he+made+his+initial+ruling.

DAMAGE CONTROL: Goodell has been the focus of much negative press, as many believe he had access to the new tape when he made his initial ruling.

Evan Rogers, Maroon-News Staff

Last Monday, the Baltimore Ravens terminated Ray Rice’s contract and the NFL suspended him indefinitely after TMZ released the video of Rice punching his then-fiancé (now wife) in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino during the offseason. The incident was publicized this summer when a previous video of Rice dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator went viral. At the time, the league had no domestic abuse policy in place and Rice was given a minor suspension of only two games. The public was outraged, wondering how a first offense failed drug test for smoking marijuana was a four-game suspension while beating a woman was only a two-game suspension.

After all of the backlash it received for the initial suspension, the league scrambled to put in place a domestic abuse policy. The NFL ruled that a domestic abuse crime would result in a six game suspension for the first offense and a ban from the league upon second offense. However, the new policy hasn’t really worked out the way the league had planned. The charges against Rice were dropped by his wife so there was no criminal conviction against him. Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was convicted of domestic abuse earlier this year, but he is appealing the ruling and the league hasn’t suspended him. Just a few days after the new policy was put in place, 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested for domestic abuse and is allowed to play until he has a trial.

How Roger Goodell and the league have handled this entire Ray Rice situation has been an embarrassment. They clearly messed up the first suspension by making it too short, but the new video inside the elevator shouldn’t have mattered. What did the league think happened in that elevator? The first video of Rice dragging his unconscious girlfriend should have made it clear that foul play was involved inside of that elevator. Rice told reporters last week that when he met with Goodell this summer, after the initial video came out, he told him exactly what happened inside the elevator. So what additional information did the league need to suspend him longer?

If the new video made that much of a difference, which both the league and the Ravens said it did, why didn’t they try to find it themselves? The incident happened in a casino, where security cameras film every single inch of the establishment. It takes about five seconds to realize that there must be a video camera in that elevator and that the casino had that footage. 

If you’re the commissioner of the NFL, the biggest sports league in America, how can you not get access to that tape and TMZ can? To make matters worse for the league, a few days ago the Associated Press had a report from local law enforcement that said they sent the tape to the NFL months ago. If this proves true, then this can only be classified as a gross oversight or a giant cover-up.  In either scenario, commissioner Roger Goodell looks completely incompetent. If that video was sent to the league office, there is no excuse for it never getting into the commissioner’s hands. If they did see the video at the league office and only chose to alter Rice’s punishment once it went public and they received more backlash from the national media, Goodell should be forced to resign.

Goodell has never been a well-liked commissioner. He added a slew of rules cutting down celebrations that earned the NFL the “No Fun League” nickname. He hasn’t made much progress on reducing concussions and he is pushing for a longer season that would lead to more serious injuries. The drug testing rules have been controversial as we see players suspended for entire seasons for marijuana, yet they still don’t test for HGH. Now, this Ray Rice issue is the straw that may have broken the camel’s back. 

This week there have been countless articles written about firing Roger Goodell, and they all make strong arguments. Add in the Adrian Peterson child abuse story that recently broke and things are only looking bleaker. The bottom line is that after the first two weeks of an exciting NFL season, no one is talking about football.  When the NFL is mentioned, it is regarding domestic violence, child abuse and the gross

negligence of Roger Goodell.