Judge, Jury, and Executioner. Any one of those jobs would be extremely hard to do for any one person, so imagine one person having all three, and then many other duties on top of that. Roger Goodell is convinced that he is one of the unique few who can do it. However, “judging” by how this Bountygate scandal is de-escalating into a quagmire, Goodell may want to re-think that.
I can see why Goodell would want to be the one who determines disciplinary action on the NFL’s players. But when the judgment is appealed, it makes no sense for Goodell to be the same person who rules on the appeal. The process is not fair. Why waste time mounting an argument for an appeal, when the person hearing the appeal is the same person who determined your punishment in the first place? It seems to be an exercise in futility.
Is it realistic to believe that this same person is going to undermine their own decision-making, and run the risk of having to publicly call into question their own judgment? It’s no surprise to me why the players accused of wrongdoing in the Bountygate case and their lawyers didn’t mount much of a defense in appeal, because their participation in the process seemed to be nothing more than a mere formality in a pre-determined outcome.
The NFL’s appeals process appears to be only additional precautions in place to protect itself against litigation. Basically it exists just so the NFL can say at least it has some sort of appeals process in place. Whether the process is fair or not seems to be inconsequential. It seems that Roger Goodell doesn’t believe that he can ever be wrong in his judgment. But what if hypothetically, he is wrong?
If a person’s reputation is called into question and potentially damaged by alleged accusations stated publicly as fact by the NFL, shouldn’t an outside entity with no pre-determined agenda and no axe to grind on either side be in position to determine the truth of it all? Why would the all-powerful NFL be afraid of having their decisions scrutinized, if those decisions were truly arrived at in a fair and impartial manner?
Some would argue the point that since this process is conducted by the NFL and not in a court of law, that the process doesn’t necessarily have to be fair, and the accused should just blindly accept their punishment and move on. Well maybe if the NFL conducted the process privately and not through the media, then maybe the accused would be more apt to accept the NFL’s judgment.
But once the NFL started naming names and pointing fingers publicly at its own employees, then it was only natural that the accused started pointing fingers back. And now what appeared to begin as a slam dunk, open and shut case, has devalued into a tit for tat, he said / she said quagmire. And in its exuberance to show the guilt of those accused, the NFL appears to be making mistakes along the way, and showing that as I’ve said before, they appear to be wallowing in the same pit of mud as those they profess to judge.
Roger Goodell has stated that he will not turn the NFL’s brand and reputation over to someone who isn’t associated with it. However, in taking that stance the NFL runs the risk of damaging its own brand and reputation by refusing to admit when it makes a mistake in judgement. Your judgement can be bolstered and validated when an outside entity determines that you acted properly. If they find your judgement was flawed, at least you can say you participated in a process that was as fair as possible.
But when you play the role of Judge, Jury, and Executioner and refuse to acknowledge that your judgment might be flawed, then that amounts to nothing more than a dictatorship. Maybe there was a time when Roger Goodell should have had absolute power, but I seem to remember an old saying about absolute power, and I hope it never applies to Roger Goodell.
- Spontaneous Combustion: Did the fans really want to know about Bountygate? (fanonfiresportswire.com)
- Spontaneous Combustion: Are we witnessing the death of the NFL? (fanonfiresportswire.com)
- Ryan Clark Tried To Warn Everyone About The Absolute Power Of Roger Goodell (steelersdepot.com)
- Jonathan Vilma Has Strong Defamation Case Against Roger Goodell (bleacherreport.com)