Cover-ups, Scandals, and the Commissioner

We’ve all known or assumed that most huge/corporate business has some shady practices and procedures that are in place to either protect the business/brand itself or certain highly ranked individuals when cover-ups, scandals or catastrophic public relation incidents occur.  Many times, these practices and procedures aren’t noticed or made public because of the size of the conglomerate or the scope of the situation.

However, last February 15th, Ray Rice, an NFL running back (formerly with the Baltimore Ravens) was arrested after an altercation between himself and his then fiancée Janay Palmer.  A video was released the next week showing Rice dragging Palmer out of an elevator like a rag doll.  It was very apparent (to me at least) that Rice at some point in the elevator had assaulted Palmer and rendered her unconscious.  Now, some would say “well you didn’t actually see him assault her, just dragging her out of the elevator”.  While this is true, the way in which Rice drags her around shows me that there was no compassion whatsoever for the victim, and clearly that he was of guilt.  Janay Palmer did not look like someone that had just had too much to drink and passed out.  Furthermore, if someone you truly care about has had too much to drink and passed out, you would not drag them, you would carry them and put them someplace to rest and recover.

———-NFL picks up shovel and starts digging now———-

On July 24th, the NFL finally suspended Rice for two games.  Yes, 2 games.  That’s all.  This is the same NFL that just two months after the Rice incident, suspended Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater four games for violating probation stemming from a DUI conviction.  Now I’m not saying that drinking and driving in nothing bad, it is, but physically abusing women is far, far worse.  Especially when football players are some of the biggest, and strongest people on the planet.  Expectedly, this difference in suspension lengths raised waves of outcry from Women’s Rights Groups, NFL players, the Press, and the general public.

On August 28th, Goodell admits “I didn’t get it right” in regards to the Rice suspension in a memo to the NFL owners, and details a new stricter domestic violence policy.  The NFL season began a week later with Rice not participating and seeming to be on track to join the Ravens for their week 3 matchup.  If you were starting to think this was all over and done with, think again.

This past Monday, the 8th of September, TMZ released video footage of that fateful night which included the events that took place inside the elevator.  As I had assumed the footage inside the elevator was pretty graphic.  There is no audio, but the grainy footage clearly shows Rice strike Palmer in the head with a ferocious left hook.  She crumbles to the floor and hits her head on the railing on the way down.  The elevator stops, the doors open, and the dragging commences.

———-The dirt piling up on the shoulders of the NFL and Goodell is increasing rapidly———-

At 11:30am that same Monday, just a few hours after the release of the full video, the NFL released a statement saying that they had not seen the whole thing before that morning.  Let the lies begin.  At 4:45 that afternoon, the Ravens cut Rice from the team and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

The next morning, TMZ reported that the NFL never reached out to the Atlantic City Casino to obtain the surveillance video.  Later that afternoon, TMZ says that it reached out to the NFL before releasing the video but they never heard back from the league.  15 minutes after that report, Goodell had an interview on “CBS Evening News” and stated that he never saw the whole video before Monday morning.  Over the next day and a half Goodell says on multiple occasions that he never saw the video before Monday.  During that time, a few law enforcement agencies had come out and said that the NFL had indeed received the video before Monday; much before, as in the month of April.

Now, this is still an ongoing situation and things can always change, but it seems to me that the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell have a lot of answering to do and a responsibility to make a change.  It will be interesting to see the eventual outcome of this situation.  Will Goodell be forced to resign? Will he step down voluntarily if it is proven that he lied?  Will the NFL make drastic changes in their transparency policy?  We will know at some point, but how long for sure no one knows.