By David G. Firestone
Another long one, got a lot of ground to cover. The NFL season is over, and the New England Patriots are the champions. I can only say, thank God! I am so sick of hearing about all the crap concerning the NFL this season. Every sport has its controversies in a season, but the NFL has had more disasters this year, that the Kennedy Family has had in the last 50.
The huge story was, of course, Ray Freakin’ Rice! He beat his wife unconscious in an elevator, and then dragged her out of said elevator. He received a suspension of…wait for it…two games?!?!? Once the story went viral, the NFL reluctantly issued an apology for the lax penalty. Roger Goodell, who, when he took over as commissioner, made it clear he would clean up the league and not tolerate anything lets a wife beater basically miss two weeks of work. Then he tried to say that the NFL never saw the video of the incident, which is laughable at best. The Ravens released him, and it’s safe to say, he’s seen his last NFL game.
The ink wasn’t fully dry on Ray Rice, when Adrian Peterson got arrested and charged with child abuse. The charges in question stem from an incident where he hit his son with a switch to punish him. For those who don’t know, a switch is a long thin stick used as a spanking tool on an unruly child. For a while it looked looked like the NFL was going to go easy on him, but thanks to sponsors threatening to pull money, Peterson was suspended for the remainder of the season. I also have to call out the Vikings on this one, because the fact that he openly showed a lack of remorse, and wasn’t as willing to work with the NFL as he should have been. He made himself look very guilty with the attitude and the whole “not attending a meeting” matter. Dump him and find someone better.
You know what, let’s get the player issues out of the way, Josh Gordon was suspended for violating the substance abuse policy, specifically, for testing positive for marijuana. Marijuana is legal in 2 states, medicinally legal in over 20 states, and yet Josh Gordon got a harsher suspension than Ray Rice. Greg Hardy and Jonathan Dwyer were both accused of domestic abuse, Hardy dragging his ex girlfriend around and throwing her onto a sofa, Dwyer headbutted his wife, and broke her nose. The playoffs had one of these, Marshawn Lynch had to be threatened with a $500,000 fine to talk to the media on media day.
The worst offender, by far, was Aaron Hernandez. Accused of three murders, one in Connecticut, and two in Massachusetts. He is the accused, not a witness, not a bystander, not an accomplice, but the man who pulled the trigger. He went from respected NFL player to murder suspect. He was released by the New England Patriots, who were so embarrassed, they held a jersey exchange, later copied by the Ravens with Ray Rice.
Team front offices had their share of issues too. The Michael Sam issue is a perfect example. He is an openly gay player, who was eligible for the draft. He was picked in the 7th round by the Rams, though he was released before the season started. Sources later leaked a series of comments of anti-gay comments that were attributed to team front offices. It is clear from these statements that many team owners don’t want to accept the fact that gays are people, and that players can have talent, no matter what their sexual orientation is. It’s pretty archaic, to say the least.
Colts owner Jim Irsay was arrested for DUI in October. In addition to $29,000 cash, he had numerous prescription bottles in his car. He later was found to have hydrocodone, oxycodone, and Xanax in his system at the time of his arrest. Already an outspoken owner, the league suspended him for six games, four more than Ray Rice, and fined him $500,000, $500,000 more than Ray Rice was penalized.
Someone please explain to me how the NFL can be a non-profit organization…how can that be? This is obviously a group dedicated to profits, and yet, they don’t pay taxes. Roger Goodell makes $44.5 million PER YEAR, and this season has been embarrassing to say the least. At least the teams could pay cheerleaders more, and treat them with some respect. I know it’s radical, bit it works.
The one aspect which I personally covered was the fact that Washington has a football team called “Redskins.” It is a pure racial slur. Many Native American groups have demanded that the slur not be used by the team. Many other groups are demanding the same thing, yet Dan Snyder refuses to change the name of the team. He claims that the name is a tribute, and that it’s tradition, both of which are total nonsense. It offends people, stop using it.
I saved the best for last, Delfategate! During the AFC Championship, it was discovered that 11 of the 12 footballs on the Patriots side were deflated. Deflated footballs are easier to throw and catch, and clearly it seemed to give the Patriots an advantage. So it can be said that they did cheat. Above and beyond that, the rule is that the officials inspect the footballs, and then sign off, and give them to the trainers, which seems shady by itself, but it came to light that the footballs were never inspected for the AFC Championship. Way to let everyone down! Openly cheating to win games really is the Patriot way.
It seems as though when one PR disaster struck the NFL, Goodell find room to put another foot in his mouth. Either he under-reacts or doesn’t react at all. It is amazing that the NFL is willing to keep him on. He is clearly not focused on the right things, he doesn’t properly address programs, won’t admit he made mistakes, or does admit it, albeit reluctantly, and has been equated with Gary Bettman for incompetent sports commissioners. Get rid of him, save $44.5 million a year, and get someone better.
I’m not done being mad, because I’m mad at something else. Since the middle of December, I haven’t been able to write about driver suits or racing memorabilia as I’ve been covering these news stories that come out at this time of year. I’m sick of not writing about what I want to as opposed to what I think I have to write about. So, I’m making an immediate change. From this point forward, only season previews, recaps, and paint scheme awards will be on Fridays. Mondays will feature My Thoughts On, and News and Notes, which will cover these stories. Fridays will feature memorabilia articles and driver suit articles. I want to write about these, and I’m going to. Also, there will be, in a few weeks, a new season of Introduction To Sports Memorabilia will start, and there will be new episodes on Thursday. Non-racing videos will be features on DGF2099, and racing videos will be on both The Driver Suit Blog and DGF2099. They will run on Thursday.