Among the most common qualities great leaders share are supreme competence in what they do and the ability to anticipate and deal with change. They are principled, and their values are consistent. Roger Goodell is none of these things.
I’ve spent my whole adult life surrounded by, working with, studying, and developing leaders. From infantry squad leaders to high ranking government officials and CEOs of Fortune 50 companies, I’ve seen some the best and the worst leaders in the country. The current commissioner of the NFL sits alone on the Iron Throne of incompetence.
Roger Goodell is a disgrace to the league. He is Portnoy’s clown, a caricature of a chief executive. Goodell’s defenders often cite the league’s financial standing as evidence of the commissioner’s accomplishments. They. Are. Not.
Goodell has received undue credit for the league’s financial strength over the past eleven years. Never mind the fact that the NFL was financially sound before he took over, environmental factors have made the NFL the juggernaut it is today. Goodells tenure (2006-present) coincided with the introduction and explosion of social media, live streaming, and a 300% increase in fantasy sports participation in North America alone.
Roger Goodell isn’t a business genius, he is Chauncey the Gardner, a dullard whose success has been coincidental.
Scandal Ridden Tenure
Rather than heaping unwarranted praise on the Commish for where the league is today, we should lay the blame at his feet as to where the league is heading tomorrow.
Truth in lending, I’ve hated Goodell long before he suspended Tom Brady for possibly being “generally aware” that an equipment manager may have done something that the league can’t prove and that science can disprove. This is a man who fines players for wearing the purple cleats to show support for domestic awareness, but is fine with players assaulting their wives and girlfriends off the field. Unless someone leaks the video to TMZ.
Goodell is a tone deaf, thin-skinned hypocrite. From his disgraceful handling of domestic abuse by players, to his inconsistent metering-out of punishment to players and owners, to his grandstanding about integrity of the game and player safety while stonewalling CTE investigations and settlements, abuse of office has been the defining characteristic of his tenure.
Where does Goodell choose to involve himself? Anthem protests. It’s clear that the NFL wants to appear to be the All-American game. You can’t attend one without some sort of display of fealty to the flag and a service member in uniform. But of course, that’s been largely fake too – after all the Department of Defense and the National Guard paid the NFL and its teams more than $12 million dollars for such patriotic displays between 2011 and 2015.
Face of the NFL
The list of great players who are also great people is nearly endless in the NFL. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, JJ Watt. These should be the faces of the NFL, but they’re not. Instead it’s Colin Kaepernick, Ndamukong Suh, Vontaze Burfict, and Prescott’s woman abusing teammate Ezekiel Elliott.
A work stoppage in 2011 that was resolved by Bob Kraft. Plummeting ratings. Hundreds of arrested players. Ndamukong Suh choking an opponent on the field – and not getting fined. This is Roger Goodell’s NFL. It’s past time for him to go.
Jerry Jones is a fraud, but he may also be our only hope. He is not the hero we deserve, but he is the hero we need. Jones has been the commissioner’s greatest champion for years – a lap dog when Goodell was abusing his power to punish Tom Brady without evidence.
But, now that Jones’ newest woman abuser has been suspended for six games, suddenly Jerry is all about reeling in the powers of the commissioner. Suddenly, the arbitrary administration of suspensions is unjust. Suddenly, Jerry thinks we need a change of leadership.
Jerry cares about women. Just last week he proudly proclaimed that the Cowboys had a zero tolerance policy on domestic abuse. I’m sure Greg Hardy’s victim was glad to hear that.
Jones is, however, the kind of selfish, grudge-holding ass who might be able to mobilize 24 largely apathetic owners to block Goodell’s extension. That is doubtful, however, because this group of owners seem content printing their money and wrongly believe that Goodell is the reason they can.
Jerry’s palace coup probably won’t succeed. But, how it plays out will be telling for New England fans. Nobody has been on the receiving end of more horrible decisions and gross abuses of the powers of the commissioner than Robert Kraft and the New England Patriots.
Kraft famously dropped his appeal of the Goodell’s over the top and unjustified punishment after deflategate. In doing so, he infuriated most of his fan base. If he sides against Jones, Kraft will send a loud and clear message that he cares more for the community of billionaires that are the NFL owners than he does for his team and his fans.