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|Goodell holding court|
So Roger Goodell, what's that like being judge and jury?
What's that? I should have asked Al Davis in his dealings with Pete Rozelle. I should have asked Dale Brown in his dealings with the NCAA. I should have asked Bowie Kuhn regarding Pete Rose.
Well, that was before social media came along and changed the way certain things are perceived.
Unlike Rose, Brown and Davis, New Orleans Saints fans are getting both sides of Bountygate. Even if your side is still hard to figure out.
The problem here, Roger, is that this case is being played out before the nation. Ask O.J. Simpson how that works.
Judge Joe Brown would be laughing your tail all the way back to New York.
First and foremost the Saints were wrong. Or, better yet, the Saints were caught and didn't give in to the pressure.
They became the scapegoat. Even though there are plenty of more goats coming out of the woodwork. Each week brings another story or example. Cris Carter just came out saying he had bounties on players he thought were trying to hurt him.
How about this from Rex Ryan's book, "Play Like You Mean it."
"Each game we might also designate an opposing player with a dot," Ryan wrote. "Players don't want to be dotted by the New York Jets, because that means we want that dude knocked out of the game. Of course, it has to be legal and by the book. We don't play dirty, and no way will we intentionally hurt a player with an illegal, cheap shot. We dot players fair and square. There are players out there who think they are badasses, and you just might see two of our players knock the hell out of him. Pow! Pow! That's our mentality. Everything we do is aggressive and, hey, we may make a mistake, but we will go one hundred miles per hour and we will knock the hell out of you. Big hits create turnovers. You haven't been Punked — you've been Dotted!"
NFL spokesman Greg AIello responded with this statement to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
"As we have noted previously, we did speak to players and coaches on other teams after several statements were made to the media relating to similar activity at other places where Gregg Williams coached," Aiello wrote. "There were no such reports pertaining to the Jets and Rex Ryan in his book does not suggest that he encouraged any prohibited conduct. In fact, he stated the exact opposite."
John Grisham would have fun with that one.
By the way, I picked that book back up and read the chapter over again. Also included in the book was this from Rex on his father, Buddy Ryan, who was considered one of the top defensive coaches in the league years ago.
"He coached the Eagles in the so-called Bounty Bowl in 1989, when he was accused of offering a reward to any Philadelphia player who injured Cowboys kicker Luis Zendejas," Rex wrote. "'I wouldn't want to hurt to hurt him,' my father told the media. 'He couldn't kick, I wanted to be sure he was in there.' (Zendejas left the game with a concussion after being tackled.)"
Maybe Sean needs to write another book.
The Picayune also brought up the NFC Conference title game that turned on a fumbled punt in overtime, and afterward some Giants special teams players said the turnover was a dividend they actively sought. 49ers backup return man Kyle Williams has suffered concussions - the injury at the very heart of much of the growing litigation the NFL faces - and he wound up muffing one punt return and then making the critical fumble.
After the game, Giants rookie linebacker Jacquian Williams said, "the thing is, we knew he had four concussions so that was our biggest thing, to take him out of the game." Devin Thomas, who recovered Williams' miscues, echoed that theme.
"He's had a lot of concussions," Thomas said. "We were just like, 'we've got to put a hit on that guy.'"
When questions were raised about the Giants' apparent strategy, the Gaints backpedaled a bit, insisting no one targeted an opponent or deliberately sought to injure anyone. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello e-mailed The New York Times that distinction was sufficient.
"Players are held accountable for their actions on the field," Aiello wrote. "There were no illegal hits to the head or neck area against Kyle Williams on Sunday. There was no conduct by the Giants of any kind that would suggest an effort to injury Kyle Williams in any way."
Yeah right, Greg. And Pierre Thomas was not the recipient of a vicious hit in another playoff game that had him taken out of the game. Oh wait, the Saints were the ones supposedly trying to do that.
I'm all for player safety.
And I was all for making the Saints pay. But now too many questions marks have arisen and it's obvious the NFL is lacking the kind of proof it needs for the type of punishments it handed down.
The uproar would not have been so bad if Sean Payton and Johnathan Vilma were not having to sit out the entire season. Four or five games would have gotten the message across.
But Goodell has opened up a can or worms talking about a can of — well, you know, the kind Stone Cold Steve Austin used to talk about.
Hey, for that matter, Jerry Stovall was wrong when he took over as head football coach of LSU in 1980 and said, "We're going to put a yellow helmet on their earhole."
Block High head football coach Benny Vault Jr. has his players bring a piece of wood out when running onto the field to "bring the wood."
Hey Benny, is that Roger Goodell climbing those steep steps to the Taliefero press box?
The fun part is still to come. Every hard hit this fall will be overanalyzed and questions will arise over each hard tackle.
But at least the Saints have been punished.
Here comes the judge was a hilarious skit performed by comedian Flip Wilson.It's still funny today. But Flip has been replaced by Roger.
|Frank Morris Murder Series|