If you scroll though the comments section on yesterday's article about Roger Goodell's crash and burn of a press conference, you will see a few comments arguing that we should just drop the topic completely and focus on football, that the media is made up of morally self-righteous reporters who might be hypocrites, or that the media has a case of tunnel vision citing Hope Solo as an example of another domestic violence case that has gone unreported. While the last option might be true, I have seen numerous articles calling out US Soccer just today. I think the assertion is, perhaps, overstated. I will also say that of course the media is made of self-righteous hypocrites; last I checked, the media was made up of people. That's just a given.
But, I want to take on the first type of assertion that people are making. My thesis is simple: if you care about football and its long-term health, then it is imperative that we keep the NFL's proverbial feet to the flame. The only reasonable conclusion that we can draw from Goodell's action the last few months is that he is incredibly incompetent and not fit to guide the NFL through a delicate situation as we see now. The second he got off script in the Q&A session yesterday, he answered questions in a manner that alienated many people and occasionally in a belligerent manner.
The domestic violence scandal recently has only made it clear how utterly incompetent and ineffective the institution of the NFL is at dealing with issues of a sensitive nature. Moreover, the "plans" that Goodell proposed yesterday were nothing more than boilerplate and vague suggestions. We are used to hearing this sort of rhetoric from authority figures, but usually very little actually comes of it. If Goodell really wanted to take his apology seriously, he would have had concrete actions that the NFL would undertake in the near future. Better yet, he could have talked about what the NFL was already enacting instead of punting the issue until the Super Bowl (when, we should note, the media will likely be focused on, you know, the Super Bowl).
So, we need to force the NFL to more appropriately respond to crises. If we can't trust the NFL to be competent going forward then how can we trust that the NFL is actually in good hands? I like the fact that it is the biggest sport in America. I like that I can walk into a sports bar and be surrounded by every game. I don't want that to go away. And, if people like Goodell continue to screw up every obstacle thrown at them, then the NFL will diminish in size and scope. It's hard to see it now, given how big the game is, but it will happen. Things need to change. Talking about this fact is the best way to bring that about.