Silence on Peterson could hurt Commissioner more than Rice case

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As the Vikings tripped and skipped and clumsily changed course while trying to balance the post-Rice reality of the NFL with the desire to get something in return for the millions to be paid to a face-of-the-franchise player, the league office had nothing to say publicly.

Well, not nothing.  The league office said over the weekend that the child-abuse charges against Adrian Peterson would be reviewed under the personal-conduct policy.  Other than that, crickets.

While in recent years the league office has been willing to empower teams to fashion remedies for rough situations, failure to say or do anything (other than to say the case would be reviewed) in the wake of the release of evidence making it obvious that (1) Peterson did what he’s accused of doing and (2) the pictures of the injuries to his four-year-old son were hard to look at, the league office stuck its head in the sand.

On one hand, it confirms that the league office has reacted to the Ray Rice fiasco by adopting a siege mentality.  On the other hand, it has created a reality in which the league office allowed the Vikings to bumble and fumble their way through a maze of mirrors, harming if not destroying the franchise’s credibility and creating a league-wide problem that, in the wake of the team’s initial decision to let Peterson return, eclipsed the coverup-is-worse-than-the-crime scandal that emerged last week when the Rice video surfaced.

Setting aside the question of whether the not-so-independent investigation by Robert Mueller or the Ray Rice appeal or some other vehicle will generate evidence that triggers a decision by the owners to change Commissioners, the lingering inability of the Commissioner to be the Commissioner could result in a decision by the owners to change Commissioners.

While obvious that Roger Goodell couldn’t attend the first regular-season game ever at Levi’s Stadium, it was nevertheless stunning that the Commissioner of the NFL couldn’t attend an NFL game.  Now, with no public words or actions from the Commissioner in connection with media, fan, and sponsor reaction that cried out for visible leadership, the owners have to wonder whether they still actually even have a Commissioner.

Ditto for the Panthers, who are grasping and flailing their way through the Greg Hardy case, with no public comment or action from the league office.  Ditto for the 49ers, who are forced to continue to defend their decision to let Ray McDonald play his way through a domestic violence investigation with no words of support from 345 Park Avenue.

It creates a clear impression that the Commissioner consciously is avoiding any situation for which he could be further criticized, especially where the facts have any similarity to the Rice case.  At some point, it could result in the owners realizing that, regardless of how things got to this point, a new Commissioner is needed simply because the current Commissioner can’t currently be the Commissioner.

44 responses to “Silence on Peterson could hurt Commissioner more than Rice case

  1. Or he decided that no matter what he will be viewed as the bad guy and that teams / owners should make decisions too and deal with the fallout. The 49ers are not FORCED to defend anything and anybody, ditto the Panthers and the Vikings. If Goodell tell them what to do, everybody will jump down his throat that he is a dictator. Let the owners take the heat for a change

  2. It is disgusting that trolls like McDonald and Hardy are playing now (I know Hardy sat out a game – big whoop).
    This notion that if you are a “good” player, you can just do anything, has got to stop. Any “normal” person would be fired outright by any employer for this stuff.
    The only way any policy filters to ALL players is to be consistent. The NFL and the teams have proved, again and again, that they are anything but consistent.
    Sit the trolls until they clear all “due process”. If they don’t clear “due process”, cut them.
    Simple really.

  3. Goodell has no credibility and can no longer effectively perform his duties as Commissioner. He must go.

  4. If the commissioner would just be consistent on punishment for each type of offense then this wouldn’t be a problem. He dug his own hole. Luckily he has padded it with billions to his bosses.

  5. The players union should probably step in at some point. While they clearly can’t support domestic violence, they have a CBA that outlines rules for player punishment and due process, and negative media attention to the league is probably not on a list of exemptions.

  6. I used to compare Goodell to the Emperor from Star Wars, but I read a comment yesterday that pretty much summed it all up. He is now more like a President on 24.

  7. Goodell was done last Monday (release date of the tape). Just a matter of time before he is removed.

  8. I don’t like the guy, but we have no idea what calls he or the league office are making in private. To say he is leaving these teams dangling is speculation.

  9. Bad decisions by leadership is better than absolutely no leadership at all. What we are seeing is a league paralyzed by fear, with a commissioner having been neutered by the press, by the fans and the longer he hangs on the worse off it will be for everyone else.

    Instead of the General taking heat for his decisions, his lieutenants (the teams) are left to awkward flail about causing ill-will towards them and uneven policies being applied across the league. If statistics bear out, it will only be a week or two before another player is arrested. What then?

    To turn the page, you must truly turn the page – Goodell should resign. Regardless of who is hired, an independent NFL “grand jury” if you will should be hired, jointly approved by the Union & League who will have the discretion of meteing out punishment for various incidents on & off the field. None of this single judge/jury/executioner nonsense.

    While the league is a private company, seeing as how they are tax-exempt, rely on taxpayer funded stadiums, the public is necessarily a stakeholder in the league thus more transparency is needed to get past this.

    Goodell just end the disgrace your employer is going through

  10. I think Roger’s hanging out with and receiving advice from Lennay Kekua until this all blows over…

  11. How much does Goodell get paid to run and hide from this issue? What a wonderful opportunity to show some leadership. Too bad the man doesn’t have it in him to address these issues head on.

  12. this is all by design…Roger The Dodger is hideing in his bunker on the advice of his crisis mgmt team while they figure out what to do…they get paid alot on money to do this as pathetic as it is…

  13. Not an apologist for Goddell by any stretch, but the guy is running a multi-billion dollar company. Taking some time to rethink the leagues plan for handling arrested but not yet convicted employees is reasonable. Can not believe he’s not in serious conversations w/ their lawyers and owners to discuss how to proceed. The siege mentality may simply be circling the wagons until a comprehensive/thoughtful plan is put out (having learned from Rice situation).

  14. I think Goodell has adopted this strategy:

    “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain

  15. Goodell already got screwed by one team front office…when Ozzie Newsome pulled out that lame “Ray Rice didn’t lie” nonsense. Why would he put himself out there again??

  16. I’m not Goodell fan, but he’s kind of in a no win situation here. If he stay silent, then he is hiding from the cases and abandoning the ownership that pays his salary. If he comes out and takes a hardline stance against players going through the legal process, then he is denying players due process and the first one that is acquitted of charges turns into a dumpster fire and law suit. If he comes out and defends allowing players to play during criminal investigations then the NFL doesn’t care about the crimes players are committing. If he picks and chooses based upon available facts and a player word, then he is giving preferential or inconsistant treatment.

    He’s gone with, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove any doubt.” I really can’t blame him. Once something else happens in the world this will all be a distant memory anyway.

  17. We need to put up flyers and place him on milk cartons. I’m genuinely concerned about Goodell.

  18. This is what happens when the league decides to police all actions of the players. It started with Mike Vick and now has become a monster. Goodell apparently believed that he could shoot from the hip on everything and now all the subtleties are bringing him down. Now the league will soon be forced to remove him because he and his style have become the issue.

  19. “It creates a clear impression that the Commissioner consciously is avoiding any situation for which he could be further criticized, especially where the facts have any similarity to the Rice case.”

    Good grief, can you blame him? No matter what he does or doesn’t do he’s getting the smackdown. And I don’t even like Goodell. Go figure.

  20. I would say that under the current circumstances where the media is vilifying the league no matter what they do, letting the case play out is probably the only thing they can do.

    There is a precedent.

    They let Aldon Smith’s case finish, they let Irsay’s case finish, they let Rice’s case finish. So by letting the other 3 finish they are staying constant with what they have been doing.

    That being said, they aren’t at fault because the Vikings are perceived to have bungled something, nor are they at fault because the 49ers and Panthers are perceived the same way. The teams should be doing the reacting before the case is finished, the league the punishment after.

  21. You don’t have to be a PR pro to know bad PR when you see it. But I am a PR pro, and the first rule of crisis management is get out in front of things. The second rule is be proactive. The third rule is speak clearly with one voice. The fourth rule is control the message. I am seeing zero evidence of any of this from the NFL. And since they are bound to have some very well paid publicists with some incredible resumes, odds are that right now, any suggestions about how to move forward are being shot down from above.

  22. All of which leads me to state my new policy on NFL policies. I’m done with them. I don’t understand them, don’t trust them. Don’t believe they are effective. Don’t feel they are consistent or credible.

    The NFL’s policies on player misconduct and substance abuse and performance-enhancing substances make the league’s tie-breaker procedures seem clear by comparison. They make their instant replay rules seem plain and simple. They are more inconsistent than their roughing-the-passer rulings, more questionable than their pass interference penalties.

    The NFL needs a massive instant replay review of all of its policies.

  23. The NFL admits they got it wrong with Rice, then DAYS LATER, they fail to take quick and decisive action when a similar situation happens. It’s terribly poor optics and demonstrative of the old boys club that the NFL has become. The NFL has failed by not announcing Adrian’s suspension for the rest of the season, and/or the Vikings have failed by not cutting Adrian once the indictment came down and the photos came to light for an offense that is more serious than what Ray Rice did.

    Now, cue the baby mamas coming to Adrian’s defense, because the possibility that they’re about to lose their meal ticket is growing.

  24. Lol. The guy is untouchable. Just like the president. They could literally murder someone right in front of you and not be in trouble. NFL is about a close to the government as you can get.

  25. Honestly, how many real football fans, not just drive by fans who watch on occasion but die hard fans, actually care how Goodell does anything aside from changing the rules? Was I mad that Ray Rice only got suspended for 2 games? No. I was mad that Josh Gordon was suspended for a season for doing something not nearly as bad. Unlike the media, I am not rooting for everyone to fail either. AP deserves his day in court and there is no reason to hear Goodell’s opinion on anything. If I were him, I’d say no further comment until the case is done. After all, the same media crying that Goodell isn’t talking is the same media that got mad when Big Ben was suspended WITHOUT a trial.

    Just give me my darn foobtall on Sundays so I can forget about my 9-5 that I deal with 5 days a week, the economy, my job and every other thing that football distracts people from. Keep your social activism out of it.

  26. The Commissioner of Baseball immediately handed down a 7 game suspension and half-million dollar fine to a player who grabbed his OWN crotch

    The Commissioner of Football has issued no substantial statements or taken any action regarding Peterson’s whipping of a 4 YEAR OLD’S crotch while Peterson extends his paid vacation


  27. The old saying, ‘The Rich aren’t like you and me’ is true. They live in a consequences free world. They have a staff of lackeys that take the heat and do the dirty work for them. They truly do no ‘get it’. They have no concept of how the real wold works or how the vast majority of people live and function. This whole mess in the NFL and its teams should really not be surprising to anyone. Money does change a person. Gobs of money warps a person and their world view. You’re seeing it play out on a national stage.

  28. As much as I don’t like Obama…at least when he avoids a crisis you SEE HIM on the golf course or at a fundraiser..He might not be “leading” when needed during an emergency, but you know where he is…

    Goodell on the other hand, has anyone even seen him? Are we sure he is still alive? WORST PR move ever! Show your face Goodell you are looking like a coward!

    He REALLY needed to go like 2 weeks ago.

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