Sometimes, the best stuff in a corporate memo is buried at the bottom.
Saturday’s one-pager from Commissioner Roger Goodell to all “Club Executives” and “Club Presidents” purports in its subject line to be about “Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” Included at the bottom of the memo is a clear, albeit indirect, reference to another topic. Goodell addresses the claim made by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores that team owner Stephen Ross offered Flores $100,000 for each game lost in 2019.
“We also take seriously any issue relating to the integrity of NFL games,” Goodell says in the penultimate paragraph of the memo. “These matters will be reviewed thoroughly and independently. We expect that these independent experts will receive full cooperation from everyone associated with the league or any member club as this work proceeds.”
Given what we learned on Friday about the supposedly “independent investigation” conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson regarding the Washington Commanders and team owner Mister Snyder, it’s impossible not to wonder whether Goodell means “independent” as in “let’s figure out the facts and tell everyone the truth and disseminate punishment as warranted” or “let’s hire someone who will help us come up with a way to best cover our asses in the event the crap hits the fan.” In Washington, it CLEARLY was the latter.
Indeed, we will now assume moving forward that, whenever the NFL uses the word “independent” in connection with any type of investigation, it means only that they don’t have someone already on the payroll to do whatever needs to be done in order to protect and advance the best interests of Big Shield and the oligarchs who own its teams, so they need to hire an independent contractor to do it.