NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did something I really respect; and then he didn’t.
On Aug. 28, the commissioner sent a letter to the NFL’s 32 owners in which he admitted that he “didn’t get it right” when he assessed a mere two-game suspension for a player who was seen on videotape to be involved in domestic abuse. I admire his admission. (The player later would be suspended indefinitely from the league following additional evidence in the incident)
Unfortunately, the commissioner accompanied his mea culpa by describing a series of initiatives the league will undertake, one of which – once again – attempts to deflect a public relations disaster upon high schools.
When the NFL was under attack for the head trauma its players were experiencing, the league responded with a state-by-state campaign to impose youth concussion laws which, in most places, were mostly unfunded mandates that are more about symbolism than substance.
Now, again under attack for malfeasance by a workforce with more money than maturity, the league’s leadership is deflecting the blame to college, high school and youth football programs by planning educational efforts aimed at those levels.
Commissioner! Clean up your mess, but leave us alone. You are gutting public support of school sports with one televised game Thursday, three on Sunday and another on Monday, and adding Saturday games in December. Don’t have this out-of-control league lecture our level about restraint and responsibility.
Ours is the level that prohibits sack dances and end zone prances. We insist that our interscholastic players demonstrate maturity that the NFL’s players do not.