Sometimes I wonder what the criteria are for being censored on Pro Football Talk are… besides what NBC has told me when I have written in seeking clarification, since about three out of every five posts I make seem to vanish into the abyss of the internet. According to NBC, moderating comments is not an exact science (no kidding), but they look for the following criteria… curse words, attacks on others, religious and other non-football posts, and external links are all criteria for getting a post to PFT deleted. That seems like pretty solid criteria to me, and is very consistent with what we use at GiR.
So how does this relate to the subject?
This morning Mike Florio of PFT wrote a post stating that, instead of criticism, Commissioner Roger Goodell actually deserves a raise. As you can imagine, most of the seventy-plus comments currently showing up are rather critical of Florio, and most are critical of Goodell as well. What I wrote was very close to the following:
I just lost a lot of respect for you, Mike. You have said a lot of things on your site over the years that I have disagreed with, but this is the least founded yet…
I went on to say, as I said on this site yesterday, that I thought Goodell should resign. I did so without curse words, personal attacks, religious or political commentary, or any third party link. Yet my post was immediately deleted by NBC, despite the presence of posts at least as strong as the one I wrote.
I will start by saying that I love PFT, and find it to be an excellent source of news and inspiration. But since Mike Florio’s NBC crew doesn’t find it appropriate for me to comment on his opinions on the site they control, let’s review his commentary on a site that we control.
At 8:48 am EDT, Florio posted an article entitled, “Goodell deserves a raise, not ridicule“. This brief article (with accompanying video) stated that Commissioner Goodell was serving more as a minion of the owners than a steward of the game with regard to the official’s lockout, and that criticism should really be directed to the owners who held up real negotiations (my phrasing).
Then at 1:32 pm EDT, apparently in response to some of the criticism generated from his first posting, Florio felt the need to justify his position. His second article (“Owners skirt blame for officials debacle“) focused on what a difficult position Goodell is in by having to provide cover to the thirty-two owners. And thus, Goodell still deserves a raise.
I am thinking that Mike Florio is missing the point, and since I am apparently not allowed to explain it at PFT, I will inflict it on our readers (yes, both of you).
Florio is correct in asserting that Goodell has a tough job in representing thirty-two guys who can afford to wipe with hundred dollar bills. I get that, and I get that working for people like that would be no picnic. So fine… he did the owners a favor by taking the heat and being a convenient villain.
But Florio errs in placing all of the responsibility for this mess on the owners. While the owners were the ones fighting to hold on to every dollar that they could, it was the Commissioner’s agenda to make the accountability of officials a central issue, at a horrible time. You want to talk about accountability? Fine, then do so with enough advance notice to the officials that it is not bogging down a negotiation as the camps open, as the pre-season games are played, or as the first three weeks of the year are entered into the books. Because of his poor negotiation strategy, Goodell achieved only a fraction of his stated agenda, because he had destroyed trust with the Referee’s Association. It’s impossible to negotiate in good faith if you don’t believe that the “other side” is negotiating in good faith, and that is the dynamic that Roger Goodell created.
Second, and far more importantly, Goodell committed a horrific situation for players, coaches, and fans by failing to adequately plan for a lockout. The league saw this situation coming a long time ago, and it was Roger Goodell’s responsibility, not that of the owners, to work to line up qualified officials in the event of a work stoppage or lockout. By failing to do that, Goodell and his own minions had to scramble to throw warm bodies onto the field, including people who were not deemed qualified enough to officiate for the freaking Lingerie Football League. Seriously.
Therefore, it is the fault of the Commissioner, not the owners directly, that the brand of NFL football was compromised and the integrity of the game cast aside. The league would have been able to weather a lockout far better had the Commissioner planned in advance for what some were warning was an inevitable lockout of the officials. As a result, the outcomes of multiple games were gently or heavily influenced by people who had no business being on the field officiating a game. But Mike Florio glosses over these points just because Roger Goodell works for a bunch of rich pains in the asses.
Florio stated in the second article that his intent was to make his readers think. I can see his perspective on this. But for Florio to come out so strongly for the Commissioner and blame the owners, while giving Goodell a pass on the things he could and should have done, strikes me as strange at the very least. In my view, letting the Commissioner off of the hook is inexcusable. Roger Goodell controlled the preparations that the league did or did not make, and he chose to push an agenda item that served to help stall talks and diminish trust. Saying he deserves a raise is ridiculous; Roger Goodell has loss the confidence of many players and many more fans, particularly when you add his mishandling of the player lockout in 2011, his unequal treatment of player discipline, and his botching of the Saints’ bounty case . Roger Goodell may well have job security through the end of this decade, but he should still step down as NFL Commissioner. It won’t happen, but it should.