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September 19th, 2017

Insight

Goodell Has Got to Go

Bruce Bialosky

By Bruce Bialosky

Published Sept. 15, 2014

 Goodell Has Got to Go
The violent beating that was delivered by Ray Rice, a Baltimore Raven running back, against his girlfriend-turned-wife Janay, was the worst example of male behavior that our society has seen. Rice deserves to go to jail for the assault. This episode is a perfect example of corporate mismanagement by the leadership of the NFL. It is inexcusable. The Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, needs to resign.

You all saw the video of Ray Rice dragging his then-girlfriend out of the elevator. You all figured out she did not just faint. So it did not take much to surmise what went on in the elevator. No one really needed to have the new video tape from inside the elevator to figure out it was basically a two-punch fight. Ray hit Janay; Janay hit the ground.

But now Commissioner Goodell has multiple versions of what happened. He tried -- tried so hard -- to get the video from the elevator and just could not. No one believes that. And now we have recorded proof the NFL received the video. Goodell met with Rice and Rice told him he punched her – no he slapped her. She’s my sister; she’s my daughter; she’s my sister; she’s my daughter. Goodell’s latest story is he did not pursue the situation out of respect for Janay. She said it was partially her fault she got a fist to the face. Is Goodell that clueless about domestic violence he can actually offer that as a defense?

Goodell knew what went on in that elevator and he willfully neglected the facts. He figured he’d suspend Rice a couple of games; who cares about one of my star players beating up a woman. It will blow over. Things are cool as long as my new Thursday night franchise brings in the ratings. But we do care. Either your league is a model to follow or it is a cravenness pit; decide which you want, commissioner. But as usual the cover-up is worse than the crime. Some two-bit celebrity website exposed you for what you are – a liar and an enabler of women beaters. But now, much like the beheadings of Foley and Sotloff, the world has changed because everyone saw the new video.

Mr. Goodell needs a clear picture. You see we are going to war again against a group of Islamic terrorists. They kidnap women, they rape women, and they force women into marriages. They treat women like chattel. What we do creates women doctors and lawyers and U.S. Senators. We honor women. Though we have not been perfect in the past in our treatment of women, nor are we now, we are constantly striving to improve the status of women and the opportunities that they have in society. That is what we stand for. When Goodell and the NFL condone the actions taken by Ray Rice by not swiftly and appropriately administering justice and then hiding their awareness of his misdeeds, we give credence to the barbarians who we need to eradicate. ISIS and Boko Haram are having a field day with that video thinking that although those Americans talk, look what they actually do to women when money is on the line. Goodell does not get that this is what separates our culture from these barbarians. His condoning of Rice’s actions brings us closer to them.

Now begins the real cover-up. The owners are circling the wagons trying to protect the Commissioner -- who makes them money -- not thinking of the disgrace he brings to the league. They have hired former FBI Director Robert Mueller to head an investigation. The investigation will be supervised by two owners who are scions of long-time owners: the Rooney and Mara families. They will concoct a report stating errors were made and things should change, but no one will be held responsible for the horrendous decisions made already. This is a classic Washington, DC-style whitewash that is only established to protect the guilty.

There is only one end to this situation that is just and right. Roger Goodell gets in front of a microphone and tells everyone he did wrong. It does not matter that Janay now says she loves Ray and that they should be left alone. They all do that. Once a woman is beaten you can pretty well count on the next one happening. Goodell should then resign and let someone come in who will take the stench from the league. Goodell would then have time to immerse himself in Law and Order SVU episodes and learn what beating up on women is all about.

There are more important things than ratings for NFL games. Goodell should have known that and he did not. He has to go.

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Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee.

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