Watching NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell squirm a little during O’Donnell’s interview of him regarding the violent Ray Rice / fiancée incident, on CBS this week was, shall I say, uncomfortable. Not only was Mr. Goodell noticeably flushed, but I lost count of the number of times he blinked during specific questions fired at him on whether anyone at the NFL had seen the more graphic video of Rice’s brutal attack.
Seriously….I didn’t know someone could blink that many times…nor that fast. Was it the hot TV lights….or was it something else? At the very least…Goodell’s body language seemed to demonstrate a man under a great deal of stress.
In review of the O’Donnell/Goodell CBS interview….Goodell flatly denied that anyone at the NFL had seen or had access to the videotape released by TMZ last week. There was no vacillation in his answer whatsoever…as it should be…straightforward and to the point….that is as long as the answer one is giving is truthful. Something we don’t see all that much coming from our current sports world these days.
And, as so often happens, a news report came out this afternoon (from the Associated Press), Source Says Rice Video Sent to NFL, contradicting the Goodell interview.
In that piece an unnamed law enforcement official states “that he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago…”. In addition….his statement was further supported by “a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: ‘You're right. It's terrible.’”
As spectators, and as usual, we are left holding the “bag” as to what really is the truth. It happens with the PED (performance enhancing drugs) scandals that consistently plague our sports headlines, with other unethical and/or unsportsmanlike behavior so often part of our current sports culture, and with unspeakable acts of violence and/or cruelty to other individuals (such as we have here with Ray Rice’s actions). “Bad” choices, sometimes atrocious actions, are becoming much more, well, normal….par for the course….rather than the exception.
From my perspective, there is no debating the vicious act of violence Ray Rice inflicted on his fiancée (now his wife), nor his eventual suspension from the NFL (and any endorsement deals he loses due to his actions). That is as it should be….even though I don’t see how criminal charges shouldn’t be part of this scenario (unless, of course, his wife chooses not to pursue them…which looks likely).
Heck…I am pretty certain I would not be treated, from a legal standpoint, in the same manner had I committed such a criminal assault. And let’s not mince words here…Ray Rice DID commit a criminal assault.
Secondly…I would like to see a little bit more (OK, a h@## of a lot more) character out of those in positions of authority and influence, in our sports world, than what we currently see. It IS important, much more so than some may think.
Bringing me to my last point….or rather question. One I would like Roger Goodell to ponder and then ask himself standing right in front of a mirror (without TV cameras or reporters)…that is…were you, or anyone in the NFL organization, aware of what was on that TMZ videotape (whether actually seeing it or not)?
The answer demonstrates the level of character, or lack thereof, you yourself possess. And keep in mind, before you answer, that development of good character in any organization must always start at the top…just sayin!!!
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