Ray Rice Update : Goodell Invokes Obama Defense, Tips Hand
Like it or not, TMZ and their competitors have found out that dirt on professional athletes sells as good as dirt on celebrities, so prepare for the deluge. Now comes the game of public relations, as played in today’s multimedia world, and Roger Goodell is taking a page from the federal government. I would not be surprised if it later comes to light that the NFL has brought in the spin masters from Washington.
Goodell has set up multiple lines of defense, like any good beleaguered bureaucrat. First was a low key response to the sentencing Rice received from New Jersey courts, where Goodell intentionally tried not to draw any more attention to the case than was necessary by issuing a short suspension. Next was a co-opting of the Obama “I had no prior knowledge (of the video). I just heard about that on the news” defense. Unfortunately for Goodell, the media sharks already smelled the raw meat – rich pro athlete set up to fall – and the prez’ bread and butter isn’t gonna fly. Then you saw the overreach (indefinite suspension), which he hoped would quell all criticism due to its severity. Not in today’s world, my friend.
So now the NFL is taking another page from the Obama administration, which those of you will remember as appointing an investigator for one of his scandals who was a big donor to the Obama campaign. In similar fashion, the NFL is having team owners oversee the “independent investigation”.
The table is now set:
· Independent prosecutor with a big name (Former FBI director Mueller) chosen to give credibility to the investigation.
· NFL will more than likely now hamstring said prosecutor with oversight from team owners. Witnesses will be coached on what to say, and owners may restrict access to Goodell and or individuals close to him, so that culpability cannot be proven
· Sets up an outcome of “some of our personnel saw the video but it did not make it to the commish’s office” if public won’t buy the line of “we were told we couldn’t have the video.”
But make no mistake, the Independent investigation also allows owners to throw out Goodell without egg on their face, should the public outcry become too great, or Mueller uncover significant damning evidence in his investigation. This is key – the beast (the NFL) must live on, unencumbered by the mistakes of its employees.
The wildcards here are 1.) time, as people tend to lose interest in these things over long periods, especially if things get boring for a while, and 2.) an equally outrageous issue starts to carry the top headline (Adrian Peterson child abuse case?).
I love how the game of football involves so much strategy, don’t you?
Tim Ruddy played for the Miami Dolphins from 1994 to 2003, after completing his career at Notre Dame (1990 to 1994) and from time to time shares his views on the game of football. Tim, not only excelled on the football field but also in the classroom achieved a 4.0 his junior and senior year while studying mechanical engineering at Notre Dame. Tim is the text book example of a student athlete and a person who looked at his football career as the start of his career not his whole career. His work ethic and dedication to the classroom as well as the football field is something that should be emulated by every young football players throughout the country.