The NFL needs complete overhaul; starting at the top

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

The NFL has had a rough couple weeks; to say the least. Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and league commissioner Roger Goodell have exposed the NFL as a broken and flawed organization that depended so much on its image that it overlooked the ugliness that was inside the whole time.

There is a good chance that the aforementioned players and commish will never set foot on a football field or appear in public representing the NFL ever again. Rice, Peterson and Goodell are the sacrificial lambs for a league that has engaged in gross malfeasance for a prolonged period of time.

The league office has hidden brain damage inducing concussions from its players while extorting tens of millions of dollars from a well meaning American public in the name of breast cancer research.

Pink jerseys, ladies, helped finance a few second home mortgages in the league’s executive offices.

There is a lot of bad that gets covered up by clothing sales, player appearances and the actual games from September to January. All of that bad appears to be heading towards varying levels of repercussions. It’s coming in many forms including: player suspensions, people getting fired and big money sponsorships lost.

Perhaps  this is the end of compartmentalizing the name on your fantasy team from the shady human being? Beating women and children is deplorable and despicable. Covering up those acts is equally abominable. At the same time, the act of reconciliation can potentially educate and enrich those condemned by knee-jerk reactors with bloodlust running through their minds.

Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Roger Goodell deserve the right to their respective rehabilitation once their punishments, whatever they end up being, are served. To a greater extent, the NFL as a whole needs rehabilitation.

Roger Goodell is a lifer.  

He has always wanted to be the NFL commissioner and he has paid his dues to reach the position. Goodell also appeared to be well on his way to winning over (some) players, owners and fans with his willingness to be stern on rule-breakers while also helping build the NFL #brand.

It is inarguable now that he has failed. He appears to have one foot already out the door. He deserves to be let go. Does he deserve the buy-out that he will get with his potential release? That’s not for any of us to decide. What Goodell does deserve is the chance to contribute to society in some productive fashion. It’s clear he’s not doing so at this point. Goodell will have to learn to live with being a person who threw away one of the most enviable positions in all of sports.

Ray Rice is a woman-beater.

He allegedly confessed these actions to Goodell, and the rest as we know is history. He deserved his release and should feel fortunate that his wife did not leave him. Janay Rice did not deserve to be hit or abused in any fashion. She deserved much better than the abuse that she took. Anything that can be done to help her in her time of need should be done. Rice also deserves the chance to seek counseling away from his wife to let him focus on his horrible life decisions and be given the chance to become a better person. He deserves that.

 

Adrian Peterson beats children.

There is nothing that can be said to justify whipping, hitting, punching, kicking or doing anything to cause physical harm to a defenseless child. Regardless of the culture that Peterson was submerged in, it’s still wrong. The mirror effect that led to him abusing at least two of his kids is the product. He has said that his actions were defenseless and is seeking counseling. If this is true, why not let him continue on that path?

Peterson should also do this without playing on Sundays. If he truly cares about changing, then let him rehab away from the Minnesota Vikings.

The NFL as a whole would benefit from change. Rehab for Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Roger Goodell could be the start of the rehabilitation process the NFL as a whole needs and deserves.

Jeff is a production assistant @120Sports and contributor to hockey, football, and baseball for The Sports Bank. Follow him on Twitter @skcih_ffej.

The Sports Bank Owner/Manager/Editor Paul M. Banks (@paulmbanks) contributed to this op-ed. 

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