Tip-Off for 8/2/13 (featuring James Baldwin): What is Roger Goodell really protecting?


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has become a walking contradiction.

Roger Goodell has dealt with some pressing issues as NFL Commissioner. However, in the last two months, he has failed to set a precedent on two racially sensitive issues. The Commish has proved to us all he’s only about making a dollar.

When it comes to “protecting the shield”, Roger Goodell has no problem handing out fines or suspensions. Within his first year as commissioner, Goodell handed out heavy suspensions to Adam Jones, Tank Johnson, Michael Vick and the late Chris Henry. Vick was suspended twice by Goodell, the first was an indefinite suspension after pleading guilty to funding a dog fighting ring and after he was reinstated by the NFL. His overall concern for player safety has raised questions.

Despite an alarming rise in player concussions and head injuries Goodell continues to push for an 18-game schedule. Steps have been taken to ensure player safety with adjustments in equipment and limited contact in practices during training camps and the regular season, but talk of an extended season remain in the air.

Goodell backed Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to keep the name of the team. Snyder and the Redskins organization have come under fire by Native Americans to change the name which is considered a slur. Snyder and Goodell have maintained their stance on keeping the name, reinforcing a racist moniker that has been place since the days of former team owner and president George Preston Marshall —  a card-carrying bigot.

The most recent incident involving Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper using a racial slur is the latest elephant in the room Goodell has managed to avoid. According to the Eagles, Riley was fined a substantial amount, will undergo racial sensitivity therapy and will not be suspended or released by the team at this time. Goodell pump-faked us all when he was asked if the NFL would step in and suspend Cooper.

“I can’t do anything else,” Goodell said. “You can’t have discipline from the club and the league in the same incident. It’s double jeopardy, but it’s also part of our collective bargaining agreement.”

Goodell said Eagles owner Jeffrey Laurie called him hours after the video surfaced Wednesday afternoon.

“I was troubled by what he said,” Goodell said. “I’m disappointed. I didn’t hear about it until 6 o’clock (Wednesday night), when Jeffrey (Lurie) called me and told me about it, and told me what they’d already done at that point in time.”

Roger Goodell’s half-hearted response told me all I needed to know. Now he’s worried about what the collective bargaining agreement says? The last time I checked the NFLPA president and executive director are African-American and I hopeful they would like to see something done on a league level.

In a time where racial tension is at the highest point I’ve seen in my lifetime, one of the most powerful men in sports is coming up short. This will become a bigger storm. The NFL is approximately 70 percent African-American and Roger Goodell essentially told these men, they can risk their physical and mental health for the good of the shield no matter what their called.

Forty million dollar slaves indeed.


The Lineup:

Let’s make a deal (ESPN).

Aaron Hernandez’s kite lands in the wrong hands (Fox News Latino).

Michael Dyer is headed to Louisville (USA Today).

Nicklas Lidstrom retires (M Live).

Check out the N’Awlins Pelicans new threads (SI.com).

Here is the USA Today Top 25 (USA Today).

The Chicago Bulls open against the Indiana Pacers (Sportige).

Chris Carter gets his Gold Jacket tonight (NFL HOF).

A-Rod’s deadline is Monday (Huff Post).

Jay Graves (Barbershop Sports).


James Baldwin was born on this day in 1924.

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