Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Big "Huh?" On A Big Ben Argument

Everybody is entitled to their opinion.

But if you are going to have one, it would help if you supported it with a few bullet points of reason.

For example, I am rather stunned that a decent percentage of people think Roger Goodell should NOT have reduced Big Ben's 6-game suspension to just 4 games.

Okay, fine. That's your opinion. Now give me the specific WHY you feel that way?

I don't expect ding-a-ling callers on sports talk radio to have cogent arguments (although many do), but I do expect hosts to have them.

I was driving home on Friday night when I happened upon ESPN Radio's "Freddy Coleman Show." Mr. Coleman, the host, was conducting a call-in segment that asked: "Do you think Commissioner Roger Goodell should have reduced Big Ben's suspension."

Mr. Coleman, repeatedly, and flatly, stated he thought the commissioner should NOT have done so.

And so I listened for his reasoning. And listened... and listened....

It never came.

It was sorta odd, actually. Okay, WHY not, I kept asking my dashboard radio, which did not answer.

Goodell made clear that the 6-gamer could be tailored to 4 with good behavior. It is a policy that makes sense as an incentive to the athlete to behave in the interim.

By any and all measures, Roethlisberger complied with all the Commish's requests. He did the counseling, he still does community service, he has stayed out of the drunken limelight.

Furthermore, Goodell did the exact same thing with Michael Vick, reducing his possible 6-game suspension to a mere two.

And yet Mr. Coleman went on and on, taking way too many calls, asking the same question, and repeating his claim that somehow the commish was in error.

I have no great affinity for Big Ben. He's a dope, and a drunk, and in all likelihood a rapist. At the same time, I understand when a guy gets shafted. Big Ben is hardly the only dope, drunk, thug, or possible rapist in the NFL.

It was just that his incident came along at a perfect time for the league to "over-prove" that it was...

a. Tough on crime (or in this case, non-crime)
b. Not afraid to whack a star player on a legacy franchise
c. Not racially biased in its punishments

And they sure did over-prove it on Big Ben. I think four games is too much, and sets a bad precedent. The sad irony though for those who think white guys get off easy by the NFL, is that the new extra-tough "Big Ben Standard" will likely end up costing the next black player who gets sideways with a woman after hours in a bar.

So now that Big Ben has been properly scolded, served his time, and been given early release by the league, if you still think Goodell should have kept the suspension at 6, then you'll need to show me some much stronger arguments than just: "These guys need to learn a lesson."

1 comment:

  1. When WTEM is not preempting ESPN radio for out of market baseball teams, I enjoy listening to the ESPN radio. I found Doug Gottlieb and Brian Kenny to be engaging, articulate, and intelligent.

    Freddy Coleman on the other hand, I don't get. Quite frankly, he is noticeably less intelligent than the other hosts. His arguments are usually circular and/or lame. Many times his arguments appeal to the anonymous crowd ("people don't want Ben's suspension reduced"), rather than express his own opinion. He usually sounds like he is reading from a script. I am sure many hosts read from a prepared script, but the decent ones are able to sound like they aren't.

    My understanding was that the suspension was a 6 game suspension, with the option to pare it down to 4 games upon good behavior. Since Ben has behaved well, the reduced suspension is merited.

    From Ben's perspective, the longer the suspension the better. It is my observation that public anger is not solely triggered by a person's actions, but also from the justice (or lack thereof) that results from the person's actions. If a person is roundly punished, the public can forgive. If a person gets off scot-free, public anger increases. Any punishment on Ben will lesson the public's desire for justice.