Friday, August 19, 2011

For Goodell, Doin' "Good" Has No End, Or Limits

Another week, another un-enumerated power of the most vain commissioner in modern sports history, Roger Goodell.

My go-to guy on sports and anti-trust Skip Oliva sums it up beautifully in his blog post thusly:

Goodell Enforces Non-Existent Rule with Non-Existent Penalty 
In effect, Goodell is requiring Pryor to serve the NCAA’s five-game suspension as a condition of allowing him into the NFL. I can find nothing in the league’s rules that permit such a condition. The Constitution describes draft eligibility as a binary state: Either you’re eligible or you’re not. There is no “eligible after the fifth week” status under league rules. Goodell is unilaterally creating a new employment classification that is not provided for in either the league’s governing documents or its federally protected labor agreement. 
It also strains credibility to suggest Pryor’s actions in college are somehow “detrimental to the welfare” of the NFL. Hundreds of college players have lost their eligibility for violating school or NCAA rules and entered the NFL without incident. There’s nothing special about Pryor’s case except that it got a lot of media attention and forced the resignation of Ohio State coach Jim Tressel (who is apparently now consulting with the Cleveland Browns). And even if Pryor, as Goodell believes, manipulated his ineligibility just to get into this year’s supplemental draft, there was a simple option available to the commissioner under the existing rules — declare Pryor ineligible for the supplemental draft. Yet rather than follow the existing rules, Goodell decided to invent a new one that increased his personal authority. 
This is a pattern. Goodell routinely extends the shelf life of scandals involving players by issuing vague, open-ended suspensions. He previously did so with Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Vick, among others. You would think a commissioner concerned with integrity and protecting public perception wouldn’t routinely go out of his way to issue suspensions that keep stories of player misconduct in the news cycle.
Apparently, the union urged Pryor's representative to fight this suspension vigorously. They declined. What do they care? They know Pryor is a longshot to even make a final roster, much less start in Week 1.

But it's a huge blow for the union. Because with each little power grab, Goodell is setting a clear precedent that his "detrimental to the league" clause, is elastic and ever growing.


  1. Czabe -

    The only difference in this case, that I see, is that Pryor was never officially ruled 'ineligible' for the 2011 season. (unless you count the statement from OSU which didn't happen until people realized that Pryor would be ineligible for the supplemental draft unless he was ruled ineligible).
    Pryor was suspended for 5 games, then when the heat got turned up on OSU, he got out while the gettin' was good.
    I think this all boils down to Goodell wanting to 'cooperate' with the NCAA a little bit here. It is NOT good for the NCAA if anyone who gets suspended for a number of games can just thumb their nose at the school and run off to the NFL avoiding any and all punishment for their actions.
    My question to you is, if it doesn't really matter because Pryor wouldn't be playing anyways ..... why the big deal? And why get up in arms because a rule-breaker like Pryor is ACTUALLY being held accountable for his actions?
    I agree that Goodell is very prone to overuse of his 'power', but this sure seems like much ado about nothing to me. I AM glad you are sticking up for the players' union though. NFL players sure have it rough. Poor guys.


  2. hammer, nail, head...great job as usual by skip...lay off the editorial shit about him making a roster though, czabe...the difference between his ability and that of the overall #1 pick is razor thin, if it even exists at all...maybe a little adversity/motivation sets him straight in the best way way to know for sure, but don't judge until if/when he gets a fair chance to show something on the field

  3. The NFL just trying to dodge potential litigation.

    BTW, folks, the pics in the BEARD vs REECE poll are reversed. That's Gabby on the left and Amanda on the right.

  4. I say let him play right away so that we can move on and forget about him, until the next bust comes along.