Decommission the Commissioner?

Football is a violent sport; it’s brutal, aggressive and extremely painful. Players are expected to have an aggressive and nasty attitude on the field, and to leave that same attitude on the field. When the final whistle is blown and the pads are taken off, the players all shake hands, go home and behave like normal members of society. Well….sometimes.

Now, if you have been paying attention to a certain controversy surrounding the NFL, you will probably know where I am going with this. If you aren’t too sure what I’m talking about, I’ll catch you up to speed. On February 15, 2014, former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was arrested for assaulting his then fiancée, now wife Janay Palmer in an elevator, knocking her unconscious, and then dragging her out of the elevator.

A video was obtained by TMZ (of course it was), by Rice dragging his fiancée from the elevator. On March 27, Rice was indicted for 3rd degree aggravated assault, along with possible jail time. Rice and Palmer were married the very next day.

Now what about his punishment? Well, Rice was facing up to five years in custody, until he agreed to undergo counseling. Another big question was what would the NFL do about this? NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would step in and give Rice the type of punishment that would teach the player a major lesson and satisfy the countless people outraged by this assault, right? Wrong.

It was announced that Rice would miss the first two games of the season. Yeah, some punishment. This of course caused a hailstorm of criticism towards Goodell and his ability to manage the entire league. Goodell quickly apologized and stated that he “didn’t get it right” on the case of Rice’s punishment, and that there will be a new policy in the case of domestic abuse.

Recently on September 8, it was announced that Rice would be dropped from the Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the NFL. And while this punishment is much more severe and deserving, it still hasn’t saved Goodell from criticism by many people, both men and women, and it most definitely has not kept him from being mocked on Saturday Night Live, and it has not avoided him the possibility of losing his job as the commissioner.

Should Goodell be fired? I mean, he admitted to making a mistake and is doing his best to live up to what he has done, including visiting the National Domestic Violence Hotline headquarters and listened to the story of many women who have suffered from domestic abuse, moving him to tears. While this is a step to his redemption, it will take a while for him to be forgiven by many people, and the incident with Ray Rice, as well as many other stories of domestic abuse from other players (see Adrian Peterson).

I personally do not believe that Goodell should be fired just yet. Give the man a chance to improve himself and to live up to the mistakes he made recently. Now I don’t say just let him go without even slapping him on the wrist. I was outraged when I heard of the way he handled the Ray Rice situation the first time, and I wanted Goodell gone immediately after hearing about that. But now that he has admitted to making a mistake and has improved the policy on domestic abuse, he has started to redeem himself, but is not yet totally absolved of what he has done. So what should the NFL do about him?

Here’s what they have to do….don’t fire him just yet, but definitely punish him as well, and remind him that right now he is on a very delicate balance between keeping his job and losing it, and one more mistake like this or small comment that goes the wrong way could very well decommission this commissioner.

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