First, let me say this; I don’t support, condone, whatever domestic violence. People in families get into arguments all the time, but spitting and punching each other isn’t the way to solve it. All of us gotten into some type of disagreement with others in our house at some point, and handling it is always a question of contention among many people.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been under serious pressure since the video of the Ray Rice incident became public Monday. Since that time, the Associated Press discovered that the video had indeed been delivered to NFL offices. Many assume that Goodell has seen the video, and some are giving him the benefit of the doubt. The truth is, none of us really know if he’s seen the video. Goodell has made it well known that he hasn’t seen the video. I’m not sure if you believe him, but I do.
Many of you, which means most, have decided that Roger Goodell needs to resign. I don’t believe that’s necessary. I think Goodell has enough goodwill built up with his bosses, who are the owners, and their sponsors to where he can survive this public relations disaster.
Goodell, Rice, and the Baltimore Ravens front office likely operated under the assumption the video would never leak. Had this been two or three years ago, that probably would have been a smart bet. In 2014, when TMZ is the new Deadspin, it wasn’t a smart bet.
Today is Thursday. The NFL, thankfully, has a game tonight. Except tonight's game features the Baltimore Ravens. I don’t expect to see Goodell in Baltimore or anywhere else for the next few weeks, but if he can survive this storm through Sunday, he’ll be able to advance to next week.
Survive and advance
That term doesn’t only apply to March Madness, but applies to corporate leadership as well. Many have said and tweeted that Goodell needs to lead, and not consult with public relations people before making decision. The reality is, consulting with people is exactly what ALL leaders do. They take advice from many of their trusted advisors, take a look at the tea leaves and make decisions. Sometimes those decisions aren’t right. In retrospect, Goodell should have suspended Ray Rice for more than two games, but if he really hadn’t seen the video, what could he have gone on?
The Ravens and the league spoke with Rice, and based on everything we know, Rice was very detailed in his explanation for what happened. So detailed, in fact, that the Ravens admit that what he said is almost exactly what we saw on the video tape.
So, why the outrage?
The outrage is simple, people don’t get nearly as upset about things they don't see. When Rice and his then-fiance had a presser months ago, the domestic violent people – correctly, I might add – suggested that she was protecting Rice. The rest of us thought maybe it wasn’t as bad as we heard it was. Then we saw the tape, and everything changed.
So, if you were in Goodell’s place what would you have done? Is two games enough of a suspension? Probably not. Is a lifetime banishment the way to go, of course not. Men and women are involved in domestic situations every day in this country. If each of those people were fired from their jobs and told they could never work again, where would this country be?
So again, I ask, what would you do if you were Goodell?
Does Roger Need To Go?
Roger Goodell will no doubt be reprimanded for his poor decision by his corporate overlords, just like the rest of us are when we make mistakes. That punishment, to the detriment of the public, won’t be publicized, but if it’s taking part of his $35 million dollar salary, or reducing the use of the league jet, or making him drive himself around, don’t think he won’t be punished. Do you really thing termination is the solution for all missteps by leaders? I certainly don’t.
If Goodell is removed and you insert someone else, how do you know they wouldn’t have made a worse decision? Who’s a good replacement for Goodell? Condoleeza Rice? Based on what? Many say she helped take America into a war based on terrible intelligence, and now you want her to replace a guy who forgot to hit the play button on his in-office VCR?
The solution to this problem isn’t easy, but I know this, no matter if Goodell stays or goes, the overwhelming majority of you will be watching on Sunday. Your football Sundays are the most important 16 days of your lives. There’s nothing wrong with that, but as long as Goodell survives until Sunday, I expect he’ll advance through this crisis and move on to the next one.
What do you think? Should Roger Goodell resign? If so, who's a great replacement? Leave a comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.