We Chiefs fans, just like all other fans, have been debating the merits and fallacies of this lockout endlessly for the past six months. We all have our angles. Some attack the owners, others the players. Some just want football. A few have even taken this opportunity to slander whatever political party they’re not a part of (kudos on the freethinking, guys!).
The common thread, from what I can tell, is that nobody is happy with Roger Goodell. I mean obviously the players aren’t, but I haven’t really heard any fans going to bat for him either. Goodell is tied to no city. The misplaced loyalty that inspires average folk to defend billionaire criminals does not apply to him. He represents the interests of old, rich men, and gets paid millions of dollars to do so. Popular with the masses, this man is not.
And, of course, the players despise him. James Harrison may have made a fool out of himself with some of his recent comments (and how!), but make no mistake, he is not alone. This is how most players feel about Goodell. The vitriol in this case was just way over-the-top.
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These guys hate Goodell. Can you blame them? He’s a man who gets paid more than they do and who, from their perspective, seems primarily concerned with taking money out of their pockets.
I wonder if Goodell was in on the owners’ (illegal) lockout plans from the beginning? If so, you’ve got to question the disciplinarian stance he’s taken over the past few years. Would he have done that if he’d known the league’s future would depend on his ability to mediate/negotiate with the very same players he’s been fining and judging? Either he set himself up to be the most hated man in professional sports, or his beloved owners did that for him. The outcome is the same either way.
Maybe I was just young and naive, but I don’t remember feeling this way about Tagliabue. We called him Tags, thought of him as a wise grandfather figure of sorts. Policy-wise, I doubt he was much different than Goodell. And in the end he was still thoroughly the owners’ creature. Maybe he just
reigned served during easier times. Anyone can come out smelling like roses when everything is jim-dandy. Who knows, Neville Chamberlain might have made a hell of a Prime Minister if not for that whole WW II thing.
The question is, what happens when the smoke clears? The owners will disappear back into the shadows (despite the best efforts of FOX and CBS cameramen and announce crews), and the players will go back to actually doing the thing we all pay to watch. Can things go back to business as usual for Goodell? How can he possibly be expected to co-exist peacefully with these players now? What will happen the first time he fines someone? Harrison’s comments are embarrassing to the league, and I seriously doubt we’ve seen the end of them. Goodell is going to have to find some way to keep the peace. Is the man who used a national tragedy to keep from being booed and who continues to lie about the fans’ desire for an 18-game schedule really capable of winning these players back over and keeping them in line?
Maybe he doesn’t have to. Maybe this lockout gets settled, and everything goes back to the way it was. I just feel like if one person has had his rep irrevocably soiled, its Commissioner
Burrell Goodell. One can’t help but wonder what kind of reward the owners have in mind for their stalwart defender.
Man, I really can’t wait for free agency.