Wai Sallas got that letter from Roger Goodell today about the NFL’s new personal conduct policy and the small percentage of ‘bad actors’ we need to get cleaned up. But he thinks maybe you are – ahem – overlooking someone.
Dear Commissioner Goodell,
I have been a fan of the NFL as long as I can remember. As a child growing up in Hawaii, I looked forward to every February. Not for the Super Bowl, I mean that was fun and all, but I’d rather play real football in the street on a warm sunny day than watch my dad and his friends yell at the TV for 6 hours. The game I always looked forward to was the Pro Bowl.
Thanks to my favorite game in February, I’ve met Walter Payton, Joe Montana, Barry Sanders among others. Had words with Lawrence Taylor and Troy Aikmen, and actually surfed with Steve Young.
What I’m trying to get at is I love the league.
Today you sent me a letter, thanking me. Thanking me for holding the league to a higher standard, letting me know that you too hold yourself to a higher standard along with the rest of the league.
I want to know: Who do you think we are?
Before your first year as Commissioner, Sports Business Daily put out data from Scarborough Research detailing that 36% of NFL fans have a high school diploma, 29% have had some college education, and 13% have graduated college.
In the 8 years since that data came out, do you think we’ve gotten dumber?
Do you really think lauding a new personal conduct policy will have us all breathe a sigh of relief and say finally, he gets it?
The problem is you, Commissioner.
As you say in the letter,
“The majority of people in the NFL are individuals of high character who make incredible contributions to the game and their communities. However, a small percentage conduct themselves improperly at times. We recognize these actions damage the entire league. We now are taking significant steps to strengthen our programs to prevent and address incidents of misconduct.”
But what happens if you are included in that small percentage?
You say the league puts character and values above everything else. What if it is your character and values that leave me with the biggest question mark?
When you initially suspended Ray Rice two games for knocking his then-fiancee unconscious, you had to ask domestic violence experts why people were mad at you.
ESPN’s Don Van Natta, Jr. reported emails show the NFL never contacted police about the second Rice tape, but in your memo to your bosses in September, you said you had.
When there was uproar for your initial punishment of two games once the second video came out, you said Ray Rice was ambiguous. Former Federal Judge Barbara Jones said Rice was not.
You are right about one thing, though. There are a lot of good people in the NFL.
The problem is, the longer you stay on as commissioner, the longer you let your pride supersede clear and present signs you are inept, the fouler the stench grows. I have already closed my nose in hopes to prevent the smell from infecting my body, but my eyes are starting to water.
Mr. Goodell, the longer you stay on, the harder it becomes to see what’s good. Andre Johnson taking children from the Harris County Department of Family Protective Services shopping for Christmas presents racking up a tab of $16,266.26, nullified. T.Y. Hilton crying on national television when speaking about his new born, void.
At the end of your oh so touching letter you said of the new Personal Conduct Policy:
The revised policy is clear, consistent, accountable and transparent and applies to everyone including owners, general managers, coaches, players, other team employees, game officials, and all league employees.
I noticed one name missing: yours.
For more of our coverage of Goodell and the NFL, see the following:
The NFL’s Concussion Problem Just Got A Lot Worse (Sept. 30, 2014)
Roger S. Goodell, Will You Please Go Now? (Sept. 22, 2014)
The National Football League: Too Big To Fail? (Sept. 13, 2014)
Ray Rice, Janay Rice, the NFL and TMZ: Many Sides, One Missing Topic (Sept. 10, 2014)
Ray Rice is Out of the NFL: But Why Did it Take Until Monday? (Sept. 8, 2014)
Want more? Sign up for our daily or weekly Good Men Project newsletter or our Weekly Best of GMP Sports newsletter here.
Photo Credit: Associated Press/FILE