Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Roger Goodell, It's Time to Bring Down the Hammer

by Jayden Matthews

Yes, If It Ain't Steel is back and ready to start taking on the offseason again. But before getting into the purpose of this blog, we would like to take a minute to thank our followers for sticking with us and supporting us. We want to apologize for not putting much of anything out there over the past month and also want to send a special thank you to Christina Rivers for being our guest writer while we were dealing with some issues in our personal lives.

That said, we are back to get this party started by writing something to our favorite person to whom we owe so much. He who has been an inspiration for a lot of our blogs: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

According to numbers "compiled by U-T San Diego" and as of the writing of this article, "since the Super Bowl in early February, 31 NFL players have been arrested." And like NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, “one [arrest] is too many.”

So far this year there have been two arrested for murder and attempted murder, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez and former Cleveland Browns rookie linebacker Ausar Walcott; for weapons charges, Indianapolis Colts safety Joe Lefeged; and others for DUI, drug possession, assault and battery, child endangerment and fraud. Why is this happening? -

This is an alarming number of arrests, to be sure, but not the first eventful offseason by any means as If It Ain't Steel chronicled last year. And the NFL wanted Playmakers cancelled because it put them in a bad light??? -

I understand that the NFL doesn't hire babysitters to be with the players 24/7, but my gripe is with how little is being done once these players do get into trouble. i.e. why are these players still allowed to play? Goodell has talked endlessly about cleaning up the NFL. Halfway through the 2007 season, he even instituted what was to be stricter punishment for player misconduct. The result? From 2008 to 2013, the NFL has averaged 28.5 arrests (an average increase of 10 more) per offseason.

Guess what, Rog? Your words are obviously falling on deaf ears. It is time for a little less talking and a lot more action. Here's a thought: actually enforce the laws you instituted. I know the NFLPA has been trying to block everything you do to try to clean up the league, but it's time to put your foot down as Commissioner and say "enough is enough." It's time to work with them to hold their clients accountable. Because, when you have this many arrests every offseason, then there is an obvious problem.

Answer me this, Goodell, are you more worried about the all-mighty dollar or the safety of the players? You incessantly make speeches about player safety, but then players continue running around with illegal firearms, using illegal drugs and driving drunk. Shouldn't you be just as concerned with this lack of safety? And why have there been so few suspensions for this conduct? In 2010, you said yourself that a player doesn’t have to be arrested to be held accountable. You remember saying that, don't you? Or does that just pertain to certain players? Is this the type of message you want to send to the little guys aspiring to come into the NFL?

But why shouldn't the players act with impunity? As an example, of the approximate 40 offseason arrests in that same year of 2010, only 2 players were suspended for violating the league's Personal Conduct Policy. As we said last offseason as well, the players know you have no fist in your glove.

It's time to put these players on notice, and the only way to do that is by starting to bring the hammer down. I understand letting the Law's due process work itself out first, but I don't care if they're cited for jaywalking. Just apply a jaywalking penance. If they want to behave this way then they need to be held accountable for their actions. So put your sh** kickers on, Goodell, and get to actually "protecting the shield." This has gotten out of hand and, until you bring the hammer down on these players, even if it's a minor offense, this type of behavior will continue.