Nero fiddled while Rome burned, and that didn't work out too well. The NFL's reputation is on fire and Commissioner Roger Goodell is fiddling, too. As headlines blast "The NFL is Now One of the Most Divisive Brands in the U.S.," and "NFL Sinks to Least Popular Top Professional or College Sport," the commish is engaging in social justice activism, according to Nancy Armour's USA Today report.
The 2018 NFL season is underway, and the league faces no shortage of serious problems. The unsolved national anthem controversy is now in its third season of destroying the league's favorability. Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid are suing the league for "collusion." NFL players are getting arrested, on average, about every 10 days in this calendar year (24 in 245 days). Surely the commish is working 60 hours a week to put out those fires, right?
Wrong. He's joined forces with the players who have caused the league's catastrophic downfall. No wonder Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wanted him fired. Last Tuesday, Goodell and other league officials spent nine hours in a New Orleans courtroom with NFL social justice warriors Benjamin Watson and Demario Davis. They were all getting a crash course on, as Armour explains, "the inequities of the cash-bond system, the broad powers of district attorneys and the dangers those can present, and the challenges associated with re-entry."
Goodell also attended an event for social justice in Philadelphia several months ago (see file photo of Goodell). Why in the wide world of sports is the brain trust of the NFL engaging in social justice activism? Armour describes what happened:
"There for the better part of an hour, Commissioner Roger Goodell sat next to the grandfather of a young man awaiting a hearing to see if his bail would be reduced and, if so, if he’d have the money to afford it.
"Goodell asked about the grandson’s arrest, on robbery and armed robbery charges, the progress of the case and his family. When the grandfather returned from a brief conference with a lawyer, Goodell asked how it went. And when it was time for the commissioner to leave, Goodell extended his hand and wished the older man luck."
We find out that this is the latest in a series of "Listen and Learn" events sponsored by the NFL Players Coalition. That's the group of SJW supporters who shook down the league for $89 million so they can lobby for their causes. Armour says it's a strategy to educate players, teams and the league "on the issues plaguing either the criminal justice system, policing, or education and economic structures. Already, lobbying efforts by members of the Players Coalition have resulted in changes to the criminal justice system in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts."
Armour reports that Goodell took notes and asked questions, including what the NFL can do. “How do we make an impact?” Goodell asked. “I think we have a better understanding of the problems. What are the solutions?"
After the bail hearings, community organizers met with the attendees to gather their feelings about what they'd seen. Armour says, "Watson was visibly upset at the use of chains on people who haven’t yet been convicted, saying the sight and sound reminded him of slavery."
Davis told the commissioner: “Having you here in this environment with us – nobody is better than you to go and relay the information to the owners about why we can’t just pull away from this. We can’t.”
Armour calls the messages of the day "important and productive" and lacking in "incendiary memes or bumper stickers, nor any divisive tweets. Instead there was the NFL commissioner and NFL players, working together to try and find solutions." While the NFL's brand blazes and fans turn away.