N.Y. Times Sports Columnist: America ‘Can’t Continue To Be Addicted’ To Football

In the wake of new video surfacing showing former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice hitting and knocking his wife out, many in the media have been quick to label the NFL as fostering a culture of violence.

During a Wednesday morning appearance on CBS This Morning, "New York Times" sports columnist William Rhoden blasted the NFL and argued that any player, even those who have not been convicted of domestic abuse, should be banned from the NFL. The "Times" columnist added that America “can't continue to be addicted to this game.”

Rhoden’s comments came after co-host Norah O’Donnell sat down with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his first interview following the release of the Ray Rice video.  While the Times writer gave Goodell “the benefit of the doubt” after the commissioner said he had yet to see the video prior to Monday morning, he suggested a coverup may have occurred:

There’s certainly reason to believe that a league that prides itself on its security, it prides itself on its connection to homeland security. It has FBI, former FBI agents working for them, former New York police department. You can't have it both ways. Either with all this security, either it's incompetent or it’s a coverup. So I would have to give Roger Goodell the benefit of the doubt because maybe he didn't see it but I think that somebody in his circle, some lieutenants saw it.

Rhoden continued to blast the NFL and insisted that they managed the entire Ray Rice saga terribly, before suggesting that the league should go after any player that has ever been accused of domestic violence:

I think next month is domestic violence month. And I would love to see these groups, men and women, to basically target every single team, NFL team, that has people on that team, on that field that’s either on the field and has been convicted or even not. I don't know if that’s going to make a dent in against a league that’s printing money, but there has to be some type of consciousness. We can't continue to be addicted to this game.

Rhoden has a history of using isolated sports controversies as a jumping off point to attack an entire sports league. In April of this year, he appeared on the NPR program “Tell Me More” to argue that every time a newsroom or stadium press box lacks a black journalist, they are committing Donald Sterling-level racism:

Every time I walk into a press box, Michel, and see no African-American reporters, or every time I walk into a newsroom and see no African-American editors or, like, no reporters, you know, people are saying the same things without necessarily saying it. We don't respect you. We don't respect black people. We're not going to hire you. We don't want you around.     

The New York Times sports columnist now joins the ranks of MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, who on Tuesday’s Morning Joe insisted that the “NFL supports domestic violence.” One wonders why Rhoden would continue to write weekly sports columns when he seems to have such disdain for the very sports he comments on.

See relevant transcript below.

CBS This Morning
September 10, 2014

CHARLIE ROSE: “New York Times” sports columnist William Rhoden is here in Studio 57. In this morning’s paper he writes “Goodell and his lieutenants seem to have viewed Rice's violence through the prism of corporate protectors whose first responsibility is to protect the NFL.” Bill, good morning. And I have this for both of you. Is there evidence out there, is there reason to believe that someone in the NFL saw the second tape?

WILLIAM RHODEN: There’s probably not evidence but there’s certainly reason to believe that a league that prides itself on its security, it prides itself on its connection to homeland security. It has FBI, former FBI agents working for them, former New York police department. You can't have it both ways. Either with all this security, either it's incompetent or it’s a coverup. So I would have to give Roger Goodell the benefit of the doubt because maybe he didn't see it but I think that somebody in his circle, some lieutenants saw it.

NORAH O’DONNELL; It’s a good question. I mean, there's no evidence to suggest that Roger Goodell saw this tape. However, there are sports reporters in July who reported from their sources, who described what was on the second videotape. Everybody knew the second videotape was out there. The question was did anybody know what was the contents of this and should that have influenced the decision that it was this graphic? Should that have changed some of the decisions?  

ROSE: But you get the impression that if he’d seen that, he says based on his reaction to the second tape, he would have made a different decision?

O’DONNELL: He said that exactly.  

RHODEN: But as you say though, seriously, again, this is a problem. The NFL has turned this into a legal problem, a business problem. This is a moral problem. And they never saw this through the lens of a moral problem. If this guy Goodell, I think he’s got a daughter. If you look at that–

ROSE: He’s certainly got a wife.

RHODEN: If you look through at that through the prism of a father watching his daughter getting dragged out or a brother watching his sister getting dragged out, or a son watching his mother get dragged out, your reaction is instantaneous. This guy is history, he’s gone, he’s not going to play in my league again. This is unacceptable.

ROSE: Ever? Ever?

RHODEN: Ever, ever. At the very least because it's an emotional thing like this. They did not look at it like that. They looked at it as a protector of the corporate shields. How do we minimize this. That's why he got two games. Let’s give him two games, take an aspirin, you know wake up in the morning, tell us how you feel and then it’s over. And it was only because people saw this, that’s why we’re here. Not because of some moral process [sic] because we got busted.

O’DONNELL: I mean, what I learned is the NFL’s been working on this problem of domestic violence and sexual assault for a while. But there are some other players who are on the field who have been charged with domestic violence.

RHODEN: I think next month is domestic violence month. And I would love to see these groups, men and women, to basically target every single team, NFL team, that has people on that team, on that field that’s either on the field and has been convicted or even not. I don't know if that’s going to make a dent in against a league that’s printing money, but there has to be some type of consciousness. We can't continue to be addicted to this game.

O’DONNELL: All right, Bill.

ROSE: There's more questions to ask, and we'll ask them later in this program.

O’DONNELL: We’ll have a lot more ahead. Bill thanks, good to see you.

Sports CBS CBS This Morning Charlie Rose Norah O'Donnell William Rhoden