Normally, commissioners or presidents of their respective
professional sports league are required to do what is in the best interests of
their sport. Right?
In Goodell’s case regarding the lockout of the National
Football League’s officials, wrong. Very wrong.
What’s even worse is Commissar Goodell has clamped down on
any form of criticism from the owners on down to the water boys. Criticize the
scab officials and you can expect reprimands, monetary and otherwise.
Even Dallas Cowboys dictator Jerry Jones, who has been more
than generous with his contributions to the NFL coffers with his criticisms
through the years, has been suspiciously silent.
What in the world ever happened to free speech? What in the
world ever happened to freedom of expression, no matter how damning it might
Throughout the exhibition season, we have seen veiled
references to the awful and sometimes embarrassing officiating by those poor
guys who have been thrust into an untenable situation.
And, barring any last-minute labor deal between the league
and its officials, fans will be forced to watch at least one week of the
regular season with these relatively incompetent men (and maybe one woman) at
Goodell and his lackeys in the league office say they do not
anticipate any problems with the scabs as they try to strong-arm the regular
officials into accepting a new Collective Bargaining Agreement on their terms.
Now that we are on the precipice of the regular season, it’s
time the owners, their general managers, coaches and players step up and say,
“Roger, this is stupid. Enough of this nonsense. We need the regular officials
“Are you willing to risk the health and welfare of players
with these replacement officials? Guys who are clearly overwhelmed by what it
takes to become at least a decent NFL official?”
Goodell thinks nothing about the league and NFL Players
Association negotiating a labor contract in the billions of dollars. But when
it comes to a CBA with the officials that will be in the millions of dollars,
and the low millions at that, he toes the line.
In what way is that in the best interests of the league?
Definitive answer? No way. The man has taken leave of his senses.
Right now, it appears the earliest we will see the regular
officials is week two. Hopefully, no one will be seriously hurt as a result of
If the scabs thought they had it rough during the exhibition
season, wait until the speed and quickness of the game climbs several notches
when the games become more meaningful. Their inexperience with the pace of the
game will be severely tested.
Coaches and players no doubt have been put on notice that
they are to continue keeping their opinions to themselves. It’ll be interesting
to see how the players react once the games begin and the emotions kick in.
What the league fails to realize is that the schedule calls
for 16 games per team during the regular season, and because there are so few
games, each one takes on a larger degree of importance.
It’s not like a 162-game Major League Baseball schedule or
the 80-some games the National Hockey League and National Basketball
Association play when teams can coast at times during the season.
All 16 NFL games are precious except, it seems, in the eyes
of the stubborn commissioner who is messing with the integrity of the schedule.