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What the hell is going on with the NFL? More specifically, how has Roger Goodell’s quest for respectability turned into a place where past decisions are now amended to justify current controversial decisions?
When Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott was slammed with a six game suspension for multiple alleged encroachments on the league’s personal conduct policy, one question that was universally asked was: “How was what Zeke did 5 games worse than what Josh Brown did?”
And now we have an answer: it wasn’t. Not now, anyway.
Which makes the commissioner’s policy and procedures look even more sketchy. I get what he’s trying to do, but there needs to be some kind of codified consistency in place. Otherwise, you end up with the kind of confusion and perceived- perhaps verified- unfairness. Discipline wielded wildly and randomly does not build trust for a commissioner that is probably facing a protracted negotiation for the next CBA.
What Goodell just did to justify his apparent mistake should embolden any legal effort Elliott and NFLPA have. It’s an admission that there isn’t semblance of consistency and the possibility for unfairness in the process indeed exists. The quagmire that was known as “Deflategate” lingered on for this very reason: questions about fairness from a person in position to dictate discipline as he sees it.
Goodell may have the best of intentions by trying to insist that players who are, or could be, the faces of the league act accordingly but he may be losing the war trying to win all these battles.