How could you? These are the only three words I can think of when I think of what has transpired since March 27 when the video of Ray Rice dragging his then fiancée out of an Atlantic City casino elevator while she slumped on the ground, knocked out cold.
I feel betrayed. I grew up with the NFL. I looked to NFL players and staff for guidance. They were my generation’s role models. I remember in 2004 sitting on my couch with my parents and sisters and watching the Eagles play the Patriots in the Super Bowl. I was proud. Not just of the team that I grew up loving and supporting, but of the people who put them there.
Mr. Goodell, I have always been a big supporter of yours. Even as those around me began to criticize your actions, I stood firmly by as you continued to try and improve player safety and market the sport. While others said you were just in it for the billions of dollars that gets funneled into your pocket every year, I said that you deserve the money. I thought you were the best thing to happen to the NFL since Vince Lombardi. I bought into the act as many have over the years.
Now I’m done. You have successfully, or almost successfully, lied to the entire football loving community. This cover up, or attempted cover up I should say, has made me become disenchanted with the sport I grew up idolizing. If you had told the truth from the start, things may have been difference. Admitting you made a mistake about the mere two game suspension, and thinking it would fix your wrongdoings, was wrong. I am done supporting you.
The NFL is corrupt. It is selfish. It doesn’t understand basic human values or morals.
However, the main reason I will no longer think of you as the man who revitalized football is that you, Mr. Goodell, are a coward. You hide behind your stacks of money and your “model citizens” and you ruin the sport. You make verdicts based on what is best for you, and then you pin the blame on other people when it comes out that you were wrong. “We didn’t see the video. The authorities didn’t give it to us. The situation was ambiguous.” You’re a coward.
Mr. Commissioner, as I write this letter I realize that you fit perfectly in the NFL. In a league where players can get away with being criminals, I guess it fits that the commissioner can be a criminal too. No, not your traditional criminal who beats and murders, but a criminal who cheats, lies, and betrays.
So congratulations. You have alienated the same fan base that has made you the rich, selfish man you are today. I am not going to ask for your resignation because I don’t have that power. I also know you won’t resign anytime soon. All I ask, if you are to stay in power, is for you to at least keep the lies to a minimum. Let me enjoy the sport I love without you having to come into the picture.
Now go back to wearing your thousand dollar suits and sitting in your throne while I shrink back to my lowly post as football fan.