To Get Rid of Cockroach Goodell, Litigation Is ‘The Way We Do Things’ In The NFL

I have never liked Roger Goodell. He has made the top brick of America’s prized sport–football–into a lawyer-infested pyramid scheme, at the expense of the game. Instead of acting in the interests of football, which, by the way, exists for the benefit and entertainment of fans, he’s become the cockroach lawyer hiding from the light at the head of an increasingly corrupt cadre of billionaires out to pad their own pockets while extracting every last dollar from emotionally-invested fans.

Goodell doesn’t deserver a nickel. In fact, Jerry Jones is absolutely correct in threatening legal action if the NFL’s compensation committee approves a $50 million deal through 2024 without sending the contract back to the entire league membership.

“Are you telling us you’re prepared to file litigation against us?” committee member John Mara of the Giants asked, according to the source. Jones, a former disciple of the late, contentious Raiders owner Al Davis, said he was, per the source.

Mara spoke. Committee member Art Rooney II of the Steelers spoke. The committee chairman, Arthur Blank of the Falcons, spoke, and said this, per another source who heard the call: “I’m shocked. I’m disappointed. We may have differences, Jerry, but this is not the way we resolve them. This is not the way we do things in the NFL.”

Oh yes, Mr. Blank, Extortionist of epic proportions, Praetor and Master of Mercedes Benz palace in the lesser Kingdom of Atlanta. That is exactly how we do things in the NFL, thanks to the cockroach Roger Goodell.

On the soapbox

Years ago, I detached, emotionally, from the league. Though I’m a member of that hated class of Americans known as Patriots fans, I decided that I would only watch selected games, and not plan my Sundays (or Monday nights, Thursday nights, etc.) around watching a sport that generally leaves me feeling like a schoolboy with a crush on the class gold-digging slut: unfulfilled, dirty, broke and heartbroken.

Now I don’t watch at all. I liked football better in the 1970s and 80s, when the Patriots sucked, to be honest. At least I could root for Jim Plunkett or Joe Montana. Now I couldn’t root for the 49ers unless I’m politically aligned with Colin Kaepernick. And that’s only part of what’s wrong with the NFL. Actually, the political drama is really the smallest part.

The league–and the game in many ways–has not become a sport for lawyers. Many of the referees are actually lawyers who ref on the weekends as a part-time gig. The NFLPA is a hive of attorneys ensuring that every player becomes a millionaire (though relatively few of them remain rich after they depart the “not for long” league). The owners are a group of fat-cat billionaires (with the exception of Green Bay–cue the angel choir) who exist for their own personal fiefdoms and corporate sponsorships.

Networks like ESPN, that used to cater to actual sports fans, have become nothing more than parodies of District 1 Hunger Games announcers, substituting football and lifestyles of the Champions for the ones who died in fiction. They might as well call the whole league Panem at this point.

End of my rant.

Jones wants a rollback

Jerry Jones came from an era when NFL owners were rich bastards. But they were rich bastards who didn’t hide behind cockroach lawyers. They wore their bastardness full on their chests.

“When I walked into my first owners meeting, I looked to my left and saw [Kansas City Chiefs owner] Lamar Hunt,” Jones said in August. “I looked to my right and saw [Cincinnati Bengals owner] Paul Brown. These were guys who bucked back. The NFL wouldn’t give Lamar a franchise, so he went out and started a whole other league [in the AFL] and forced his way in. Paul Brown basically got his [Cleveland Browns] franchise taken away from him – a franchise that was named for him – so he goes down south a few hundred miles and helps found the Cincinnati Bengals. These were people that looked at their situation and when it was called for, they made changes.”

Goodell got rid of the NFL league office’s classification as a non-profit, not because he thought it looked bad that a billionaire’s club would appear to be not about money, but so he could hide his tremendous salary that would put many sultans to shame. Instead of dealing with issues head-on, like CTE or anthem protests, he always took the damp, hole-in-the-ground route. He treated the game of football like a law client instead of a treasured sport.

Simply put, Jerry Jones wants a rollback to the time when owners were bastards and proud of it, and the league basically stayed out of the way. Reports (like the one from SB Nation) that attribute Jones’ war on Goodell to issues related to the Dallas Cowboys are misinformed, or missing the point.

Yes, Goodell has nearly-dictatorial power in player personnel matters. Yes, he has used them, even heading to court to defend his decisions. But no, that’s not the primary reason Jones wants to clip the commissioner’s wings (by toppling Goodell).

The simple explanation

It’s simple, really. Goodell has made the NFL owners into patsies and rubber-stamps; investors who collect fat checks and make player and stadium deals. Jones sees the owners as the ones who “make” the league. Goodell sees himself in that role.

Since the rubber-stamp owners voted 32-0 to give its compensation committee complete authority to negotiate and execute Goodell’s Brobdingnagian salary and bonus, it will take a lawsuit to force the issue. If Jones isn’t bluffing, then the league, and Goodell have reason to fear. Not from the possibility that Jones would win in court and force the league owners to reconsider his contract. But because the whole thing will be played out in public.
Cockroaches hate the light.

Goodell should settle up right now and flee. The game of football will thank him for it.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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