Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Z_CNHI News Service

March 27, 2014

NFL commissioner urges respect for 'the shield'

Roger Goodell's plea for respect from team owners and league execs reflects the NFL commissioner's deep concerns over how successive scandals are tarnishing the image of pro football.

It would be easy to dismiss National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell’s opening remarks at this week’s owners meeting in Orlando as a poor rendition of Aretha Franklin’s career-making classic “Respect”.

Then again, Goodell's statement could be much more than that. While the NFL is the most profitable league in sports, with revenues of about $10 billion a year, the respect he discussed wasn’t about the size of a bank account but how those in the league treat others.

As a business, the NFL has no peer in sports. As a collection of individuals, it has reflected a weakness in its dealings with others. Maybe the competitive nature of professional football explains some of the internal failings, but that’s no excuse.

Goodell made that clear as he simply and directly made a pitch – a plea – for team owners and top executives to appeal to “the better angels of our nature,” as a former president once said.

Respect, Goodell said, should serve as a guide for the future: “Respect for our game and those that came before us. Respect for each other - teams, opponents and game officials. Respect for our fans, our lifeblood. Respect in our workplaces for the diversity that makes us stronger. Respect for our communities and the important role we play in those communities. It’s about the significance of being part of this, ‘The Shield’.”

The NFL's iconic red, white and blue logo is a statement of strength. Unfortunately, “The Shield” and what it represents has been tarnished in recent years.

First and foremost were the disgraceful actions in Miami where good-natured ribbing was replaced by harassment and bullying. Soon Jonathan Martin’s season came to an end with claims of a mental breakdown, and Richie Incognito was sent packing amid allegations of a workplace scandal.

That was just one sordid example of what's wrong with pro ball. Taunting – mostly through use of extreme profanity and racial slurs – has escalated to the point that it's no longer just boys being boys but a problem that reflects poorly on the NFL’s once sterling reputation. When Missouri standout Michael Sam announced he was gay and wanted a job on an NFL team, the league knew it had a potential public relations problem that it needed to get ahead of.

Divisive issues continued over the appropriateness of a team's continued use of the nickname “Redskins." Then, one of the NFL’s most influential owners was jailed on suspicion of driving under the influence and drug possession.

For a league that guards its reputation as closely as Fort Knox does the nation’s supply of gold, Goodell knew he had to take a strong stand. His declaration in Orlando was more than a challenge from the commissioner’s office. It was a directive to everyone that lax enforcement of rules – on the field and throughout the organization - is over.

“It’s about the significance of being part of this – the shield,” said Goodell, calling on owners to step up and make a difference. “We’re expected to do that – by our fans, our business partners and others. We can and we will.”

Professional athletes and the teams they represent are role models, whether they want to be or not. Their actions are emulated.

No doubt Goodell was looking after the NFL’s best interests, but maybe he was thinking about the greater good his sport can do. In emphasizing the importance of acting responsibly for the league and its players, perhaps Goodwell was thinking his message would be heard by the NFL’s many fans and followers.

Aretha Franklin wanted someone to show her a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

In his first inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln called on people across a divided land to put aside their differences and draw upon “the better angels.”

The contexts may have been vastly different, but somewhere both knew there was a better way.

Goodell’s assessment of conditions in the NFL is spot-on. This is a crucial time for the league and how it addresses its problems. He made that perfectly clear to the owners. Hopefully they were listening.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

1
Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Posturing, predictions fly as SEC turns to a new season

    Little news is truly made at the Southeastern Conference's media days, where players and coaches predict, insinuate and deflect in advance of this fall's college football season.
     

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20110929_bowling.jpg Why fewer people go bowling

    Like other industries facing tough economic times, America's bowling centers are trying to reinvent themselves.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg James bears the weight of Cleveland's championship dreams

    Can LeBron James change Cleveland sports history? Overcoming this city's tortured curse could prove impossible - even for the world's best basketball player.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-HB0713-HowardMartin-004.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    The mystery of what happened to a military transport plane that disappeared in the fall of 1952 into an Alaskan glacier was solved two years ago when a helicopter crew spotted the wreckage. But it took another two years to retrieve the remains of Airman Howard Miller and 16 other servicemen passengers. Saturday, Miller was laid to rest in his hometown of Elwood, Ind., with full military honors. Hundreds turned out for the funeral and burial services.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Why North Korean cheerleaders may soon descend on the South

    When you think of North Korea, "cheerleaders" may not be the first thing that springs to mind. The Hermit Kingdom is perhaps better known for less savory things like gulag-like labor camps and leadership purges.

    July 8, 2014

Featured Ads
Mineral Wells Index


Click on a photo to visit our SmugMug page

Front page
Weather Underground Radar
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Must Read
Seasonal Content
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide