Roger Goodell Should Not Be Judge, Jury, Executioner of Adrian Peterson

091814-NFL-Ray-Rice-Roger-Goodell-Adrian-Peterson-SS-PIAdrian Peterson gets suspended with pay as his case of endangering his son goes through the courts. The decision is adjudicated and he is handed down a misdemeanor. Case closed. He should be allowed to resume his career.

That’s how, in essence, the agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association is supposed to work. And yet Roger Goodell, the commissioner who is like the bouncer at the club who lets people in when he wants, decides Peterson should be done for the rest of the year.

Agreement be damned, Goodell is saying.

Well, it says here he is abusing his power as commissioner. Again. This is the same guy whose integrity is in question after the Ray Rice case. Goodell said Rice did not tell him in detail what happened in the Atlantic City hotel elevator when he punched his then-fiancee. Ozzie Newsome, the Baltimore Ravens’ upstanding general manager, said he was there when Rice gave the thorough description of what happened, that he punched Janay Palmer.

Goodell suspended Rice for two games, which seemed far too lenient at the time and preposterous after the video of the altercation was released months later. Then Goodell, as the outrage increased one thousand-fold, changed his initial judgment and suspended Rice indefinitely.

The NLFPA is working to have the second punishment vacated, essentially citing double jeopardy—how can Rice be punished twice for the same infraction?

It’s deeper than that: How can you trust Roger Goodell?

He’s like an overseer coming down on slave hands that move too slowly when he demands action. His reach is too far. His penalties too harsh. His boundaries unlimited.

“The decision by the NFL to suspend Adrian Peterson is another example of the credibility gap that exists between the agreements they make and the actions they take,” the NFLPA statement said. “Since Adrian’s legal matter was adjudicated, the NFL has ignored their obligations and attempted to impose a new and arbitrary disciplinary proceeding.

“The facts are that Adrian has asked for a meeting with Roger Goodell, the discipline imposed is inconsistent and an NFL executive told Adrian that his time on the Commissioner’s list would be considered as time served. The NFLPA will appeal this suspension and will demand that a neutral arbitrator oversee the appeal. We call on the NFL Management Council to show our players and our sponsors leadership by committing to collective bargaining so a fair personal conduct policy can be implemented as quickly as possible.”

Goodell issued a long-winded, self-righteous release saying Peterson was not contrite enough, that he didn’t take seriously the offenses and basically that he was not happy with how Peterson comported himself after the charges. And because he did not kiss Goodell’s ring begging for forgiveness, he has to sit out the remainder of the season and will not be considered for reinstatement until April 15, 2015.

Baloney. Peterson’s actions in “whupping” his child were wrong. The outcry of public opinion speaks to how Americans feel about corporal punishment of small kids. It was wrong. He went through the court system and that part is over.

Goodell clearly is overreacting to prevent the outcry he endured when he under-penalized Rice initially. . . at Peterson’s expense. He has consulted with an advisory board, but the decision is Goodell’s.

No one feels sorry for Peterson. He went too far in beating his child. Whether he plays this year for the Vikings or ever again is not the ultimate point. There are many other variables to this case.

But the ultimate point is that Goodell rules as a dictator. He has so much power because the owners appreciate the money he has helped bring to each team, like the $150 million each franchise receives every year as part of the league’s television contract.

To oust Goodell would require the owners—who are his cronies in greed—to vote him out. Not happening. But that does not mean his reign should not end.

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