Thursday, September 11, 2014

Through the Front Window

I'm probably not going to write about this anymore, but here's a very easy way to see what's really happening in the Ray Rice/NFL situation: read Peter King.

Peter King, even though he's a respected journalist, is a mouthpiece for the NFL, and whatever the NFL wants to present, he will do it for them.

You have to read a bit between the lines, though.

Here's how you interpret what King writes: whatever he says, that's the desired position for the NFL. It's the NFL establishing its borders. So a few months ago, he said that the NFL had seen the tape, and he used it in the context of finding support for a two-game suspension of Rice.

A few days ago, he changed his tune, and said he had been "told by sources", not the NFL, that the tape had been viewed, and that couldn't actually prove it had been viewed. This was to support the NFL suddenly going from a two-game suspension to an indefinite suspension.

Here's what King wrote today:
The sense I got after talking to six prominent team executives Wednesday night was that Goodell’s job would be in trouble only if he was found to have participated in a coverup of the Rice investigation, or if he lied about never having seen the videotape of the former Baltimore running back’s assault of his then-fiancée Palmer in an Atlantic City elevator last February. 

What he's writing is not exactly what it means.

What it really means is that the NFL is hoping to draw a line with the public that it's reasonable to retain Goodell unless he participated in a cover-up. That's not what the NFL would have said two days ago--Goodell's possible removal wouldn't even have been mentioned--but the news yesterday that a "female NFL executive" had left a voicemail indicating that she had received and viewed the footage moved the borders.

Here's the most important takeaway, though: NFL executives are now acknowledging a potential situation where Roger Goodell would be damaging "the shield", as they call it. In the NFL, damaging the shield is unforgivable. This clearly means that his support right now is very shaky. He may survive, but he is clearly at high risk here.

One other thing: the phrase "domestic violence" needs to go away. It's such a sanitized term. It's almost as if the term itself was created to neutralize an emotional response to men beating women (and, in considerably rarer cases, vice versa). Maybe this would be more important, and the legal system's responses more appropriate, if the words used to describe "domestic violence" incidents were more visceral.

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