Ever since Roger Goodell has become commissioner of the NFL back in September of 2006, he has left his stamp on multiple incidents. He has handed out hard suspensions (Adam “Pac-Man” Jones, Plaxico Burress, Michael Vick), and some were controversial (Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice). He has given out monetary fines, and once again, some were controversial (Robert Kraft, Jim Ersay). Goodell, now and days, has been labeled for someone who abuses their authority. It has gotten to the point that the 32 NFL owners, his bosses, are rethinking how much power he is able to use.
Over the past 18 months, Roger Goodell and The League has been a part of 3 controversial suspensions that went from the court of Roger Goodell to the court of law. Let’s start with Ray Rice. Ray Rice knocked his fiancé, at the time, out cold in an elevator and dragged her across the ground in March of 2014.
Goodell initially suspended Ray Rice for 4 games until the video footage was released. Once the whole world saw the catastrophic incident, Rice was suspended for the entire season. The only problem with that is he was punished for the same crime twice, which is known as Double Jeopardy. The League and Rice went to court and Ray Rice’s suspension was ultimately uplifted. Even though Ray Rice still hasn’t played a signal down in the NFL since the altercation, he is free to sign with whatever team if they choose to.
The next situation involved Adrian Peterson and his disciplinary actions with his son. In fall of 2014, Peterson pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor as was suspended indefinitely, only playing one game that season. When he didn’t cooperative with The League by not going to their disciplinary hearing, that’s when Peterson was hit with the season-long suspension.
In December, Adrian Peterson appealed the suspension to an arbitrator appointed by Roger Goodell (not surprising), and I bet you know what happened next (that’s right, access denied)! The NFL Players Association filed a lawsuit on Peterson’s behalf. He was able to win the case in February, but (of course) the NFL appealed. The League ended up losing the appeal, and Adrian was able to be officially reinstated.
The latest dispute that took legal action involved Tom Brady, the reigning Superbowl champion, and the infamous “Deflategate”. The Deflategate incident occurred during this past year’s AFC Championship Game. The New England Patriots routed the Indianapolis Colts 45-7, but some of the Patriots weighed less than league standards. Personally, I believe the footballs being undersized wasn’t going to stop LeGarrette Blount from destroying Indy’s run defense, but rules are rules.
Tom Brady was never found guilty of having any affiliation with the situation, but he was suspended for not cooperating with the league (sounds familiar) with the investigation. Brady felt like he did nothing and appealed the suspension. Roger Goodell upheld the suspension. Both Brady and Goodell went to court (that Goodell picked the location) where the judge urged them to reach a settlement. A settlement was never close to getting done. In September of 2015, the judge “deflated” the suspension. The League is currently appealing.
ESPN’s NFL insider Adam Schefter and former New England Patriots and ESPN analyst sounded off on Roger Goodell after Tom Brady’s suspension was overturned. It’s gotten to that point that you start to wonder if Roger Goodell is doing the NFL justice anymore. His “never backing down” approach cost him popularity with the fans and the players. Now, his 32 bosses are starting to question his authority.