Between us, if I were the commissioner of the NFL and I suspected that a team was practicing institutionalized racism in hiring team executives and coaches, I’d see to it, and pronto, that it end, serious consequences to follow.
But that’s not how Roger Goodell operates. He prefers to perform as the pandering Great White Father by treating all like dopes, safely painting all with the same dripping paint roller.
Last week, to the surprise of those who can see, Goodell announced that the NFL hasn’t done nearly enough to hire minority assistant coaches, head coaches, GMs, VPs — even if the increased presence of black sideline coaches, field booth coaches and inside execs became difficult to miss.
Goodell even suggested a process through which teams would be rewarded improved draft pick positions for increased interviews, if not the hiring, of minority candidates — a measure that has since been tabled.
In other words, Goodell would replace that frequent draft time bromide about choosing the “best available” player to instead conduct more token interviews, token hires, insulting all minority candidates who can reasonably conclude that they’re being indulged for nothing more significant than their race.
But we’ll get back to that.
In 2014, Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, deemed a credible mentor by Goodell’s NFL, told a roomful of rookies that it if/when they’re arrested, they should have a pal at the ready to act as their fall guy, to take the rap for payment.
Carter, then with ESPN, wasn’t fired. It even may have raised his TV status — he soon was hired by Fox. But by then the TV plan already was to reward the lowest uncommon denominator.
This week Patrick Patel, a lawyer representing Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker after his arrest for armed robbery and aggravated assault, described his client’s condition: “After spending a night in jail, Baker has some fire in his belly, and realizes he may have the opportunity to be Ray Lewis and not Ray Rice.”
Thus, with Patel’s guidance, Baker can be perceived as Rice, the former Ravens running back out of Rutgers who knocked cold his fiancée in an Atlantic City casino.
Or, on Patel’s watch, he could come out of this smelling like Lewis, the renown former Ravens linebacker who forgot where he put his blood-soaked suit after the stabbing murders of two men whose families Lewis paid off — before they erected a statue of him doing his post-tackle blood dance outside the stadium in Baltimore, now an annual favorite to win Murder Capital of the Nation.
Last week the NFL continued to prove it has a growing, untreated illness: the criminality of its players, often felony charges. This past Saturday, four active NFL players were booked on felony gun charges. Such criminality is driving a permanent wedge between the league and had-enough customers, viewers and fans.
Goodell’s response? Nothing. But he’d prefer to ignore the intelligent than offend the offensive.
As for hiring “the best available” as a matter of common, greater-good sense, the transparent political populism now practiced by presidential candidate Joe Biden has rings of Goodell-style reverse bigotry to it. Biden has declared that his running mate must be a woman, thus eliminating roughly half the nation’s worthy citizens.
One wonders if Goodell or Biden, in need of emergency surgery, would insist on a black surgeon, a female surgeon or “the best available” surgeon?
And what, other than nothing, has Goodell done to call out the black players who have undermined their black head coaches?
For 16 years, Marvin Lewis was the head coach of the Bengals as the franchise became synonymous with bad, counterproductive acts — from Adam “Pacman” Jones, Chris Henry and Vontaze Burfict.
Since 2007, Mike Tomlin’s reign in Pittsburgh has been undone by some real me-first doozies — including Le’Veon Bell, Joey Porter, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Brown.
You think Plaxico Burress, carrying a gun into a nightclub, thought even once about Jerry Reese, the Giants’ black GM who acquired him and had him paid $25 million?
Of course, since naming Jay-Z the NFL’s Minister of Social Justice, Goodell still hasn’t found the time to read Jay-Z’s vulgar, N-wording, gun-loving, women-degrading lyrics — not aloud, not in public.
If Roger Goodell were a leader rather than a pandering, feckless and selectively blind monument to populist foolishness, he’d identify the team or teams that he feels practice institutionalized racism in hiring, rather than cowardly condemning all. If he finds any, fix it. Such teams shouldn’t be hard to spot.
The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy, writing about last weekend’s return of Germany’s Bundesliga soccer, played in empty parks, described Borussia Dortmund’s 4-0 win over FC Schalke:
“The goal celebrations were muted. No unnecessary touching and certainly less self-indulgence. This was purely sport. It had been missing longer than we ever could have imagined.”
Hey, that might catch on. Here we have to deal with Roger Goodell and Rob Manfred urging players and kids to act like immodest creeps.
Reader Dr. Michael Flagg asks a good question: “Are Blake Snell and Bryce Harper saying they’re willing to risk their lives for X dollars but not for Y dollars?”
Booger getting picked on
What ESPN did to Booger McFarland from Day 1, two seasons ago, placing him in that absurd Rubber Boogie Buggy on “Monday Night Football,” guaranteed him and ESPN instant ridicule. Last season, his first seated in the booth like a human, he had some excessive moments but overall wasn’t bad. Now he’s out when he deserves a mulligan.
Ed Randall’s and Steve Garvey’s “Fans for the Cure” launched an online support group Thursday for those who have or had prostate cancer, via [email protected]
I erred here Sunday, writing that Mario Cuomo, as N.Y. governor, was delighted to introduce ITT and Cablevision as the Garden’s new owners in 1995. That occurred in 1994. By 1995 George Pataki was governor.
Reader Jim DeLucca reminds us that former Yankees GM Bob Watson, who died last week at 74, in 1975, when playing for Houston, scored MLB’s one millionth run. And he ran hard, too.
Phil Dean, hired as ESPN’s new producer of “Monday Night Football,” is dues-payer from way back. He was a production assistant on CBS’ coverage of the 1992 Super Bowl.
Obsequious TV phony Ken Osmond/Eddie Haskell, died this week at 76. Many of us still regard him as the first and greatest character actor in sitcom history. Later, as a police officer, he was shot twice.
Purely as a matter of inexcusable self-indulgence, I present this lookalike: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and my granddaughter, Maya.