Reimer: Roger Goodell vs. Jerry Jones is the ultimate battle of evil

Alex Reimer
November 09, 2017 - 1:13 pm

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Roger Goodell and Jerry Jones are clashing in the ultimate battle of evil. And with an array of injuries to star players, it may wind up being the most captivating drama of the rest of the NFL season. 

It is nearly impossible to pick a side in this heavyweight bout of egotism. The conflict stems from Jones’ hypocritical fury over Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game domestic violence suspension. The brash billionaire says Elliott is being punished due to Goodell’s “overcorrection” on the issue. That is probably right, and if Jones weren’t so detestable, his point would be worth considering. But Jones built the monster he’s now trying to slay. When Goodell’s reign of terror struck the Patriots during Deflategate, the Cowboys owner applauded the commissioner’s heavy-handed handling of the issue. 

"(Goodell's) got obviously a very tough job," Jones said, per ESPN. "Now I see some people doing that, that's that old violin that's not feeling too sorry for him because that's why you pay the big bucks is to deal with the big problems. But he's doing an outstanding job.”

Few owners rallied to Kraft’s defense during Deflategate. Instead, most of them preached the party line about how Goodell must retain his unilateral powers to best protect the interests of the shield. Keep in mind, there was already plenty of evidence Goodell is a reactionary boob. The Ray Rice scandal, which unfolded just four months prior to the start of Deflategate, was perhaps the most poorly handed disciplinary case in the history of the league. Originally, the Ravens running back was suspended just two games for knocking out his then-fiancee in an elevator. But once TMZ released video of the assault, Goodell slapped Rice with an indefinite ban. It was overturned in court, because players can’t be punished twice for the same crime without any new revelations. A law enforcement official says he sent the elevator tape to the league office. It seems as if Goodell’s opinion only changed when the public backlash became too much to bear.

While Goodell was botching the Rice case, Kraft was championing his performance on national TV. He said on CBS Goodell’s handling of the matter had been “excellent.” Less than one year later, Kraft bemoaned himself for having faith in the league to treat Tom Brady fairly. He should have seen it coming.

NFL owners boost Goodell’s erratic authoritarianism until it affects them. Jones, much like Kraft, held the power to stop Goodell long before the Elliott case. He declined the chance.

Jones is threatening to fight Goodell more strongly than Kraft ever did. Kraft even complimented Goodell while Brady’s legal dilemma was still playing out, saying the commissioner was doing a "very good job" in spring 2016. Kraft sits on the six-person committee that determines Goodell’s pay. The committee’s decision to go forward with Goodell’s extension may cause Jones to be the first owner to take legal action against the league since Al Davis in 1996. 

The New York Times reports Jones has hired a lawyer to sue the league if Goodell’s extension isn’t halted by Friday. Fittingly, the attorney is David Boies, who represented serial sexual predator Harvey Weinstein and helped him use private investigators to silence his victims. Boies is the perfect opportunistic villain to round out this circle. 

Goodell deserved to be fired years ago. Now that NFL ratings are down, however, Jones and 16 other owners are reportedly considering his dismissal. It would be an appropriately callous end for an exceptionally callous man. But then again, it reeks of scapegoating. NFL ratings are largely declining because of changing viewership patterns, not player national anthem protests or poorly handled scandals. The people didn’t leave the league at the height of its domestic violence crisis, when the Rice, Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson cases were all happening simultaneously. The people have spoken, and they don’t care.

Also, Jones signed Hardy, who threw his ex-girlfriend onto a couch littered with rifles and threatened to kill her. He's also vehemently defending Elliott, whose accuser did post pictures of bruises that all occurred when she says the beatings took place. It's outrageous, and frankly sickening, for him to oust Goodell on the grounds that he's handled domestic violence poorly.  

Jones is trying to jettison Goodell because now the commissioner is hurting his team. And, maybe he'll get another Twitter shoutout from his pal Donald Trump. Only under those circumstances is Goodell worth rooting for. 

But that would mean –– you know –– siding with Goodell. Complete chaos is the only palatable outcome here. It looks like we might get it. 

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