McMullen: Goodell Shouldn’t Get His Extension
(973espn.com) - In the world of aggregation, you knew what would gain traction from the latest inside look by Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta inside the war being waged by the NFL's most powerful owner against its commissioner.
When Jerry Jones was informed by Roger Goodell that Ezekiel Elliott was going to be suspended for six games, he silently stewed until unleashing this:
"I'm gonna come after you with everything I have," the Dallas owner said. "If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a p@#$y compared to what I'm going to do."
What Jones has done is unleash war, threatening to sue the league if they move forward to extend Goodell, an endgame the Cowboys' steward was once in lockstep with. He also unveiled a pincer movement by targeting Goodell from a public relations standpoint by leaking the excesses the commish has demanded like $50 million per year and the lifetime use of a private jet.
As written many times Jones is a petty hypocrite, only becoming angry at what has been a commish running amuck with power over his players for years only when the one Jones thought could end his Super Bowl drought was targeted.
There is more than one way to get to a destination, however, and even though Jones took a more than circuitous route to get to his he came to the right conclusion, albeit for all the wrong reasons.
Everything Jones believes about Goodell today is true. The latter is the worst kind of leader, a reactionary who is allergic to anything proactive. An inconsistent decision maker who creates problems that aren't there originally and perhaps worst of all, the face of America's most popular sports league despite the absence of any credibility.
Jones is right when he says the NFL should get out of the investigation business and he's also prudent in believing the league should stick to sports when it comes to social issues.
And those who believe otherwise are in concert with Goodell creating issues for a brand that is at its core is an escapist entertainment vehicle.
Take NBA commissioner Adam Silver who took the bull by the horns when it came to protecting his brand, giving his players advice on how to use their platform while also laying down the law and instructing them to not even think about kneeling during the national anthem.
In a memo before their season, Deputy NBA Commissioner Mark Tatum suggested teams use their opening games “to demonstrate your commitment to the NBA’s core values of equality, diversity, inclusion and serve as a unifying force in the community” but once Francis Scott Key kicked in understand you are representing a business, one that can't afford to alienate its constituents no matter what side of history they might be on.
Plenty of criticism was leveled at the NBA but it never wavered and there have been no substantive problems.
Compare that to Goodell's league and all the acrimony because of the constant attempts and impossible nature of placating both sides of a politically-charged environment where neither has any interest in compromise.
Good leaders don't enter fights they have no chance of winning.
The league's issue in the Goodell era has always been a simple one: it equates criticism to imminent danger.
There are always going to be critics especially when things are high-profile and able to generate significant publicity by taking shots. Common sense, however, always resonates with the silent majority.
An NFL that leans on the legal community to handle actual legal issues in a consistent fashion and stipulates it's not a moral compass would continue to be targeted by idealogues pushing agendas but by refusing to accept faulty premises, the power of such criticism is neutralized.
Jones is hardly being that thoughtful with his war but his vision of the NFL is better than Goodell's.
-John McMullen is a national football columnist for Extra Points Media and 973espn.com. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@Sgmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen