I've been increasingly disgusted with the NFL lately. Although I love football, the NFL and I have issues, such as their overreaction in stadium security which won't let me carry my little drawstring bag* with my phone charger, reading material for the subway/El, etc. into the Linc -- if I even actually got an Eagles ticket, which I can't afford anyway. And their claim that they want to make the game safer and reduce or prevent serious injuries, particularly head injuries, is completely at cross-purposes with their insistence that there be weekly Thursday night games, as well as their consideration of future expansion of the regular season from 16 to 18 games.
But that's nothing compared to the initial outrage over the pathetic two-game suspension originally given Ray Rice by commissioner Roger Goodell, and the league's response to the punishment's total inadequacy (especially when compared with longer bans given players who committed the horrible crime of smoking pot), followed by the responses of Goodell, the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens once TMZ acquired the video of Rice viciously punching his then-fiancee, now-wife in the elevator at the newly-defunct Revel Casino in Atlantic City, followed by the league's totally inadequate responses to domestic violence caused by other players (you MUST read this).
And on top of all that came the news that Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was charged with child abuse, after beating his four-year-old son with a tree branch until the child bled. For those who somehow think there's nothing wrong with such discipline, think about it. Pause on these words, stare at them for a minute or two until it sinks in: HE BEAT HIS CHILD AND DREW BLOOD. HE MADE A FOUR-YEAR-OLD BLEED!
That was followed by the Vikings' flip-flops on whether he should be allowed to play, deactivating him for one game, then announcing that he would be reinstated, then reversing course after team and league sponsors began distancing themselves from this mess.
And then came today (technically yesterday, since this won't be finished until after midnight).
Roger Goodell came out of his secret bunker to hold a press conference, in which he evaded nearly every question and was thoroughly pwned by both CNN's Rachel Nichols and a guy from TMZ. A short while later, ESPN's "Outside the Lines" reported, in great detail (you also MUST read this one), among other things: how the Ravens and the NFL have lied about what they knew re: Rice's assault and when they knew it; how, despite this knowledge, the Ravens pushed for leniency from both Goodell and the Atlantic County judicial system; and how, even after TMZ released the in-elevator video and the Ravens fired him and the NFL suspended him indefinitely, Rice got a text from Ravens' owner Steve Biscotti wishing him well and adding, "When you're done with football, I'd like you to know you have a job waiting for you with the Ravens helping young guys getting acclimated to the league." Oh, that will be fun. Now, when you smack your bitch, be sure there are no cameras around...
It actually has me wondering if I should continue watching NFL games. After all, I avoided watching most of the Sochi #HateLympics after they failed to move the Winter Olympics due to Russia's extreme anti-gay laws and violence. (BTW, I still really like my idea for moving those games.) So should I not boycott the NFL as well? On the surface, yes. But I love the Eagles a lot more than the USA Olympic team, so I'm torn.
And that brought something else to mind: where is Eagles' owner Jeffrey Lurie? Why has he been silent on these recent events? Considering the team's emphasis on philanthropy and their green energy initiatives at the Linc, adding solar panels and wind turbines, he seems to be a rather progressive guy -- even if you discount the fact that he and his wife of 20 years divorced and, not quite a year later, he was married to a woman nearly 15 years younger than his first wife. And don't forget he okayed the Eagles' signing of Michael Vick.
Surely Jeffrey Lurie's against domestic violence and child abuse, isn't he? I'll assume that he is. But I've got questions. Does he believe Roger Goodell should still be commissioner? If so, why? If not, what steps is he taking? Is he talking to other owners? Is he talking to Goodell? Do the Eagles have established policies for how they will respond (outside of any NFL punishment, or lack thereof) if any of their players, coaches or front office personnel are involved in these or other crimes? If so, what are they? If not, why not?
The only mention of Lurie in any article regarding recent events, per my Google search, comes from Philadelphia Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky -- news columnist, not sports -- in which she writes about a letter written by three advocates to both Lurie and the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, asking for both teams to "step off of the sidelines and into the game to address the culture of family violence and provide leadership for safe families and safe communities" and, Polaneczky writes, asking both teams for help to provide safe emergency housing and legal representation to domestic-violence victims. The letters were written on August 12. As of the date of the column, September 10, there was no response from either team.
So where IS Jeff Lurie on this? And why, to the best of my knowledge, of the dozens -- I'm guessing; could be over 100 for all I know -- of reporters and columnists and on-air hosts and bloggers who cover the Eagles, has no one asked Lurie or any Eagles executive for comment? (A few players have spoken, but this is really about those who run the NFL.) No one -- from the Daily News, Inquirer, Delco Daily Times, Bucks County Courier Times, Wilmington News Journal, Courier-Post, Allentown Morning Call, 6ABC, CBS3, NBC10, FOX29, Comcast Sportsnet, KYW Newsradio, 94WIP, 97.5 The Fanatic, etc. -- has gotten so much as a "no comment" or even ATTEMPTED to get a comment? No one?
Hearing something from Lurie might help me with my dilemma, but our local media outlets have failed. It's not as egregious a failure as the term of Roger Goodell as commissioner, but still...
*Breaking news: it's called a sackpack! I never knew that.