“Doing What Must Be Done” is the title of a wonderful book by NSA colleague and fellow Speaker Hall of Famer, Chad Hymas, CPAE.
The title fits exactly what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did in his stern reprimand of New Orleans Saints’ Head Coach Sean Payton. Goodell suspended Payton for one year (NFL season). The investigation by the commissioner found the Saints not only guilty of disregarding the NFL rules of bounty hunting, but covering up their nefarious acts by denying them.
The action by Goodell was thoroughly investigated and properly enforced. Its severity was vital to the integrity of the league.
Intentionally trying to injure an opponent is not and has never been the purpose of the NFL game. It’s a gentlemen’s game. Oh sure, it is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting for every player; and, while it may sound harsh, it’s a collision sport. With the size of today’s NFL players injuries are going to happen.
In his years as NFL commissioner, Goodell has had to deal with more than the usual off-the-field incidences. He “sat down” Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick for Vick’s indictment in dog fighting. Then “sat down” Plaxico Burress when Burress shot himself in the leg in a nightclub with a concealed weapon.
Where does dealing with these degenerate acts appear in the commissioner’s job description? The commissioner has yet to rule on the Saints players’ responsibility in the bounty caper. Would it be insubordination if a player were to disobey his coaches’ orders? What role does the conscience of the locker room play in that situation?
Following the Saints disciplinary action, Goodell was quoted as saying he was doing so “to protect the integrity of the league”. Yes, commissioner, that undeniably is part of your job; however, you cannot and should not be doing that alone.
Upholding the “NFL shield” and the integrity for which it stands is the responsibility of every owner, every coach, every player, every game official, every doctor, every trainer, and every office person. The integrity factor needs to be in every one of those job descriptions. When each does his/her job to maintain that integrity, the commissioner should be able to just go to the games and enjoy the competition.
Will you include the importance of integrity in your job description?