So Dad says to his teenage son, “You’re grounded for a month.” “What for?” the son angrily responds. “Well, for starters,” replies Dad, “we agreed on certain rules.” “What rules?” the son demands to know. Dad reminds him that the agreement was for him to be home by midnight when using the family car. “Well, yes, but Dad.” Dad interrupts him, saying, “You didn’t come home until after 1 a.m., but the story you gave me was that it was ‘about 11:45p.m.'”
Dad had checked out the story, as a responsible dad will do. Son then says, “Well, Dad, you’re right; I’m sorry.” With the violation established, grounding is totally justified. But the son quickly adds “I’m gonna appeal!” Laughter can be heard throughout the neighborhood. Appeal? To whom? To the same guy who dispatched the order?
New Orleans Saints and head coach Sean Payton’s appealed to his “dad” when he asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to review the one-year suspension for Payton’s responsibility in the recent “bounty hunting” brought to light in that organization. What purpose does disciplinary action serve if, on appeal, the appropriate sentence is weakened or reversed? Goodell, who works for 32 NFL owners, conducted an investigation that was thorough and took months and years to discover and adjudicate.
The appeal option was put into place to allow the accused due process. Observing it, the commissioner must follow established guidelines. Unfortunately, the Saints didn’t.
This is not a personal rant against Payton or the Saints, but those who have violated established guidelines for player safety deserve our disapproval. As game officials we paid special attention to those who, for whatever reason, went beyond the essence of the game. During the course of a given game, there was no appeal.
What a marvelous example Payton could set if he just accepts the commissioner’s decision and moves on. We all make mistakes and Payton has admitted his. When that happens, others will tend to see a desirable quality in the one who has realized his error.
Payton will be a head coach again one day, and he will be a better one for this transgression. (Note: At this writing, the decision on the appeal has not been announced.)
Will you accept whatever discipline comes your way and learn from it to be a better person?