NFL commissioner Roger Goodell must feel right now like Tom Brady felt one week ago when the Dolphins’ Cameron Wake was in his face mask all day and Brady — pummeled and sacked — retreated to the sideline and buried his head in a towel, possibly weeping.
Goodell is being sacked from all sides by his own misbehaving football players and by his apparent inability to either make them behave or to mete out punishment that is fair, consistent, logical and not causing public outrage.
The won’t-go-away Ray Rice domestic-abuse scandal has bloomed to become Goodell’s Watergate, generating an independent investigation led by a former FBI director. But even as that rages on, dozens of brush fires arise across the league.
Here’s an actual headline from Friday: “Vikings’ Adrian Peterson indicted for negligent injury of a child.”
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Can you imagine Goodell being told that the latest ne’er-do-well happens to be the league’s star running back? Can you imagine his reaction?
“I’m not in the mood for jokes!”
“Roger, it’s true …”
A national women’s advocacy group called UltraViolet has paid for “Goodell Must Go” banners to fly over this week’s games hosted by the Browns, Giants, 49ers and Colts. But is it all poor Rog’s fault if players keep getting in trouble?
Should have been a premonition during the preseason when Peyton Manning — the affable, good-guy, never-in-trouble face of the NFL — got fined for taunting.
The NFL needs a new type of scoreboard. Why not start with the Dolphins’ game Sunday at the Bills? Here’s my idea:
Take each team’s 53-man roster and then subtract every player who is currently or formerly suspended, who has ever been arrested or indicted, or who has ever had to delete an embarrassing tweet.
The team with the most players left wins, assuming either team has any players left.
▪ We’re five days from the start of the Panthers’ first NHL training camp under new coach Gerard Gallant. He thinks that’s a big deal because he’s new. Doesn’t know this market yet. Let’s not break it to him that we’ll fake excitement for the season opener, but, sorry, not for camp.
▪ The FXFL (Fall Experimental Football League), with four teams including the local Florida Blacktips based at FIU, is to begin play in October. “See you soon!” said the caretaker of the Miami Minor-League Sports Graveyard.
▪ Hawks general manager Danny Ferry is taking a leave of absence after telling team executives that Luol Deng (now with the Heat) has “got some African in him.” Nobody is even sure what that means, exactly, but it’s a race card so we’re appropriately offended, just to play it safe.
▪ UM president Donna Shalala is stepping down after 14 years at the university. Many Hurricanes football fans complained that her high academic standards hurt the program, oblivious to how comically upside-down that made their priorities seem.
▪ The Canes and FIU agreed to resume competing in all sports, including, commencing in 2018, footbrawl. Sorry. Freudian slip.
▪ The severe sanctions levied against Penn State football after the Jerry Sandusky scandal have been lifted. “Oops, my bad,” explained the NCAA.
▪ After poor service, the Eagles’ LeSean McCoy said he left a 20-cent tip on a $62 restaurant bill as “a statement.” The statement? “I’m really cheap.”
▪ Sunday in Chicago begins NASCAR’s 10-race Chase for the Cup. This is the 11th year for the Chase and the fourth different format as NASCAR continues trying — thus far without success — to make it so Dale Earnhardt Jr. can win it all.
▪ The Marlins’ 2015 schedule came out, and teams coming here next season will include the Yankees and Red Sox. Honk if you recall when that news was a lot more exciting than it is now.
▪ Hey, how about that Mercury-Sky WNBA Finals!? No, I’m actually asking because I haven’t paid attention.
▪ Serena Williams, turning 33 next week, won her third consecutive U.S. Open, sixth overall and 18th major. Luckily she refused to sign for the certified letter informing her tennis players her age are supposed to be in decline.
▪ Marin Cilic beat Kei Nishikori for the men’s U.S. Open crown. But, really, other than it being a star-less, lopsided match won by a guy coming off a doping ban, it was a great men’s final!
▪ Sentences I Never Imagined Writing (from actual headlines, one in a series): “Man hides in Nick Saban’s bathroom to propose to girlfriend.”
▪ Florida hunters might soon be allowed to use silencers on their weapons. What, are they training to be hit men?
▪ Division II Tusculum held College of Faith to minus-100 total yards in a 71-0 win. I assume College of Faith players are monks who compete in flowing robes and sandals?
▪ Parting thought: Outgoing MLB commissioner Bud Selig has formed a committee to suggest how to speed up games. I still like my idea: First run wins.
Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote and also on Facebook, Instagram and Vine.
Today: Marlins in NL MVP voting. Though Hanley Ramirez was MVP runner-up in 2009, no Marlin has ever gotten a first-place vote. Giancarlo Stanton, despite his season-ending injury, is expected to be the first this season. Top five Marlins in MVP voting points:
Note: Rounding out top 10 are Moises Alou (60 points in 1997), Ramirez (55 in ’08), Ramirez (49 in ’07), Dontrelle Willis (42 in ’05) and Juan Pierre (39 in ’03).
What South Florida Sports Fans are Talking About
Fastball to face ends Stanton’s big season: Wild-card hopes are all but erased, and now speculation is that his missing the last two weeks of the season after Thursday’s awful injury could cost Giancarlo Stanton the NL MVP award. Man, those would be some harsh voters, right? That would quite literally redefine “adding insult to injury.”
Miami shuffles off to Buffalo, seeks 2-0 start: After last week’s exhilarating 33-20 opening win over New England, this is where I’d mention the profound historical significance of a 2-0 start, if only Miami hadn’t once been 3-0 last year only to watch Richie Incognito devour the entire team and have the season end in a dumpster fire.
UM six days from huge test at Nebraska: Canes fans are hoping the team makes a statement in UM’s next game, Saturday night at unbeaten Nebraska. Unless UM somehow managed to lose at home to underdog Arkansas State , in which case Canes fans Sunday mostly would be hoping to run coach Al Golden clean out of town.
Ray Rice scandal reaches commissioner’s desk: An ESPN-commissioned poll found 55 percent think NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is not being truthful and 37 percent think he should lose his job over the handling of the Ray Rice case. A Greg Cote-commissioned poll found 100 percent wonder why on earth Goodell makes $42 million a year.
5. TEAM USA
Americans go for gold in FIBA World Cup: Team USA will be heavily favored to win FIBA World Cup gold Sunday in Madrid after breezing to the final with an 8-0 record and average winning margin of 33points. What was that you were saying about how much the team would miss absent stars such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant?