Give it up, Roger Goodell. As commissioner of the NFL, you’re plenty powerful. You don’t need that power to include being judge and jury for off-field player discipline.
Face it. That part of your job has put a fairly nasty stain on your run at the top of America’s most popular sport. In the last year and a half, you’ve rendered decisions in cases involving domestic violence (Ray Rice), child abuse (Adrian Peterson), and deflated footballs (Tom Brady). All three were overturned in court or by an arbitrator.
Enough. You shouldn’t want to be in this damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t position. Your strength is your business and marketing savvy. It’s in keeping the league open to new ideas for growth and development on and off the field.
It isn’t in the handling of player punishment.
Hopefully, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, the league and the NFL Players Association are closer to a deal that would put that responsibility in the hands of neutral arbitrators (lawyers or former judges) who serve as hearing officers.
Make it happen, Roger. You have the power to do that.