By Greg Smith
Unless the head of a privately owned professional sports league should be held to a higher standard than the country’s president and legislators, President Obama and New York’s junior senator need to resign immediately.
National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell stands accused of lying about if he, before handing former Baltimore Raven star running back Ray Rice a two-game suspension on July 24, was privy to the now infamous video of Rice knocking his then-fiancée unconscious. Goodell denies it but an unnamed law enforcement official said the NFL received the video in April. The NFL states it was unaware of the video until it was released on a web site on Sep. 8.
Senator Kristin Gillibrand, D-N.Y. over the weekend said that if Goodell lied about not seeing the video, he must quit. “If he lied, then he has to step down. You can’t lie to the American people about the facts,” Said Gillibrand on the podcast “Capital Games” on Sep. 12.
NFL commissioner must be such an important position that lies cannot be tolerated as they can be with relatively unimportant positions like U.S. senator or president. President Obama told the nation in 2009 his health care law would allow anyone who so desired to keep their health plans. Not only was that patently dishonest, Gillibrand admitted she – and most likely the rest of her colleagues who supported the law – knew it wasn’t true.
When Martha Raddatz asked Gillibrand on ABC News Nov. 13, 2013 whether she was misled by Obama’s statement, the senator responded, “No, we all knew. The whole point of the plan is to cover things people need, like preventive care, birth control, pregnancy. . .”
So the president lied, you and your colleagues knew he lied, and you did nothing about it? That is acceptable behavior from a sitting senator, but not an NFL commissioner? Gillibrand was one of 16 female senators who recently sent a letter to the NFL asking it establish a no-tolerance policy on domestic violence.
“It is long past time for the NFL to institute a real zero-tolerance policy and send a strong message that the league will not tolerate violence against women by its players, who are role models for children across America,” read the letter drafted by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA. “We hope the NFL will seize this opportunity to lead by example and demonstrate its commitment to the safety of women and families (italics added).”
Isn’t the president a role model? Of the 16 senators who signed the letter, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) were in office in 1999. All five voted not to remove President Clinton from office in 1999. Clinton lied to the public as well as separately under oath. But football players must be held to a higher standard!
“Harumph, harumph, harumph!”
Notice also, the letter covers only female victims. To hell with men, even though the large number of domestic violence incidents in which the woman is the perp should be common knowledge.
And why are elected leaders who pass laws governing the nation pushing for a zero-tolerance policy against a miniscule portion of society? Senators pass the laws that govern the nation. If zero-tolerance is good for the NFL, isn’t it good for the rest of society?
Of course it isn’t. Zero-tolerance policies are foolish, feel-good ideas that get first-graders suspended for saying “bang bang” or black men locked up for 10 years for having an ounce of pot. A zero-tolerance policy on domestic abuse in the NFL would mean a 22-year-old player’s girlfriend could slap him in a bar and suffer almost no consequences, but if he gave her an equal or lesser slap in return his career would be destroyed. That may not be fair, but when your political party is facing a drubbing at the polls, changing the subject is a useful tactic.
This is certainly not a defense of the NFL, Ray Rice or Roger Goodell. It is just an attack on the sexist, double-dealing hypocrites who have taken over the Democratic Party. I hope they will, as they wrote, “seize this opportunity to lead by example” and resign. ©
Greg Smith is a freelance writer and political consultant who lives in Bantam, CT. His blog is found at www.betterfatthanfascist.com.