Sure, we all laughed when Pac Man Jones was suspended by the NFL for a year, because it's Pac Man Jones, and everything Pac Man Jones does is funny. But CBS Sportsline's Clay Travis points out that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was positively Orwellian in his sentence. After all, Pac Man is essentially being disciplined solely for how he lives his life.
Prof. Covington says that Goodell's actions are most striking because they expand the traditional parameters of discipline exercised by a commissioner or league. "Usually these league suspensions for off-the-field conduct boil down to two main areas. First, drugs or second, gambling. Domestic violence would be the third most common area of discipline, but generally that is handled by the teams themselves. What's important is that this is opening a door to examine areas of conduct that haven't been examined by the league before. Where could that go from here?"
Aside from explaining just how sweeping this detour into the private lives of the league's players is relative to prior actions, Covington also made it clear why commissioner Goodell's rulings are likely to be upheld — "He hears the appeals of his own rulings." Orwellian indeed. Ergo it seems very unlikely that having handed down a punishment on one day, Goodell is going to change that ruling on the next day.
In other words: Goodell can say "I don't like how you act," regardless of specific charges, using a "It is not enough to simply avoid being found guilty of a crime" defense, and no one, even the union, seems to mind. Someday, the NFL will literally get away with murder, and absolutely no one will mind.
NFL's Punishment Policy Straight Out Of Orwell [ClayNation]