I'd like to thank Gregg Williams for inspiring the single stupidest blog post headline of the year, from Frank Bruni of The New York Times. You can tell a sports scandal has reached its wear-out phase if Bruni feels compelled to chime in on it. Anyway, here's the headline:
Enough Football Violence
God, isn't that perfectly idiotic? It's like "Enough Basketball Baskets." You'll have to look long and hard to find a more tightly constructed oxymoron.
This kind of headline is precisely what Roger Goodell was looking for. Remember: This whole bounty affair was the result of an unprompted investigation by the NFL. There was no pressure on the NFL to look into this matter or make its findings public. But they did, specifically so that people like Bruni could look at it and gin up the kind of selective outrage that makes Goodell's dick chub up. Football is an inherently violent, barbaric sport. This is why we like watching it. But it's crucial for Goodell to keep up the bullshit illusion that there is some kind of moral boundary of acceptable violence within the sport, hence the outrage over Ndamukong Suh and the coming lifetime suspension for Gregg Williams.
This isn't to say Williams doesn't deserve it. He's an oily penis, and he'll have earned his ban for being so egregiously stupid to institutionalize a bounty system everywhere he worked without considering the lengths the NFL will go to keep its image squeaky-clean. In fact, Williams is the PERFECT fall guy for this whole affair. Because football won't be harmed in the least for his absence. No one's gonna miss him. In fact, I'm relieved I won't have to see any gratuitous sideline shots of his FUPA and his child-molester Transitions glasses during Rams games. Bringing the hammer down on Williams allows Goodell to show the world that HE MEANS BUSINESS and that HE DOESN'T LIKE BEING LIED TO and that every old white PFT commenter out there will happily eat his shit for defending the league's "integrity."
It's telling that the only truly scandalous part of this affair—the salary-cap violations committed by the Saints with these bonuses, featuring marketing guy Mark Ornstein kicking into the pot like a cut-rate Nevin Shapiro—has taken a backseat to the easier, more superficial outrage of OMG! PLAYERS TRIED TO HURT ONE ANOTHER! That's precisely what Goodell wants. He wants you to maintain a carefully constructed mental image of what constitutes proper violence in the NFL, and he wants you to jack off the league for policing that boundary. I picture Goodell sitting in his office with no pants on and fingerblasting himself while reading this lede from the Wall Street Journal, a paper that believes that the inherent dumbfuckery of large entities only exists if said entities are not privately owned:
In cracking down on the New Orleans Saints for allegedly condoning so-called bounties to team members who injured opponents, the National Football League is bolstering its record for protecting the safety of its players.
So true. In a fundamentally unsafe sport, let's admire the way Roger Goodell has bravely made sure that players are safe. Meanwhile, anyone up for an 18-game season? So long as it's free from football violence, of course.