Roger Goodell suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton for the entire 2012 season today. Of course he did. After all, what better way to get sportswriter after sportswriter to bow down in AWE of your far-reaching authority than to hand down a wildly severe punishment to someone who dares defy the commissioner's office? Look at all these fucking sheep falling in line.
The NFL has gone out of its way in recent years to protect its players from injury, but commissioner Roger Goodell took that message to a new level Wednesday.
The NFL and Goodell are not playing around when it comes to player safety. So while Payton, Williams, Loomis, Vitt and the Saints organization as a whole are all are paying a dear price, they are collateral damage to a greater cause.
The front page of FOX's NFL site:
GOODELL DROPS THE HAMMER
Peter King also professed to be "stunned" by the suspension, which is perfect because Peter King is shocked by everything. Then there's Goodell's statements on the matter itself:
Clearly, we were lied to.
And there's the root of the problem. It's not just that the Saints had a bounty system in place (as the NFL quietly ignores reports of the practice being widespread). It's that they dared to undermine the commissioner, who wants his control over the NFL to be total and who wants everyone to parrot the line of "player safety" in a sport that is inherently unsafe, extremely so. By getting everyone on board with this messaging, Goodell sidesteps the rather obvious conclusion that he's handing down severe punishments to avoid future litigation.
This was a punishment designed to send a message that Roger Goodell is kind of guy who likes sending messages. In the process, he's ruined the Saints' 2012 season, and he's even gotten morons like Clark Judge to demand that Sean Payton lose his job entirely.
This could've been avoided had Loomis only listened to his owner, but he didn't. So fire the guy. You heard me. Fire him. He disregarded an order from the boss, and look what happened.
Damn straight. In the NFL, if you don't do exactly as you're told, and you dare to subvert the established chain of command, well, then that earns you the death penalty. Goodell's punishment is about letting the world know that the NFL is the kind of league that keeps all its rogue elements in control. There will be no disobeying. There will be no players running amok like those spoiled children in the NBA. There will be no BAD MEN. This whole bounty system occurred not as an inevitable byproduct of hyper violent competition, but because the Saints were BAD MEN. So Goodell will rid the NFL of violence forever (You can watch again, Frank Bruni!) and absolve themselves of legal liability by disposing of all the bad men.
The NFL is a drill-sergeant father to everyone, and anyone who makes it seem otherwise pays the ultimate price. This is the kind of punishment that gets handed down with the goal of getting old white fans sitting in their rockers to nod in vigorous approval. Because thanks to the authority invested in him by God, Goodell's gonna do everything he can to make the NFL the cleanest and least violent violent sport that has ever been. And his disciples in the media are more than happy to take his shit and eat it. Roger Goodell is the commissioner not just of football, but of America's moral fiber. He's what Gregg Easterbrook would be if Gregg Easterbrook were commissioner, and he's the fucking worst.