There's an NBC News/Marist poll going around—maybe you've seen it—in which 606 adults answered questions about the NFL's and Roger Goodell's handling of its various domestic violence scandals. One of the questions asks whether respondents think Roger Goodell should resign; 29 percent of them say yes, 43 percent say no, and the remaining 29 percent say they're unsure.
How to read this ambiguous, mysterious result? If you're a simpleminded plebe like me, you might reach for the wild, speculative interpretation that some people think Roger Goodell should quit his job, others don't, and a third group of people have not yet made up their minds about it. On the other hand, if you're SI.com's Peter King, who isn't a human so much as a boutique transcription service for the NFL, you might read it differently. Maybe. You think you think you might.
Twenty-nine percent believe Roger Goodell should be forced to resign—which, conversely, could be taken (and I am sure will be by the league) that Goodell has 71% job approval. That's not what it says, though. The question was whether Goodell should be forced to resign, not whether he is doing a good job at running the NFL.
(Note that the actual poll question does not ask whether Goodell should be forced to resign, but only whether he should resign.)
Oh, well, it could be taken that way. Maybe some people will read it as a ringing endorsement of Goodell. That's not what the question asks, but certainly some observers will draw that conclusion from it. Wise men? Maybe. Godlike in their interpretive powers? Who knows. Certainly not not not not not un-quasi-Godlike, though. I think.
As for ol' Pete, though, don't come looking for him to take up the burning truncheon of simpleton outrage:
I think if you're waiting for me to call for Roger Goodell to be fired, you'll have to wait a while. I'm not into mob rule either.
What in the exact hell does this couplet even mean? At first blush, the second sentence seems like it could follow the first: You go, yeah, let's not make rash decisions, here, just because the mob is all het up. It's a neat pandering trick: He waves his hands a little bit and hey presto!—"deploying critical thinking faculties in the formation of an opinion" suddenly is synonymous with "deferring to reactionary hysteria." (We see this mode of argument from time to time from sports-media types who carry water for entrenched power but feel a little ashamed about it. Call it argumentum ad Clay Travisum—defend the powerful by sneering at Twitter mobs and the like, as if outrage were somehow illegitimate merely for being widely shared by people who are not credentialed media.)
This really is how Peter King works. He quite literally cannot conceive of having his own thoughts: If the things he thinks he thinks are not to be rote transcription of inside-NFL talking points, then the only alternative is for them to be rote transcription of outside-NFL conventional wisdom. This is what it is to be Peter King, unmoored from the sheltering harbor of Roger Goodell's pendulous wattle, as he assuredly is, now that the NFL cast him and his reportorial credibility adrift on the "NFL sources saw the video" flotilla: grasping for things to think he thinks, opinions maybe to have, judgments uncritically to repeat.
Faithful Peter, desperate to go down with the ship. The joke's on him: The ship isn't going down. Only he is.