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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student


OPINION: The NFL has a problem and his name is Roger Goodell


On Oct. 11, Jon Gruden, coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, stepped down after offensive emails, spanning a seven-year period starting in 2011, were leaked. These emails contained multiple accounts of racism, homophobia and misogyny. 

Whether rooted in favoritism or racism, there is obvious hypocrisy in the NFL and not just within the past two weeks, but under the entire tenure of commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell.

Emails from the NFL’s general counsel, Jeff Pash, to the former Washington Football Team’s president, Bruce Allen, were also leaked recently. 

These emails were released as part of an investigation of the Washington Football Team over sexual harassment and verbal abuse allegations from over 40 former employees of the organization. The investigation involved over 650,000 emails. 

Mike Florio of NBC Sports says that the leaked emails contained “not only favoritism toward one team but also a casual, nonchalant brand of racism and disregard of players,” Florio said.“Many would say he should be held to a higher standard. Many would say he’s not fit for the job based solely on the emails released to date.” 

Sports gambling hasn’t always been the desired industry for the league. In 2003, Roger Goodell and the NFL wouldn’t even allow Las Vegas companies to have 30 seconds worth of advertisements to boost the city’s tourism. 

“We strongly urge you to reject any proposal to permit a sports lottery in Delaware.” These were words written by Goodell in a 2009 letter to Delaware Gov. Jack Markell. In as early as 2012, Goodell was widely against sports gambling, saying it would force the integrity of the game to be questioned. 

Today the NFL generates about $270 million in revenue from sports betting, with projections of more than a billion dollars by the end of the decade according to The Washington Post

There are also racial inequalities in the league that continue to remain untouched. Black players make up close to 70% of the NFL players’ roster in a league where there are just four Black head coaches, five Black general managers and no Black team owners with majority shares across all 32 NFL teams. Contrary to what Goodell and the NFL may believe, putting the words “End Racism” in the endzones and allowing “Black Lives Matter” to be printed on the back of players’ helmets doesn’t solve racism.

This action is a thoughtful gesture but doesn’t forgive the league’s blacklisting of Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid for kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games. 

Kaepernick still has yet to play in an NFL football game since Jan. 17, 2017, although it was reported by Bleacher Report earlier this week that he trains five to six days a week in hopes of an NFL comeback.

This is all while team owners and coaches, such as Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and Urban Meyer, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach, keep their jobs. 

Kraft was alleged of soliciting prostitution back in January 2019. In 2018, Meyer kept silent about his involvement with domestic abuse allegations.

This hypocrisy is seen in something even as prominent as the Super Bowl. It was announced that the halftime show of this season’s Super Bowl would be headlined by Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige and Snoop Dogg. 

This decision becomes even more questionable considering many songs by these artists contain misogynic, homophobic and even violent lyrics. For example, take Eminem with his song “Criminal” or Snoop Dogg on a Dr. Dre song.

This isn’t a discussion on whether these artists should be canceled for what they rap about in their songs by the general public.

There’s obvious hypocrisy in the NFL, and this is routine. Goodell is the commissioner and the change starts with him, a change that must be made immediately.

Saturday Night Live actor Colin Jost, posing as Roger Goodell, said it best, “But hey at least no one is talking about concussions.”

Jacob Spudich (he/him) is a freshman studying journalism and political science. He is a DJ for the WIUX student radio station, a member of Timmy Global Health and a huge Detroit Tigers fan.

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