Cory's Corner: Where does Roger Goodell go from here?

We’re finally ready to start another NFL season.

Let’s be honest — the preseason is long enough.

But we learned something about this professional tackle football league. With one ruling, it really showed how deceitful, greedy and arrogant it is.

Of course, I’m talking about Tom Brady’s punishment going from four games to zero for the Deflategate debacle. The NFL took one of its main characters to court over air. When you boil it down, how silly does that actually sound when the league has had issues with domestic violence and performance-enhancing drugs.

But the owners were always happy to look the other way because the NFL is making $11 billion. The shield has acted like it has been invincible for a while now, but Goodell just proved it.

First of all, it should be mentioned that the reason that Deflategate even made it this far was because of the NFL Players Association. They signed off on Goodell having supreme authority to be the judge, jury and even hear appeals.

Goodell was brought in to clean things up and act as a pseudo sheriff. But at the same time, you cannot let your ego cloud your judgment. Goodell suspended Tom Brady four games with nothing but circumstantial evidence.

The moment this case made it to an actual court of law, I figured that Goodell and the NFL were in trouble. Even if Brady did do it, because all quarterbacks know what a game ball feels like prior to a game, Goodell never had anything conrete.

In what should’ve been a small ripple, Goodell tried to throw a boulder into a pond.

But now the NFL is embarrassed and the rest of the owners want Goodell to pull back on some of his discipline responsibilities. I agree with that, but something like that needs to be collectively bargained. The NFLPA will want that wording changed quickly.

But where does that leave the NFL now? Is it better off with someone that doesn’t have much respect for women and others as opposed to making gobs of money each year?

Goodell should be punished. But the question is how do you do that to a person that’s making $44 million a year? He knows he has supreme power, which will never go away.

Yet, the rest of the owners must get together and find someone that can balance printing money and operating a world superhower with a modicum of decency.

That’s impossible for plenty of folks because greed ultimately wins out.

It’s a different league than the NFL from 20 years ago. Money was still a major factor but it wasn’t as in your face as it is today. Stadiums were just stadiums back then, not full entertainment complexes built to attract young professionals.

The NFL has always had a connection to blood, mud and controlled violence. Those things have taken a backseat to board rooms, suits and lawyer-speak. This past offseason alone, we saw more courtroom cutaways than of anyone discussing anything that was about to happen on the field.

The league is at a crossroads right now. It can continue being a money-hungry organization, only to risk alienating its oldest fanbase, or it can understand the needs of the average fan in a cash-strapped economy.

The NFL is far and away the best sport on television. However, if it continues to eat itself without regard to the fans, then I’m not sure what Goodell and his band of merry owners can do.

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (15)

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croatpackfan's picture

September 08, 2015 at 08:31 am

I do not want to be advocate of any character that is connected professionally with NFL...
As far as I understood this issue, no one claimed that balls were inflated properly. Everybody agrees balls were deflated. Now, we all knows that workers who take care of the balls are still working at the same position with the Patriots as they were in the time of that "deflate gate". So, circumstantial or hard evidence, you can not tell me that you believe in possibility that 2 minor employees of Patriots under inflate balls w/o knowledge of Tom Brady and still kept their job! For me, that case is closed. The Patriots behavior as organization confirms Tom Brady knew about irregularity of the balls, so he knew that game is irregular... By my opinion that is something that should produce career ending punishment and taking the title from Patriots.
Yes, I know, I'm not naive. But that is how I feel about deflate-gate. Anyone who will try to make mess with basics of the game (as football inflation pressures) should never ever have anything with the game...

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Horse's picture

September 08, 2015 at 11:00 am

>Everybody agrees balls were deflated.
This is 100% false. Not only does "everyone" not agree but best evidence is that at least 11 of the 12 Pats footballs were within regulation psi at the start of the game. The judge didn't rule on anything about the footballs. The league is damn fortunate that he didn't.
They trotted out a former federal judge to lie about who said what on the infamous Bountygate tape. Since Goodell was forced to stand down in favor of Tagliabue that time, you'd think he might have learned something. But you'd be wrong. This time they commissioned a writeup of a foregone conclusion, a writeup that twisted disconnected facts to reach that conclusion. This is Goodell's NFL.
Mark Cuban warned everyone that the NFL is a greed pig, and that greed pigs always fail in the end. Add in the hubris of Roger Goodell and it could happen sooner.

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 08, 2015 at 11:36 am

The judge had no business ruling on something that was collectively bargained. Goodell was made judge and jury thanks to the NFLPA. It should have ended a long time ago, and the judge over-stepped his bounds. Pretty good chance this gets overturned on appeal.

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porupack's picture

September 08, 2015 at 11:56 am

I agree. I don't know why/how it went to court. Goodell has the authority, which was granted. But the NFL sees public opinion reasons to change, and will find a more palatable share of authority.
So get on with it. Deflategate was over-inflated by media. so hopefully by Thursday, we can move on to football.

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WKUPackFan's picture

September 08, 2015 at 05:40 pm

Unfortunately incorrect. Even as the collectively bargained arbitrator, Goodell still has to conduct a process that passes basic requirements, or the result may be overturned.

Straightening out the legal concepts involved helps, especially with guys like Roger Cossack on TV stating them incorrectly.

First, there was an appeal from the original decision. That appeal is in the form of an arbitration, with Goodell as the arbitrator. It is true, as the Cossacks of the world pointed out, that arbitrators' rulings are rarely overturned. There are very limited exceptions, and ruling against the weight of the evidence is not one of them.

However, in this case Judge Berman found that the process was so flawed that one of the exceptions fit. The exception allowing this, and the ability to rule outside of the CBA, are stated in the opinion.

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WKUPackFan's picture

September 08, 2015 at 05:54 pm

Also, this points out the perils of arbitration as opposed to going to court. Arbitration became the rage 15-20 years ago. Judges love it, it cleans up there dockets. Attorneys who are arbitrators love it, comparatively easy money to sit and act like a judge. Parties are sold on it by telling them they get a "quicker" and "cheaper" decision (discovery is usually limited).

BUT, when you lose you have no appeal, other than something like Brady did. Some arbitration agreements specifically eliminate any appeals. The bottom line is it all sounds good until you lose a case because of an idiot arbitrator and have no recourse.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 08, 2015 at 04:12 pm

OK, I might be wrong, but it is logical that Tom Brady destroyed his phone because they have record of cheating his wife, not because he was approving Patriots personnel in keeping the inflating pressure of the balls in the limits... Yea, sure...

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WKUPackFan's picture

September 08, 2015 at 05:41 pm

You're not wrong, keep the faith!

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Evan's picture

September 08, 2015 at 08:38 am

Whenever people call for the owners to fire Goodell, they always point out that he's making them boatloads of cash. But that never really connects with me.

The NFL would make boatloads of cash if my 4-month old son was commissioner. And he'd probably cause far less embarrassment. Sure, he'll shit his pants from time to time, but he'd know enough to properly punish a guy who knocks out his girlfriend on camera.

I guess my question is, what has Goodell does specifically to increase revenue so drastically that anyone else wouldn't or couldn't do?

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egbertsouse's picture

September 08, 2015 at 09:04 am

I argued all along that the NFL really wanted this outcome. Rog gets to look tough and hold the line against the evil doers but the league's little darling, Tom Brady, doesn't have to sit out a game and cause media ratings to suffer. And it's not Rog's fault! He tried to get tough! Some mean ol' liberal judge screwed it up!

The NFL owners don't care how embarrassing it all is as long as the cash rolls in. And it doesn't matter that someone could do it better than Rog, they won't upset the apple cart as long as they're making money hand over fist.

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Since'61's picture

September 08, 2015 at 09:30 am

Cory - I think that we have known for a while now that the NFL is arrogant, greedy and deceitful. Those 3 adjectives describe most of the NFL owners. Thank God that we don't have an individual owner in Green Bay. Then they hire a guy like Goodell who will find any kind of money grab but has absolutely no integrity or credibility. I think he and Kraft figured out how to "handle" deflatgate so that the court would throw out the suspension and the NFL could say "hey we suspended the guy but the court ruled against us." You can be sure that Kraft has lawyers who would have figured that out. Conspiracy theory, yes, but I was in college during the Watergate days so I put nothing past anyone. Big money changes behavior and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Fans are charged full price for preseason games to watch a watered down product for most of the game. However, starters play at least a few series, resulting in injuries to starters, e.g., Jordy Nelson, so that when the regular season begins we still have a watered down product due to preseason injuries and then the fans pay full price if not more to watch a watered down product during the regular season. But the league and the owners keep filling up their money bags. They talk player safety but create rules, like moving the PAT back to the 15, that expose players to more injuries. Ridiculous. But the fans keep paying. Now I admit that I buy tickets to several NFL games every year but I give nearly all of them away to a veterans organization that I am associated with so that disabled vets and their families can go to games without paying the outrageous prices. I am very committed to supporting our veterans and their families. It is my small and futile way of trying to make games affordable to those who have sacrificed the most for all of us. Sadly, the NFL does not care enough to keep the games affordable for the average fans who helped build this league back in the 60s, 70s and 80s when the ticket prices were more reasonable. Now they are after the big corporate bucks and greed rules the day. Like much of our current society they are focused on the wrong things. OKay, enough ranting, sorry. Time to Beat the Bears. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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vj_ostrowski's picture

September 08, 2015 at 10:04 am

That's not a terrible theory. Goodell and Kraft were "buddy/buddy" not that long ago. They're sure making the conflict it look convincing though.

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Since'61's picture

September 08, 2015 at 11:51 am

VJ- Goodell and Kraft are still buddy/buddy. When big money is involved anything is possible. It's unlikely that we will ever know the entire true story. Thanks, Since '61

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 08, 2015 at 10:49 am

Where does Goodell go from here? Who Cares!

The season is starting and games will be played in a couple days.

Next offseason the NFL will challenge the ruling and we can go thru deflatulation all over again!

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4thand1's picture

September 08, 2015 at 04:27 pm

Who were the player's lawyers when they let them agree to this? YOUR FIRED! Money is the root of all evil, as the old saying goes. If you ask the average fan, are you sick of all the $$$$$$ talk? The answer will be yes, but they'll pay a weeks salary to go to a game. Brady and the Pats will get there's when they go on the road. Then they will laugh all the way to the bank.

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