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From the Press Box: Now with 75 Percent Less Rice News

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From the Press Box: Now with 75 Percent Less Rice News

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Credit: USA Today

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Credit: USA Today

Instead of talking about the weekend that was, this week we spent a lot of time talking about the league that is.

I won’t belabor the NFL/Ray Rice/VideoGate Part 2 nonsense much here. You’ve heard a ton about it already and doubtless you’re tired of it. I talked about my issues with the NFL’s general hypocrisy over at Sports on Earth this week, so head there if you want more.

But I’ll just say this and then move on – the NFL has botched this on a level which defies understanding. At no time did they do the right thing. And while they are a corporate entity and therefore should be expected to put profits above all else (or at least we shouldn’t be shocked when they do), if you’re going to sit in judgment of others (as they do), you owe it to everyone not to do it halfway.

Commissioner Rodger Goodell may not have seen the video the AP reported was sent to a league office. Ultimately though, I charge that this is not because he couldn’t but because he didn’t want to know.

It’s hard to decide which is worse – incompetence or willful ignorance. And as Goodell told the Saints during the bounty scandal, ignorance is no excuse.

Let’s aim for some more positive and amusing news for the rest of the column, shall we?

A lot of folks have been all over the Baltimore Ravens about how they handled the Ray Rice domestic violence issue. So let’s counter-balance that with a team which did things the right way.

Props to the Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have been known around the league and its fans as notoriously cheap. Some feel a large part of the reason head coach Marvin Lewis is still head coach is because he’s cheaper than a new coach would be.

I don’t know that you can charge them with that label anymore. At least they deserve a little slack.

Devon Still is a defensive tackle with the Bengals. He was drafted in the second round back in 2012 and has been a decent but not spectacular player since. Still was cut this August after a rough training camp.

Rough because his mind wasn’t on football – it was on his 4-year-old daughter and her battle with stage 4 pediatric cancer. Of course he wasn’t focused on football – who could truly focus on anything other than your child in that situation.

So he was cut, but that – as some of you may know – was not the end of the story because the Bengals did something incredibly classy. They signed Still to the practice squad and did so in part so that Still would continue to get paid (practice squad players get $6,300 a week) and have medical insurance.

This week, reported that the Bengals moved Still to active status. Ben Goldschmidt of the same site reported that the team also announced on Monday it would be donating all proceeds from Still’s jersey sales to Cincinnati Children's Hospital and pediatric cancer research on Monday and by Tuesday more of his jersey’s had been sold in a 24-hour timeframe than any other Bengals jersey ever according to Coley Harvey of ESPN.

Even New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton got in on the act, buying 100 jerseys according to ESPN’s Mike Triplett.

Kelly Gets a Clean Bill of Health

We let this one slide by last week, but it came up again in that Payton story, as the New Orleans Saints had sent former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly a get-well card while he was going through chemotherapy and battling cancer.

The bounty flap aside, it speaks well of an organization which does this sort of thing as frequently as the Saints do.

On September 4th, ESPN’s Mike Rodak reported that Kelly was declared cancer-free.

Here’s hoping he stays that way.

Oakland Raiders Gonna Oakland Raiders

This is so Raiders.


Hat tip to Joe Bryant of for this one.

Poor Maurice Jones-Drew.

Of course, there is this…..



Antonio Brown was apparently watching too much Karate Kid.

On a less frivolous note…..

NFLPA Voting on New Drug Policies

With outrage that seems the NFL believes it is worse that you are smoking marijuana or popping “molly” than it when you are slugging your significant other, the NFL thought it prudent to see if it could extend a (public relations) olive branch to its players and started rethinking its policy regarding drug testing.

USA Today’s Lindsay Jones reports that the NFLPA could vote on the new proposals today and that the package includes changes to testing limits for marijuana, the classification of amphetamines (currently considered a PED) and HGH testing.

There has been a lot of speculation about whether currently suspended players like Wes Welker, Orlando Scandrick and Josh Gordon would get their penalties reduced. Certainly reclassifying amphetamines could help both Welker and Scandrick. Gordon is another matter, as this was not his first strike (nor second – the year-long suspension is for three-peaters).

Either way, the league has adjustments it simply must make, either now or sometime in the near future. As society is shifting its opinion of recreational drug use – specifically about marijuana – the NFL is going to have to account for that.

At the same time, the players know the rules and the penalty for breaking them. That will not change regardless of the alteration of any punishment. If you think you can get one over when the repercussions were severe, lessening the repercussions won’t change that.

Breaking Romo

One more lighthearted entry.

I might be late to the party but I just discovered an SBNation series called Breaking Madden.

This week Jon Bois punishes Tony Romo for leaving his receivers out to dry.

The results are….spectacular.


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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (10) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I'm not complimenting Goodell in any way for his handling of Rice, but should we not be more upset with the DA who let Rice off? Aren't New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michael Donio and New Jersey District Attorney Jim McClain much worse than Goodell?

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

What a JOKE this whole Goodell thing is. This guy made $44 Million Dollars last year. Just a little out of line, I would think. You're Right on what you've said, but they all belong in the same pot, as far as I am concerned. LVT

Evan's picture

Didn't the wife not press charges?

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I doubt the spouse has to press charges, the state can do it without their consent. Otherwise, no one would ever be charged with Domestic Abuse.

TommyG's picture

Depends on the state. The state I'm in requires the spouse to press charges. And is exactly why abusive monsters are still on the loose.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

New Jersey can. I went back and did some more reading an apparently McClain was "bound by legal precedent" to steer the case towards counseling programs because the victim wanted to reconcile. That "legal precedent" is so wise that New Jersey lawmakers are pushing new laws through right now.

For the record, I would rather see 22 pot smokers and steroid freaks on the field when I watch a game than even 1 guy who beats his partner or children sitting on the bench.

andrewgarda's picture

Just as upset. Unfortunately this is normally how many DV cases go. The State is looking into the handling of the case, so we'll see what comes of that.

zeke's picture

IMO, Goodell is just the face of a larger problem. When your job is to do the bidding of certified shit-heads like Jimmy Haslam, Ziggy Wilf, Jim Irsay, etc. (not to mention lesser douche bags like Jerry Jones), this is what happens. For example, how is it possible that the Carolina Panthers (Rae Carruth's old team) is allowing Greg Hardy on the field (other than the fact that there's apparently no video tape)? For all of Jim Harbaugh's chest-beating about how he has no tolerance for DV, Ray McDonald started and played the entire game last week. If the NFL was serious about anything other than the bottom line, they would deactivate players in these situations (regardless of their star power) until their cases are resolved. But they aren't, so they don't.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Agreed 100%, LVT

4thand1's picture

Rice, now Adrian Peterson. Good luck Roger. Suck it Viking fans, all day could be all done. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. If the charges against AP are true, he can kiss the HOF goodbye too.

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