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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: The most hated man in American sports

With the latest suspension of Ezekiel Elliott, Roger Goodell's consistency and fairness have yet again come into question.


Roger Goodell has been the commissioner of the NFL since 2006. Since then, Goodell has advanced the NFL to heights it hadn’t thought were possible before his tenure. He is known for his rules implemented to make the game safer while simultaneously making the NFL a multi-billion dollar company, making the NFL owners the biggest beneficiaries.

But perhaps what he is most known for, by the fans of the NFL, is his constant blunders in disciplining player misconduct on and off the field. Despite numerous efforts to regulate punishment, Goodell and the NFL seemingly still can’t get it right. This makes the NFL a laughing stock to the public and non-fans and has led the overwhelming majority of fans to hate the man in charge of their favorite sport.

Recently, Roger Goodell suspended Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for the first six games of the 2017 season for an alleged domestic violence incident stemming over a year ago. The semantics of the suspension can be temporarily ignored purely to address the consistency issue that Roger Goodell is being scrutinized for. The league mandates a minimum six game suspension for all domestic violence incidents, however since the rule has been implemented, Elliott is only the third person to receive the full-term suspension. There have been 18 cases of domestic violence since the rule was established; 14 of them received a reduced suspension or no suspension.

This is only one of the countless strikes on the disciplinary ledger of Roger Goodell. He’s been stumbling over himself learning as he goes since 2007 when he encountered his first big case: the New England Patriots “Spygate” scandal.

Spygate

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In Week 1 of the 2007 season, the Patriots were caught video taping the New York Jets coaches and their hand signals from their own sideline. A Patriots employee was video taping in an unauthorized zone, and the Jets made a comment to the league about it. This was the beginning of Spygate. This was the first big controversy Roger Goodell had at his disposal, and it would eventually set the precedent for his tenure.

Just a few days after the initial report, Goodell handed out heavy fines to both Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots organization. Belichick was fined $500,000 for his actions, which was the maximum fine under league rules. The Patriots were fined $250,000 and stripped of their first round pick in 2008. At the time, due to the large fine of Belichick, Goodell's discipline was celebrated. However, many fans were unhappy, feeling that a blatant cheating scandal needed more severe punishment. Goodell considered suspension for Belichick, but ultimately determined the fine was enough.

Days after the punishment was issued, NFL officials visited the Patriots, and demanded to see the tapes which were illegally recorded. Shortly after the tapes were obtained, Goodell ordered his officials to "stomp" the tapes into pieces and "shred" the handwritten notes from the Patriots. Goodell destroyed any evidence which could have further incriminated the Patriots.

One could say that he wanted this situation to be over, but yet, many fans were left to wonder what was on those tapes. Were the Patriots using these tapes to get a competitive advantage? How much information did they have on opposing teams? And just how many games did they record?

These questions were all, and many still remain, unanswered. Sources from ESPN's Outside the Lines report that as many as 40 games worth of opponent's sideline signals were taped. Goodell claimed in a pre-Super Bowl press conference that only games from 2006 and 2007 were illegally taped. However, Bill Belichick has admitted to taping a significant number of games, though only he knows just how many. Belichick insists that he wasn't aware of the rules, which is why he continued to do it. This, coming from the same man who was aware of this infamous rule which no football fan had ever heard of and is now illegal.

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Despite the claim by Goodell, just 12 days after telling the media the Patriots taping only took place from 2006-2007, he admitted to US Senator Arlen Specter that the Patriots were taping games since 2000. Specter was originally questioning Goodell because of his adamant order to destroy the evidence in the case without even seeing it for himself.

Why destroy the notes? And why destroy the tapes? The sequence is just incomprehensible. - Senator Arlen Specter

Specter also interviewed former Patriots employee, Matt Walsh, who was on the video productions team. News had recently come out that Walsh possessed tapes of the Patriots recording team's hand signals, so Specter wanted to see what information Walsh could provide. Walsh addressed that he and three other videographers had helped play a part in some insight during Super Bowl 36.

Walsh confessed that after the Patriots' team picture, he and at least three other team videographers lingered around the Louisiana Superdome, setting up cameras for the game. Suddenly, the Rams arrived and started their walk-through. The three videographers, in full Patriots apparel, hung around, on the field and in the stands, for 30 minutes. Nobody said anything. Walsh said he observed star Rams running back Marshall Faulk line up in an unusual position: as a kickoff returner. That night, Walsh reported what he had seen to Patriots assistant coach Brian Daboll, who asked an array of questions about the Rams' formations. Walsh said that Daboll, who declined through the Patriots to comment for this story, drew a series of diagrams -- an account Daboll later denied to league investigators.

Faulk had returned only one kickoff in his career before the Super Bowl. Sure enough, in the second quarter, he lined up deep. The Patriots were ready: Vinatieri kicked it into a corner, leading Faulk out of bounds after gaining 1 yard. (Per ESPN)

Walsh went on to say that no electronics were live during their time at the Superdome, and therefore no tape of the Rams' walkthrough exists. This information was provided by Walsh to Goodell, who interviewed him before Specter. Following his meeting with Walsh, Goodell decided this information was good enough to levy no further penalties upon the Patriots organization.

Specter attempted to bring the matter to a congressional investigation, which would have put the NFL and witnesses under oath. Specter pointed out that Goodell never identified the "more than 50 people" Goodell said he interviewed in an 11-day period during the Spygate investigation. Specter believed Goodell had done a disservice to the league by leading a "fatally flawed" investigation.

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Shortly after this announcement, Goodell reportedly reached out to former head coach of the St. Louis Rams, Mike Martz. Martz was the head coach of the 2001 Rams, the team who lost to the Patriots en route to the franchise's first Super Bowl victory. Martz spoke with commissioner Goodell over the phone, and Martz recalls him sounding "panicked." Goodell requested to Martz that he put out a statement saying he was satisfied with the NFL's investigation into the Spygate incident.

He told me, 'The league doesn't need this. We're asking you to come out with a couple lines exonerating us and saying we did our due diligence ... If it ever got to an investigation, it would be terrible for the league.' - Former Rams coach Mike Martz

Martz still had a funny feeling that the Patriots were up to something in Super Bowl 36, but he agreed that an investigation would be bad for the league and decided to put out a statement in favor of the NFL's investigation. It ultimately helped the NFL avoid legal action from congress, and the matter was over. However, in 2015 during ESPN's Outside the Lines report, Martz read his statement again, and saw sentences he was certain he didn't write, specifically ones about Matt Walsh. Martz is certain the statement was altered, but he has no idea who could have done it.

A large and very controversial case such as Spygate fell into the lap of Roger Goodell unexpectedly in the beginning of his second season as commissioner, and he clearly was in over his head at that point. Goodell came to a decision just five days after the accusation by the Jets, and considering he sent NFL officials to retrieve the tapes after he handed down the punishments, it's hard to say how much evidence he actually saw from the Patriots. The truth is, we'll never know to what extent the Patriots actually cheated during the Spygate incident, and it's largely thanks to the inexplicable aggressive act by Goodell to "stomp" the tapes into pieces.

Bountygate

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The problems only escalated and multiplied for Roger Goodell throughout his tenure, and in 2010, he was confronted with another mainstream scandal. During the 2010 offseason, an anonymous NFL player tipped off to the league office that Saints players were targeting Kurt Warner and Brett Favre in the 2009 playoffs as part of a bounty program. 

The NFL launched a full investigation on the Saints organization, and in March of 2012, it was announced to the public that the Saints did have an organized bounty program in place from 2009-2011. About three weeks after the announcement, penalties were handed down to the Saints organization and select personnel. Defensive coordinator for the Saints, Gregg Williams, who was the mastermind behind the bounty program, was handed an indefinite suspension. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season, becoming the first head coach to be suspended in NFL history for any reason. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 season. Finally, assistant head coach Joe Vitt was suspended for the first six games of the 2012 season, though he would later return to be the interim head coach of the team after his suspension was served. The Saints organization was also fined $500,000 and was forced to give up their 2012 and 2013 second round draft picks.

To add insult to injury, on May 2nd, 2012, the NFL handed down punishments to players whom they believed were involved in the bounty scandal in part because of their leadership roles with the defense. Defensive captain Jonathan Vilma was suspended for the entire 2012 season, effective immediately, for his role in the scandal. Former defensive tackle for the Saints, Anthony Hargrove, was suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 season while he was a member of the Green Bay Packers. Defensive end Will Smith was suspended for the first four games of the season, and Scott Fujita (now a member of the Browns) was suspended for the first three games. Goodell concluded that all players were aware of the scandal, participated in the scandal, and contributed money to it as well. All players would appeal their suspensions, and Jonathan Vilma would later go on to sue Roger Goodell for defamation of character, though his motion was eventually denied.

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The NFL players association filed a motion saying that Roger Goodell did not have the authority to hear the players appeals after he had doled out the punishments to them. The NFLPA also stated that because money and players were involved, it fell under a salary cap issue, which must be dealt with by a third party arbitrator. On June 4th, the arbitrator ruled in favor of Goodell, and he was allowed to oversee the appeals of the players.

During the appeals process, Goodell showed the players the evidence of the scandal, but nothing that incriminated any of the players specifically. Following a June 19th meeting with the players, Goodell invited media members into the NFL offices and showed them some of the evidence. Among those pieces of evidence, testimonies from Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt, powerpoint slides indicating the existence of a bounty program, and a ledger sheet indicating amounts to be paid out for injuring certain players.

The one piece of player evidence Goodell did possess was inconclusive at best. It was a clip from the 2009 NFC championship game, in which the Saints hosted the Minnesota Vikings. This was one of the games that initially brought the Saints into question by the league due to the large repeated hits on Brett Favre. The clip in question shows Joe Vitt talking to his players, telling them that Favre isn't coming back in the game (which turned out not to be true). During Vitt's pep talk, Hargrove turned to teammate Bobby McCray, and on tape, is heard saying "Bobby, give me my money." However, the tape only shows Hargrove saying "Bobby," and he vehemently denies saying "give me my money." Hargrove's face is obscured after getting McCray's attention, so the league using that as evidence against Hargrove is suspect at best. Ironically enough, that was the closest thing to evidence Goodell had for incriminating a single one of those four players.

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On July 3rd, Goodell upheld the suspensions of the four players. Vilma decided to seek a higher power in the case, and went to a federal judge to appeal the NFL's decision. Vilma stated that the NFL forced all players and coaches to swear under oath in front of a judge with the risk of jail time if they were lying. Since the coaches admitted to a bounty scandal in place, the players had to as well, even if they had no knowledge of it, to simply avoid further consequences. This validated the commissioner's initial punishment, which nullified the appeals. The judge eventually ruled in favor of Vilma, eliminating the punishments of all players involved, allowing them to play in the 2012 season.

The ball was back in the court of Goodell, who could either alter the punishments or agree to nullify them. On October 2nd, Goodell modified the suspension of Fujita to one game, Hargrove to seven games, and kept the Smith and Vilma suspensions to their original four games and season-long lengths respectively. Once again, all four players filed an appeal of their suspensions, and Vilma requested that Goodell recuse himself of judgement this time around. Goodell complied with the request of Vilma, and sought out the assistance of a third party arbitrator: Paul Tagliabue. Tagliabue was the commissioner of the NFL from 1989 to 2006, and prior to that, he was a Washington D.C. lawyer for 20 years, making him a very qualified overseer of the case.

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On December 11th, 2012, Paul Tagliabue proceeded to destroy everything the commissioner had built up over the last nine months in a 22-page report.

Goodell justified Fajita's suspension by detailing he had made his own "bounty program" with the Saints aside from the one Gregg Williams implemented. The program was based off incentives, and players were rewarded for big defensive plays such as interceptions and good tackles. Due to the non-violent nature of his incentive program, Tagliabue determined it to be a matter of inter-team discipline and nullified his suspension.

Goodell justified the suspension of Will Smith by stating his participation in the bounty program while also being a leader on the defensive front. Tagliabue quickly threw this out, due to there being no history of a player being suspended simply for being in a leadership role. Tagliabue pointed out that dozens of players participated in the bounty program, so there was no reason to single out Smith, and therefore his suspension was nullified.

Goodell suspended Hargrove mainly on the premise that he lied in the initial investigation of the team. However, it was found that Hargrove listened to his coaches, who urged players to cover up any evidence initially. Tagliabue determined that while it wasn't right what Hargrove did, his job with the Saints was likely at stake, and he was responding to a higher power. This responsibility falls on the coaches, and Hargrove was compliant in subsequent meetings, therefore his suspension was nullified.

Finally, Goodell vehemently stood by his position that Vilma put up $10,000 of the $35,000 bounty on Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC championship game. Several Saints players were interviewed specifically about this claim by Vilma, and while they agreed Vilma did say these things in the meeting, they all say he didn't have that amount of cash with him, and they never saw him follow through and actually put up the money. There was no money trail, and Tagliabue concluded that there was no actual money paid out to any player for any play made in the 2009 NFC championship game. Because there was no surefire evidence linking Vilma's speech to on field performance, Tagliabue determined the NFL was too heavily penalizing off-field "talk."

If one were to punish certain off-field talk in locker rooms, meeting rooms, hotel rooms or elsewhere without applying a rigorous standard that separated real threats or “bounties” from rhetoric and exaggeration, it would open a field of inquiry that would lead nowhere. - Paul Tagliabue

Every single player was reinstated into the NFL, and while the coaches still served suspensions for their actions, Bountygate was finally over. After Tagliabue's utter dismantling of Goodell's suspensions, one can't help but wonder Goodell's reasoning for such decisions. As it is so eloquently put by Knox Bardeen of Bleacher Report, Tagliabue was a former lawyer, and his decisions were carefully made with the integrity of the law in mind. Goodell's background is a rags-to-riches story of a man who started out as an NFL intern in 1982. The NFL is all Roger Goodell knows, and he made the decision which was best for the league, not once thinking about fairness or legality of his decisions. Goodell makes far too many decisions to "protect the shield" instead of being an objectively minded arbitrator as is his responsibility as NFL commissioner. Goodell made these decisions against the Saints players in a reactionary matter. He thought with his heart instead of the rule book, and it cost him and the NFL a load of embarrassment. 

Speaking of a load of embarrassment, honorable mention to Deflategate, which made the NFL look foolish in the eyes of the American legal system and scientific community.

Ray Rice

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The lowest point in Roger Goodell's tenure came from the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, and the way he seemed to mess up every aspect of the case. It all started on February 15th, 2014, when Rice and his fiancee, Janay Palmer, were arrested on charges of assault. What was initially described by Rice's attorney as a "minor physical altercation" would quickly evolve into something much bigger.

Four days after the arrest, TMZ released video footage of Rice dragging Palmer's limp body out of the elevator. Over the next months, many members of the Ravens staff would come to the defense of Rice, and talk up his character. On March 26th, Roger Goodell acknowledged the league was aware of the incident.

Rice was indicted on upgraded charges of aggravated assault against Palmer, which carries a sentence which can be up to five years in prison. Instead, Rice was offered a plea deal, but rejected it in order to apply for a pre-trial intervention program that could clear him of charges in 6-12 months. Rice was accepted into the pre-trial intervention program, an outcome which appeared in only 30 of over 15,000 domestic violence cases in the state of New Jersey in 2013. Many point to the fact that Rice is a high profile athlete, and therefore received the benefit of the pre-trial intervention program. Mark that one up as a failure for the justice system.

Moving right along, Goodell met with Rice on June 16th. To this point, all the general public knew of the case was that video of Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of the elevator. This should have been enough to know that Rice hit Palmer hard enough to knock her out the way she was. Regardless of this, Goodell made the ruling about a week later that Rice would be suspended for the first two games of the 2014 season. The media and the public went into a fury, and outrage was heard against Roger Goodell. Reports came out that said Palmer (now Janay Rice, as they were married in March after the incident) gave an emphatic plea to Goodell to not ruin the reputation and career of her husband, and that it would never happen again. We've already seen Goodell think with his heart, which was perhaps his downfall in the Bountygate scandal.

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The media scrutiny was at an all time high after the ruling by Goodell. Goodell would come out in late August and admit his mistake, implying he should have suspended Rice for a longer period. Alongside this announcement, he also launched the league's brand new domestic violence policy, under which any offenses of domestic violence would result in a minimum six game suspension for first-time offenders, and a lifetime ban for a second offense. Despite this announcement, Rice's suspension stayed at two games.

September 8th, 2014 was perhaps the darkest day in Roger Goodell's tenure. It was this day that the inside-elevator footage from the altercation between Rice and Palmer was released to the public. In the video, Rice is shown hitting Palmer so hard that she becomes unconscious. Below is the video, viewer discretion is advised due to the graphic nature of it.

Upon release of the video, Rice's contract was terminated by the Ravens and he was indefinitely suspended by the NFL. The next few days would be a media firestorm, and a large calling of both Goodell and the Ravens' management on what they knew of the incident.

While Goodell said he wasn't aware of the inside-the-elevator video, general manager of the Ravens, Ozzie Newsome, said Rice detailed exactly what was on the video before it came out.

We had not seen any videotape of what occurred in the elevator. We assumed that there was a video, we asked for video, we asked for anything that was pertinent, but we were never granted that opportunity. - Roger Goodell

This was brought into question on September 10th, when the associated press reported that the NFL indeed did receive the video from inside the elevator. The same day, Goodell addressed the countless rumors and requests that he resign as commissioner, which he firmly denied.

On September 11th, a report from the Wall Street Journal alleged that Goodell didn't call for an investigation on Rice because he didn't want to question Janay Rice's story. According to the report:

Goodell told the anonymous team owner cited in the report that he felt it would have been insensitive to question Janay Rice's story and worried how that would be perceived. The commissioner also believed that Rice was knocked unconscious in the elevator because she fell during the fight, not because she had been punched by Rice.

On September 12th, Goodell explained to the NFLPA that Rice was allowed to be suspended indefinitely because of his dishonesty during the investigation. Rice would go on to appeal his suspension, and he was reinstated into the league on November 28th.

On domestic violence

A few things to address in this case. First off, the fact that Goodell assumed Janay Rice fell during the fight is appalling. Why in the world would Rice be charged with aggravated assault if Janay Rice fell? His ignorance, or at least that of which he puts out into the public, is astounding. Honestly, why else would Janay Rice be unconscious?

Second, once again, Goodell is seen making reactionary decision after reactionary decision. He messed up with the suspension, so he made a new policy, yet didn't actually apply it to Rice. TMZ then proved he made the wrong decision when the elevator video was made public, and he reacted again. If he would just get it right the first time, we wouldn't have been calling for his resignation.

Speaking of TMZ, how does an organization that runs on celebrity gossip and propaganda get access to a tape before the NFL does? Goodell was adamant that he and the NFL tried to get a hold of the video, but obviously their effort has to be brought into question.

Addressing the domestic violence policy put into place, let's take a look at who has fallen under the policy since its implementation in August of 2014 (all credit to Bleacher Report's Mary Pilon for the following information).

Jonathan Dwyer - July 2014: Charged with two counts of aggravated assault for allegedly breaking his wife’s nose and throwing a shoe at their toddler, two counts of criminal damage, and one count of preventing emergency call. Pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and sentenced to probation. Other charges were dismissed. Three game suspension.

Quincy Enunwa - August 2014: Charged with simple assault in claim involving ex-girlfriend in hotel room. The charge was reportedly dropped. Four game suspension.

Ray McDonald - Three violations from August 2014 to May 2015: Separate violations of domestic violence, rape of an intoxicated woman, and violating a protective order of ex-fiancee. No suspension.

Ahmad Brooks - December 2014: Charged with misdemeanor sexual battery stemming from incident at home of teammate Ray McDonald. Pleaded not guilty. No suspension.

Josh McNary - December 2014: Charged with rape, battery and criminal confinement of a woman. Jury verdict of not guilty on all counts. No suspension.

Junior Galette - January 2015: Charged with simple battery against a woman in his home. Charges were dismissed. Two game suspension.

Joseph Randle - February 2015: Allegedly threatened the mother of his son with a gun. Four game suspension.

Bruce Miller - March 2015: Arrested on suspicion of spousal battery. Pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charge of disturbing peace, ordered to attend a domestic violence course and subject to protective order. No suspension.

Rodney Austin - April 2015: Charged with assault on then-girlfriend, assault on their child, interfering with an emergency call and misdemeanor larceny for taking her phone. Pleaded guilty to assault on a female and agreed to 12 months’ probation and to complete supervised intervention program. Charges were disposed. Six game suspension.

Josh Brown - May 2015: Arrested after allegations of domestic violence, then arrested again two months later for violating protective order obtained by wife after first arrest. No charges filed after either arrest, but police documents later showed he admitted to several incidents of abuse. One game suspension.

Justin Cox - July 2015: Charged with burglary and aggravated domestic violence. No suspension.

Andrew Quarless - July 2015: Charged with misdemeanor discharging a firearm in public after reportedly getting in argument with woman outside nightclub. Sentenced to probation. Two game suspension.

Johnny Manziel - January 2016: Charged with misdemeanor assault after claim by ex-girlfriend that he struck her after leaving a hotel. Charges were dropped with a contingency that he would attend a counseling program. Four game suspension.

J.J. Worton - January 2016: Charged with two counts of indecent assault and battery for allegedly touching two women at bar and one count of assault and battery for allegedly punching man who confronted him about it. Pleaded guilty to all three charges and sentenced to year of probation. Six game suspension.

Montee Ball - two violations from February 2016 and March 2016: Separate violations of throwing his girlfriend against a table and strangling another woman. Pleaded guilty to battery in 2nd incident and one count of disorderly conduct in each; sentenced to 60 days jail time and 18 months’ probation. No suspension.

Ra'Shede Hageman - March 2016: Charged with battery family violence, cruelty to children and interfering with an emergency call. No suspension (case still pending).

Dan Skuta - June 2016: Charged with battery after allegedly pushing a woman’s face outside of nightclub when she refused to give him her number. Pled not guilty, and state attorney’s office determined case was "not suitable for prosecution." No suspension.

Ezekiel Elliott - July 2016: Police were called after allegations by Elliott's ex-girlfriend that he physically abused her. No charges were filed. Six game suspension.

It should be noted that in some of the cases where there was no suspension, the NFL didn't find significant evidence to suspend the players. However, in some cases, the NFL had plenty of evidence on the players and chose not to suspend them. Even worse, in the case of Justin Cox, the NFL didn't even look into the incident. He was released by the Chiefs a day after the arrest, after which Cox went to play in the Canadian Football League, which he has since been banned from. It should also be noted that many of the players who received no suspension either were free agents or insignificant players to their teams.

However, it's ironic that the only thing consistent about the suspension lengths for these players is the inconsistency. At times, it feels like Roger Goodell is simply throwing darts at a dart board to determine suspension length. Again, no one would be critical of this if Roger Goodell hadn't been so adamant about the structured domestic violence policy. When you're not following your own rules which you've put in place, it doesn't give you any credibility and makes you look foolish.

Ezekiel Elliott

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Now, to the reason we're addressing Goodell's integrity in the first place, his latest ruling. As we all know by now, star running back Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season, but on Tuesday he did appeal the suspension as expected. Now, we don't know what kind of evidence the NFL has, but considering they've spent over a year in this investigation, maybe they're actually sure of their conclusion this time around.

Maybe they'll finally start sticking to their stances and stop flip flopping. Maybe they'll actually start following their own rules. Maybe the NFL has learned that Roger Goodell and nonbiased discipline don't go together, as a report has come out saying that Goodell has taken a backseat in the Elliott investigation.

The report says that Goodell has attended no hearings involving Elliott. One could see this as a poor decision by Goodell, and that he's not making an educated decision on his punishment. However, according to Mary Pilon of Bleacher Report, Goodell has appointed a team of four outside experts who weren't on the payroll of the NFL, and therefore can be objective. He discussed the matter with each of the experts individually before he came to his decision to suspend Elliott.

Just from the standpoint of finally seeing consistency, the NFL should stick with their six game suspension if they have significant evidence against Elliott. If they flop back to a lesser suspension, it's back to square one for the NFL. It's hard to say where this will go, because while the NFL spent significant time reviewing this case, Elliott's ex-girlfriend has been caught lying on multiple occasions, as well as stating she would work to "ruin" Elliott's career.

Recap

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While Roger Goodell is known to owners as the man who has made them buckets of money, Goodell is known to fans as a man who has a questionable character, has destroyed evidence, and has made way too many hasty decisions in his time as commissioner. As an NFL fan, it's embarrassing having a commissioner consistently ruin the reputation of the sport I love. If Roger Goodell steps back in his role when deciding discipline, I think it will be good for the future of the NFL. As we saw first hand with the Bountygate scandal, Goodell thinks with his heart, whereas Paul Tagliabue came in and discredited all punishments using objectivity and fairness.

That's all it takes Roger, either be objective or appoint someone else to be objective. Just please, stop making mistakes and stick to your own rules. We're stuck with you until March of 2019 when your contract expires, so let's try to survive these last two years with minimal controversy. After all, if you haven't learned from your mistakes these last 11 years, I think you're beyond help.

What's your opinion on Roger Goodell? Do you think Elliott's suspension will be reduced? Let us know in the comments below!

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Alex Freeman

Graduate of Ferris State University in Michigan. Bachelor's degrees in Psychology & Sports Communication.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: The most hated man in American sports

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