Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ray Rice: Get profit out of sports.

Roger Goodell NFL Commissioner
by Sean O'Torrain

The recent outrage where NFL player Ray Rice knocked out his then finance is indicative of the nature of that organization and that game. It is a game which employs young men, trains them to be violent, violent both physically and mentally. This is shown both in the violence on the field and also in the higher than average violence in the personal lives of NFL players. It is also shown in the screaming violent supporters and in facts like that on Super Bowl Sunday there is a significantly higher rate of domestic violence. These players and then offered to our young boys as role models.

What should be done? Should the game be banned? At the root of the problem is money; profit. The first step that should be taken is to take profit out of the game. If the game is to be allowed to continue make it completely amateur. Nobody gets paid for playing it, nobody gets paid for organizing it. No clubs get subsidized by tax payers to build stadiums. Take the profit and the money out of the game.

Part of the offensive of capitalism over the past decades has been the increased penetration of the drive for profit into just about every area of life. When I go home to my native Ireland now I see games that I played and which were strictly amateur now are professional or well on the way to being so. I used to play rugby union. It was amateur. What a pleasure that was. The fact that it was amateur made it possible for all sizes and shapes of people to play. Now it is professional all the players are these huge monsters who spend their time building huge bodies and there is no room for anybody else to play. Drug use is rampant in order to maintain the stature.

Roger Goodell (above) the NFL Commissioner was paid $44 million in 2012.  What can he possibly do to earn that? The stadiums are basically public entities, the ticket sales backed by the taxpayer.  Sports, what would be a healthy cultural interaction in a civilized society, is a very lucrative business that relies heavily on public subsidies .  Owning an American Football franchise is the dream of many investors with money to burn (our money) and for practically all of the stadiums throughout the US it is the taxpayers that foot the bill, 71% of the costs on average according to Bloomberg BW.  

Close down the NFL. Take the profit out of all sports. Make all sports amateur so that all can have a chance to play. 

We reprint this article from today's New York Times, for our readers interest.  The video is also interesting as Goodell admits after seeing the first video, Rice's wife being dragged out of the elevator and dumped on the ground like a dead dog, that his response as the NFL Commissioner was inadequate, he "didn't get it right.".  For that he gets $44 million a year.  And the country can't afford a $15 an hour minimum wage.

New York Times
In Ray Rice Case, N.F.L. Sees Only What It Wants to See

Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the N.F.L., took a seat with “CBS This Morning” to explain once again how very little he knew about the circumstances in which Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocked out his then-fiancée.

“When we met with Ray Rice and his representatives, it was ambiguous about what actually happened,” said Goodell, who at first suspended Rice for two games.

Norah O’Donnell asked the obvious follow-up of the commissioner in the interview: What was ambiguous about the first video, available since February, which showed an elevator door opening at an Atlantic City casino and Janay Palmer, who is now Rice’s wife, lying there, out cold? Rice tried to drag her out, before giving up in disgust.

“That was the result that we saw,” Goodell replied. “We did not know what led up to that.”
So ambiguity curls up like a cat around the foot of intentional ignorance.
The Atlantic City police report, it is worth recalling, stated that Rice struck his fiancée with his hand, “rendering her unconscious.” Perhaps the passive language threw Goodell off. But logic dictates that Rice knocked her out.

Roger Goodell needed the latest Ray Rice video to clear up the ambiguity of the incident. Credit John Raoux/Associated Press

Local Atlantic City prosecutors told reporters in the spring that they had video of the knockout punch by Rice. That assertion, too, was widely reported. Goodell, who received compensation of $44.2 million in 2012, might consider hiring a better news clipping service at the league office.

So it goes. The Circus Maximus that is the National Football League long ago banished shame from its executive suites. Owners’ profits soar and players get their taste, if they don’t mind the concussions, torn ligaments and broken bones.

Earlier this week, the New England Patriots owner Robert K. Kraft sat on the set of “CBS This Morning” to discuss the league’s new $250 million partnership with the network. Kraft, whom CBS helpfully identified as the Master Kraftsman, heard Charlie Rose laud his team’s $2.6 billion value.

The chitchat took a discrete detour to that video of Rice delivering his Joe Frazier left cross to Palmer, his fiancée at the time.
“When you see that visually, it’s such a turnoff,” Kraft said.

But don’t blame that bummer on Goodell. “He had no knowledge of this video,” Kraft assured Rose.

The Ravens cut Rice on Monday, once the knockout tape was made public. Kraft speculated that Rice’s career was over. Asked if the Patriots might pick up Rice, Kraft offered a prim word: “No.”
At which point all involved turned to merry chatter about that CBS/N.F.L. partnership.
Where to begin?

Perhaps the CBS anchors conducted mind wipes before talking to the Master Kraftsman. Or perhaps they disliked being rude, and so shied from pointing out that Kraft’s family-values Patriots drafted Aaron Hernandez, a fine tight end about whom there had been many whispers of troubles during his college career.

Six months after Hernandez helped lead the Patriots to the A.F.C. championship game in January 2013, he was arrested on murder charges. He since has been charged with two more murders and he is being held without bail.

The Patriots cut him loose before knowing the charges against him. Kraft portrayed this as an example of principle extremis: “It was principle over money,” Kraft said at the time.
Well, of course it was.

The Patriots have taken several bites out of the apple of misjudgment. In April 2012, the dandy cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was arrested, charged with assaulting a cop outside a bar. Fifteen months later, he was charged with driving while intoxicated and refusing to take a test. He spent his off-season in the spring serving only 35 days of a 60-day jail term. And he was back starting at cornerback for the Patriots on Sunday.

Let’s not pick on the Master Kraftsman, who, by the way, looked spiffy in his blue jacket and custom-made magenta sneakers on “CBS This Morning.”

The N.F.L. Circus truly turned Maximus when ESPN — which pays $1.9 billion a year for the right to broadcast N.F.L. games — decided to bring one of its “personalities” onto “Monday Night Football Countdown” to talk about Rice. That would be Ray Lewis, the former legendary Ravens linebacker.

Lewis was a teammate of Rice’s, and considered himself a mentor. Lewis was mournful. He was “disappointed; this is personal for me.”

Then the ESPN host Suzy Kolber asked Lewis if he saw a parallel between Rice’s despond and his own troubles. This line of questioning tended to define a delicate moment. Lewis was a Super Bowl M.V.P. His likeness is on display outside the Ravens’ stadium.

He also was charged in 2000 with murder and obstruction of justice in the stabbing deaths of two men with whom he and his friend quarreled at a nightclub after a Super Bowl party. Lewis’s white suit, which was alleged to have been splattered with blood, never was found.

Prosecutors dropped murder charges against Lewis in exchange for his misdemeanor plea to obstruction of justice and his agreement to testify — somewhat vaguely — against two of his friends. Those men were acquitted and no one was convicted in the murder of the two men. Lewis, who is taken with his own Christianity, has pointed to this resolution as evidence of some godly plan or another.

“There is no comparison of me and Ray Rice,” Lewis told Kolber. “It is night and day.”
That just might be the nicest thing anyone said about Rice this week.

Look, the N.F.L. is not San Quentin with shoulder pads. Among the thousands of players are many fine husbands, boyfriends and fathers, and some are quite thoughtful about these troubles.

But the N.F.L. is a vessel filled to overflowing with too many painful story lines and too many years of neglect. The San Francisco 49ers are a fine old franchise that since 2010 has led the league in the number of players arrested. In late August, defensive end Ray McDonald was arrested and charged with battering his pregnant fiancée, who the police said had “visible injuries.”

He posted $25,000 bail. His coach, Jim Harbaugh (brother to Ravens Coach John Harbaugh, who vigorously defended and spoke of his love for running back Rice before he cut him loose this week), pronounced himself greatly disturbed.

Then McDonald played Sunday and had three tackles. Barring revelation of an explicit tape, perhaps the N.F.L. and partner networks can market a redemptive story line?

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