My disdain for the National Football League has hit a new high.
Strangely, this level of dislike happens the same day as a high-tech prankster hacked the NFL’s Twitter account and published a tweet that said Roger Goodell had died.
I’m not a fan of the NFL’s commissioner-in-chief. Never have been, and especially not since he gave more lip service to Tom Brady’s “Deflategate” scandal than he did Ray Rice’s domestic abuse case, not to mention the many other crimes committed by NFL players. He hasn’t exactly been the first on the field to tackle the concussion issue, either.*
*Couldn’t resist that football pun. Sorry.
I’m also not a fan of people who take themselves too seriously, and friend and sports radio host Matt Rocchio shared with me (coincidentally) over the Twittersphere, Goodell views himself as more dignified than the President of the United States — hence why he refused to be “ridiculed” on Zach Galifianakis’ joke talk show, “Between Two Ferns,” even after President Obama had appeared on it to pitch his health care plan to internet-hungry 20-somethings.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, this is what happens when a comedy show invites Goodell to appear on an episode:
“The NFL apparently replied that ‘they would not allow Roger Goodell to subject himself to ridicule from a comedian of all people.’ Funny or Die responded by saying that Obama appeared on ‘Between Two Ferns’ with Zach Galifianakis — and pointed out that he’s the president of the United States. Richanbach said that the league countered with, “Well, he’s not the commissioner of the NFL.”
But Goodell and his NFL employees aren’t the only ones convinced of his beyond-presidential status, and like any high-profile person, he’s not beyond the judgment and exaltation of the World Wide Web.
Plenty of vitriol spewed across the internet after a hacker pronounced him dead — after all, idle keyboards are the Devil’s playthings — with many people typing out their disappointment at finding out Goodell was good ‘n’ well. To counter them, good-meaning tweeters (yes, they do exist) asked that people, regardless how they felt about the commissioner, show some decency and stop saying they wish he had died.
Interestingly, I saw a similar situation play out the other day when a Thunderbird crashed in Colorado, just moments after a fly-over at President Obama’s speech. Embedded among sincere prayers for the pilot and questions about what had happened, a number of Twitter Twits were making 140-character quips about how the airplane’s pilot “missed his target,” meaning that it should have crashed and killed the president.
Interestingly, I didn’t see as many people reacting to these tweets as they did to the death disappointments people were sending Goodell’s way — and the few who did were more enraged at the disrespect shown for the pilot than for the president. So in some ways, the NFL is right: Obama is “not the commissioner of the NFL.” He doesn’t get the same respect, despite being quote-unquote leader of the free world.
Maybe I’m drawing wrong conclusions. But it certainly does appear that the country is continuing to place athletes and sports icons above all else, from the President of the United States to the actual laws of the United States.
Just this week we saw Brock Turner get a measly six months in jail for raping an unconscious woman and ruining her life — or “20 minutes of action out of 20 years of life,” as his father disgustingly put it in a letter meant to tug heartstrings but successful only in boiling blood. The poor boy can’t even eat steak with the same gusto, and his bright and promising career as a Stanford swimmer is over.
By the way, I did some digging. Sports Illustrated reports that the NFL hacker could be charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which comes with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. That means that the hacker who tweeted that Goodell was dead could get a heftier sentence than an athlete who raped an unconscious woman.*
*I don’t usually use boldface text, but that seemed to deserve it.
Maybe it’s a color-and/or-gender thing — Goodell and Turner are both white men, while Obama is notably black and Turner’s victim is a woman. Maybe it’s a sports-versus-politics thing, though with the media’s instant replays of speeches and punches thrown literally and figuratively in this election season, they’ve become one in the same.
Or maybe the people defending Goodell’s well-being would do the same for Obama and are livid over Turner’s minimal sentence. If only they were as loud in defending those serving it or being paid a disservice by it.