Behind the Mic: Will Goodell Fumble?

I am a very competitive guy. I have always wanted to win and it really didn’t matter much what the perceived competition was. I had this competitive drive when I was playing football, basketball, or baseball in high school and college. And I would carry those same “competitive juices” over into ping-pong, cards, board games, golf, or even a debate. In those areas, winning or losing became apparent by the end of the contest. The score would tell the story. Even occupationally, I always was driven by the desire to be an exceptional teacher and an exceptional sports announcer. In my professions, however, the students or the viewers determined whether I succeeded.

Why, I even compete against my older grandchildren and I have informed them that I will never LET them win. My grandson now beats me in ping-pong and can hold his own against me in golf. My granddaughters certainly have become very good card and game players. They have earned their success. It was not given to them. However, once the contest was over, I was always more than willing to shake the hand of my opponent, win, lose, or draw. I would respect their skills and move on. I did not let defeat fester inside of me nor did I take it home with me.

Speaking of competitive people, I have, like almost everyone on the planet, been appalled by the recent violent actions of these NFL players: Ray Rice of the Saints (hitting his girlfriend with his fist in an elevator), Greg Hardy of the Panthers (hitting his girlfriend in his apartment), Ray McDonald of the 49’ers (beating his pregnant girlfriend) and Adrian Peterson of the Vikings (inflicting cuts and bruises on his 4-year old son with a small tree branch) and, I am quite certain, there must be others who have gone unreported.

Some people are trying to make the case that because these men play football, a very violent sport, there is a natural tendency to carry that violence into the real world. Nonsense!! Somewhere along the way, these players have not been made to distinguish the passion, anger, or power needed to play football from the compassion, tolerance, and understanding needed to live with loved ones and in society.

This point can only be made by the powers-that-be in the NFL. Punishment for domestic violence must be severe. If players have not been taught that the playing field is not the living room or the elevator or the nightclub, then the NFL office must send the message in such a way that the message trickles down to everyone who wants to compete. I assume sports and competition are loved by these players and if that is going to be taken from them because of their off-the-field missteps, the message will, hopefully, begin to sink in.

Of course, I am well aware that domestic violence is not just an NFL problem. It is in every segment of society. But these are men who are watched and idolized by men, women, and children and are, often, held up as role models. They are generously rewarded for their talent, but they need to also pay a price for their unacceptable human failings. These situations have drawn attention to this very serious problem. It must be dealt with in a very serious manner. Not with a two-game suspension. The ball has been passed to Commissioner Roger Goodell. This is no time to fumble!

1. I hope your favorite NFL team is not 0-2 or their chances at making the playoffs are just 1.7%! That’s right – only one team has made the playoffs in the last five years after starting the season 0-2. By the same token if your team is 2-0, 64% of those teams have made the playoffs in that same time span.

2. You just might want to invest into some golf lessons for your child. The money is pretty good for the very best. The top 96 golfers all made over $1 million this season. The top 13 made over $4 million. Rory McIlroy topped the chart with $8.3 million in tour winnings. That’s if you do not count this past weekend when Billy Horschel won the Tour Championship AND the FedEx Cup (worth $10 million alone). On Sunday, he ended the day $11.44 million richer! He won $14,814,787 this year. Just a note – Rory McIlroy won $3 million more from the FedEx competition. Nice job if you can get it.

3. Was Phillies closer, Jonathan Papelbon, adjusting his “cup” as he claimed on Sunday or reacting to the booing of the Phillies fans after he blew a save? The umpire thought it was the latter and tossed him from the game. He received a seven-game suspension and was fined. I guess no one believed him.

4. The EPC football picture is beginning to look like a three or four team race (Parkland, Easton, and Freedom; maybe Whitehall). Or maybe it’s a one-team race – Parkland. Parkland, Whitehall, Freedom, and Easton play each other in the next three weeks. That should tell us something!

5. I have had a bad two weeks picking the NFL winners, but I doubt if anyone has a good percentage. Take this week alone – the Rams beat the Bucs with a third-string quarterback; the Chargers beat the Super Bowl champion Seahawks in Seattle; the Redskins destroyed the Jaguars after their starting QB was injured; the Browns beat the Saints; the Eagles over the Colts; well, you get the picture.

Gary's Picks

(Last Week 6-10; Seasonal Record 15-17: 47%)