An open letter to Roger Goodell
Dear Mr. Goodell,
Congratulations. The NFL is now the butt of many jokes, not only nationally, but internationally.
The clip of the blatant and seemingly intentional helmet to helmet strike and pass interference committed by Nickell Robey-Coleman upon Tommylee Lewis during the NFC Championship game is being run, rerun and discussed on virtually every major national—and now international—news outlet. Late night talk show hosts have mocked the incompetency of the refs who failed to make the right call, and morning talk show hosts are contemplating the injustice (and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a truly irreverent segment on Saturday Night Live. Congratulations. You have “arrived.”)
Social media is ablaze with outrage, petitions, calls for boycotts and a plethora of memes.
You may think that it’s okay to stick your head in the sand and pretend that it didn’t happen. But here’s the thing: you still have the opportunity and the authority to make it right. That you choose NOT to do so speaks volumes.
As the Commissioner of the NFL, you represent not only the league, but every team within the league and every fan for whom football is a weekly ritual laced with traditions and fan superstitions, lucky jerseys and legendary tailgating parties. And lots and lots of economic impact.
Your inaction has demonstrated that you are not a leader—a true leader—amongst leaders. You appear to fall more into the category of “coward” who fails to take actions and correct injustices.
Your silence is deafening.
You still have the opportunity to make it right. This affects so much more than the New Orleans Saints. It affects the credibility of an American institution and multi-billion dollar industry.
Lest you think this will blow over, be advised, it will not. Long after the season has ended, and the new Super Bowl champions have been crowned, the memories and the stigma will remain. This no-call that deprived a deserving team of the opportunity to compete for the title of Super Bowl Champion will be replayed again and again, year after year, and the once coveted crown of sports will remain tainted by the fraud that paved the way to that so-called victory. And 2019 will forever be known as the year that the Super Bowl was stolen.
Do the right thing, Mr. Goodell. Stand up. Speak up. As the NFL Commissioner, it is ultimately you who owns the mistake for which both the refs and the perpetrator have admitted guilt. And it is your responsibility to fix such.
So what role will you play–hero or hermit?
The world is watching.