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The NFL: Everything’s Fine, Just Fine

Minutes from the weekly NFL Disciplinary Committee Meeting, Roger Goodell, chairman.

GOODELL: Let’s get this thing started. I have to be uptown at the Youth Football Awards Luncheon. We’re giving them $500 and a Peyton Manning jersey to their concussion prevention awareness campaign. What’s on the docket this week?

JOHNSON: Oh, the usual: unnecessary end zone celebrations, uniform violation, the National Anthem thing, and domestic abuse.

GOODELL: Let’s start with the easy stuff.

JOHNSON: Odell Beckham made the list again. He was penalized for an end zone dance when he cradled the football like a baby and pretended to sing to it. Two of the other players stood next to him and pretended to shush the crowd.

GOODELL: Ha, Odell cracks me up. Fine him five thousand dollars.

JOHNSON: Except the next time he scored, he held the ball but pretended he was crying. Some of the sports pundits claimed he was making fun of the league’s anti-celebration stance.

GOODELL: Like who?

JOHNSON: Well, Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith.

GOODELL: Those guys are a-holes, but they shout a lot, so they must be right. Five thousand for the first one, and then $15,000 for the second for denigrating the league.

JOHNSON: We also had a questionable call against Cody Kessler, the Browns’ quarterback. The Bengals’ defensive end, Carlos Dunlap, threw him to the turf. The Browns’ fans were livid on social media.

GOODELL: What kind of social media reach do the Browns have?

JOHNSON: Remember the opening crowd shots in the movie, Major League, when it was just the four fans?


JOHNSON: Like that.

GOODELL: Ah, good. Is Kessler a marquee player?

JOHNSON: No, but he did leave the game with a concussion.

GOODELL: No fine. Speaking of marquee players, was Tom Brady involved in anything?

JOHNSON: Well, one of the Steelers taunted him when he sacked Brady, but that was it.

GOODELL: Find that guy and fine him $20,000, and send Brady a fruit basket.

JOHNSON: One of the Colts’ third-string linebackers wants to commemorate his grandfather, who died heroically saving 30 orphans and puppies from a burning building, all while shielding the American flag with his body and filing a legal motion to prevent illegal dumping of toxic chemicals in a community swimming pool. He wants to wear a small patch at next week’s game.

GOODELL: No way. That will interfere with our Reebok sponsorship.

JOHNSON: Keep in mind, this is actually a one inch patch that will be worn underneath his jersey where it won’t be seen by anyone at all.

GOODELL: Hell no. Send the lawyers to the locker room to personally seize the patch and set fire to it. And then fine him $10,000 dollars for even asking.

JOHNSON: We’ve got a lot more players kneeling during the national anthem.

GOODELL: Well, we still don’t have a clear majority opinion in this country. NFL Opinion Research said Facebook is pretty evenly split on it, so we’ll leave that one alone until we’ve got a clear and definitive winner.

JOHNSON: A lot of fans believe Colin Kaepernick should be fired, have his salary stripped, and have his life completely ruined because he won’t stand. Some of the owners are even saying it.

GOODELL: Yeah, but it’s a freedom of expression issue, and we can’t be seen as oppressing the rights and expression of our players. They’ve got just as many rights as everyone else.

GOODELL and JOHNSON both laugh.

GOODELL: Oh man, I almost said that with a straight face. Look, fans are going to be upset either way, but most of them don’t buy tickets or jerseys. And the ones who keep buying Kaepernick’s jerseys are setting fire to them, so we still make money. Either way, I’m glad the NFL is being seen as leading the charge for open and frank discussion about this one small issue. It makes people stop talking about Tom Brady.

JOHNSON: And finally, Josh Brown the Giants’ punter, is back in the news. There are new reports that he has been abusive to his wife over 20 times over the years.

GOODELL: Didn’t we suspend him for a game earlier this year for this?

JOHNSON: Yes, back in August.

GOODELL: The whole game?

JOHNSON: Absolutely.

GOODELL: Huh. And that wasn’t enough for people?

JOHNSON: Apparently not. Many of our female fans are screaming for blood. Even our male fans are accusing us of being insensitive to domestic violence.

GOODELL: Seriously? We already give 11% of our pink gear sales to breast cancer awareness. Isn’t that enough sensitivity?

JOHNSON: They claim the two issues are completely separate.

GOODELL: Alright, suspend him for two more games. It worked for Ray Rice, didn’t it?

JOHNSON: Actually, the Giants already fired him. He’s off the team. And Ray Rice hasn’t played since he was suspended in 2014.

GOODELL: Wow, that seems kind of harsh. Alright, fine him 50 bucks, and let’s see if we can’t get those guys back to work. I don’t see what people are so upset about.

Photo credit: Keith Allison (Flickr, Creative Commons

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.


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