Coverage of punishments over bounties shows problem with sports media

In rehashing the draconian, overdone, heavy-handed and absolutely excessive penalties against the New Orleans Saints, so many have said what I feel better than I could have:

  • Dave Zirin, of The Nation, had to make up the word “shock-raged” to describe his emotion, and pointed out Goodell’s need to appear strong about player safety in the face of a tidal wave of law suits coming the NFL’s way.
  • Lamar White, of CenLamar.com, pointed out that the damning evidence used to justify a yearlong suspension of Sean Payton was this: “PS Greg Williams put me down for $5000 on Rogers [sic].” He points out that if there were worse, Goodell would have listed it in his long-winded documentation.
  • Mike Wise, of the Washington Post, exposed the hypocrisy of such a severe statement by noting that the Saints are getting singled out for something that likely goes on in EVERY team.

What really gets to me is the dramatic, over-the-top condemnation from sports media organizations. High-and-mighty columnists are gladly spreading Goodell’s hypocritical message of player safety, effervescently championing the commish for acting in the name of player safety. Columnists are coming close to scolding Saints fans for thinking that this punishment did not fit the crime, accusing us of being homers with our morals out of whack.

As much as I want to list examples, the list is too long, even for a blog. Instead, I’d simply like to make an observation:

The NFL has billion-dollar contracts with Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN.

Of course the Saints are going to be a scapegoat. Those TV networks are propaganda arms of the NFL. Throw in how the NFL has its own network, and would love to make broadcasting on it exclusive, and that means you won’t find many columnists calling out Goodell for the hypocrite that he is. That’s why Fox will let Mike Pereira bubble effervescently about Goodell’s commitment to safety, why Ray Ratto can suggest that Goodell acted in favor of players and why Ashley Fox says that players will never ever issue bounties ever again.

Judging from the comments I read on each moronic, pro-Goodell column, football fans know the truth. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. This is all about Goodell’s motives, not what’s truly fair and respectful for the game of football. I’d argue that Scott Fujita, one of the players who could be targeted for issuing bounties, has done more to protect players than Goodell.

Only Mark Kreidler, of ESPN, came close to calling Goodell out. In a “special commentary.”

National sports media is not news media, yet it acts like it is entitled to information the way an education reporter should get the agenda for a school board meeting. But all the TV reporters, columnists and others working for the major sports networks are indentured servants. They are hired by bosses and corporations who are absolutely petrified of not scoring big future contracts and have no problem throwing any illusion of jouranlistic integrity in sports out the window.

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4 thoughts on “Coverage of punishments over bounties shows problem with sports media

  1. Interesting take. I agree with the criticism of the sports media, who are eager to jump on a high horse whenever they possibly can – though I believe the Saints deserved a harsh penalty for the bounty program. Still, interesting post, I really enjoyed it. Made me look at the issue in a different light.

  2. Jill says:

    I can agree with you on this point. And I can also agree that the NFL has many questionable business tactics.

    However, at the end of the day, one individual made a bad suggestion,. The Saints organization agreed the suggestion was a good idea. And sadly, the coach and players had a moral and ethical lapse and agreed to execute said decision.

    As my Daddy use to say, “just because everyone else is jumping off the cliff…..”

  3. Joe Hadsall says:

    Jill: I smell what you’re cooking, and I agree that the Saints should be punished. The Times-Picayune was reminded by a reader that it wasn’t exactly Spygate that got Belichick and the Patriots in trouble. It was the cover-up.

    How do you feel about the punishment fitting the crime?

  4. Jill says:

    I think the punishment is equivalent to grounding one’s 12-yr old for poor sportsmanship. Messrs. Payton and Belichick should get the “Pete Rose” treatment….banned for life, no hall of fame.

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