Saturday, January 24, 2015

Roger Goodell Steps In It Again

It's poop again.

In the movie Billy Madison, there is a scene in which Billy, played by Adam Sandler, and two of his friends scoop up some rouge dog crap off of the sidewalk and slide it into a paper bag, then Billy sneaks up onto Old Man Clemens' front porch, lights the bag on fire, rings the doorbell and runs like a bastard.

From the cover of a large shrub they wait for the old man to answer the door, which he does wearing just his skivvies and a pair of work boots.  He yells at his unseen wife to call the fire department, claiming the small fire is "out of control", then proceeds to stomp the fire out - the smell of the ignited excrement wafting into his nostrils, causing the standard disgusted look as the smell visited his olfactory.

Because, let's face it: Poop smells terrible, and when it's ignited it takes on an odor that one never forgets, and when one faces the unpleasant task of having to stomp out a flaming bag of shit, they usually don't fall for the gag a second time.

Unless, of course, you are Old Man Clemens.  Or Roger Goodell.

The Commissioner of the National Football League had a big bag of under inflated caca set afire on his front doorstep last Sunday night, just the latest of many that he has had to extinguish this season, but instead of taking a shovel and scooping it to the curb, he chose to stomp on it, and now it's all over his boots.

"It's poop again."

What else could it be? There are many, many opinions on just what occurred between the time that the game officials inspected the New England Patriots' game balls on Sunday night before the AFC Championship Game - when the officials have noted that the balls were properly inflated - and halftime, when they claim that the balls were not properly inflated.

The ensuing accusations leveled against the Patriots of wrong-doing has compelled the league to launch an investigation, and the collaborative efforts of the media to indict the Patriots despite the lack of any information coming out of the league offices has turned the process into and old-fashioned witch hunt that has every two-bit writer in the country picking up their pitchforks and torches.

There are enough angles to this story to make a Geometry teacher go mad with blindness, and not even a child with a keen touch for connecting the dots can figure out this puzzle, but the one thing that makes all of the opinions, speculation and accusations a moot point is the fact that the officials claim that they reinflated the footballs at halftime, and put those balls back into play for the second half.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but taking the key evidence in any investigation, altering the evidence in any manner and then handing it back to the "criminals" to do with as they please not only violates every tenet of investigative protocol, but also raises suspicion in the opposite direction.

In the real world, tampering with evidence is a felony, but in the world of football and their curious discernment of protocol, it constitutes nothing more than a raised eyebrow.

And when taken in context, along with the thought that Indianapolis Colts' owner Jim Irsay indirectly petitioned the league into what can be called nothing less than a "Sting" operation - which is defined as the use of a "cooperative member of the public or a law enforcement officer playing a role as a criminal partner or potential victim and goes along with a suspects actions to gather evidence of a suspects wrong-doings." - should raise more than a few eyebrows.

So, why reinflate the footballs at halftime?  And not only reinflate them, but press them back into service?

At the very least, the league made a poor decision with evidence once again - and at the very most is guilty of trying to discredit the Patriots' organization on the word of a life-long junkie with a taste for liquor and a history of using his employees to cover up his rouge behavior, which is documented very nicely in an article by Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz... fact, the very same Bob Kravitz who was played the liason between Irsay and his accusations of ball tampering by the Patriots and the NFL.

If one strings together these things, it becomes entirely possible that the league knew of Irsay's accusation well before the AFC title game was played - and if this chain of events led to the league instructing their officials to allow the Patriots to play the entire first half of the game with altered footballs just to set up a scenario where the officials took measures at halftime to destroy that evidence - well, something doesn't make sense.

And then there's the ruse at the beginning of the second half, holding up the Patriots' initially possession to publicly remove one of the footballs and replace it with another.  If the officials had indeed reinflated footballs at halftime and were using the same balls as were used in the first half, now with the proper PSI, why remove it?

Madness, all of it.  But here's the thing, and it's hard to overlook: Someone in the league offices is covering up something.  Either someone is covering up a story that got blown way out of proportion while the league musters their damage control mavins to try and sweep it all under the rug, or someone in the league office authorized the destruction of evidence that would have implicated the Patriots.

That is not beyond the spectrum of imagination, as anyone who remembers the "Spygate" investigation will recall when the team turned over video evidence of whatever happened, and the league office authorized their destruction.

Either way, the National Football League has stomped on a big bag of flaming dog crap that Jim Irsay placed on their front porch, and it's all over Roger Goodell's boots - so in the interest of transparency in future cases of dark malfeasance, perhaps the league should insist that future smoldering masses of impropriety be placed in plastic baggies, so they can at least see what is on fire before they step in it. 

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