Tuesday, September 16, 2014

9 comments MMQB Review: Roger Goodell Probably Lied, Though You Wouldn't Know It From MMQB Edition

Peter King continued his shit-show coverage of the Ray Rice situation last week, though most of it happened after he had posted MMQB. In MMQB last week, Peter told us how all of "our" assumptions about the season turned out to be completely wrong after one week of NFL action. So Peter went about making all new assumptions that will undoubtedly end up being wrong and then "we" will be wrong once again. This week Peter asks if we should still love football (which is a pretty overdramatic statement coming from a guy who is the editor-in-chief of a football-only website), a further discussion about domestic violence and how the NFL handles players accused of this crime, and how all of "our" preconceived notions about what teams would be good this year are STILL wrong. It's been a rough week in the NFL.

So, should we still like football? I’ve asked myself that a few times over the past week. I think we all have.

First off, Peter is being overdramatic. He runs a football website as the editor-in-chief and if no one liked football anymore it would affect his paycheck and his livelihood. So yes, Peter should still like football. I won't allow a few bad players to make me forget the good players who don't hit women and children. I won't allow Greg Hardy, and whatever the fuck he did, make me forget that I like it when Cam Newton hands a football to a child after scoring a touchdown. I won't let bad people make me stop loving things I enjoy. It's a personal decision. It's not a matter of whether "we" should still like football, as if I am a bad person for choosing to. Stop making it seem that way you self-righteous, sanctimonious drama queen. I didn't think about not liking football this past week.

It’s a personal decision. I can’t tell you to feel better about the gutter the NFL has fallen into, or to spend your money on one more NFL jersey or hat or Red Zone channel. It has to be your decision.

Oh great! Peter King won't force everyone to hate football and he'll give us the option of liking the sport. Thanks so much for this wonderful gift, oh great Peter King! Your many blessings have us thanking you!

If you think the NFL is so full of greed and Roger Goodell so consumed with the bottom line that human decency is way down the league’s list of priorities, walk away.

Guess what, Peter? Nobody needs your permission to walk away from the sport. Here is what is so sanctimonious about the "Should we love the NFL still?" talk...it takes the high road to the point of being judgmental. I'm not saying Hardy, McDonald, or Rice don't deserve to be judged. They absolutely do, if for even putting themselves in that position, but it takes the road that you yourself are infallible in some way that the sport of football, where 95% of the athletes are not bad people, is below you in some way. In life, bad people can't make you stop enjoying the things you love. You can't let it happen. And being sanctimonious isn't the way to fix the NFL's problems.

If you think the NFL is just too dangerous, and you read in the New York Times last week that the league, by its own admission, acknowledged that one in three former players will have some sort of cognitive problem long before an average person in the general population would, stop watching. It’s your call. No one can make it for you.

I think the NFL and football in general is dangerous, but it is improving. They are working on it. I won't judge or blame a person who stops watching the sport, but I will not stop watching at this point in time.

No one will blame you for walking away.


As the day went on, some of the best players—Gerald McCoy, Charles Tillman, Vernon Davis, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Vontaze Burfict, Ryan Mathews, Tavon Austin, Eric Decker—couldn’t finish. Last weekend, 55 players left games and didn’t return. I daresay this week’s number might be higher, once all the injury stats are in. Atlanta is on its third left tackle, St. Louis on its third quarterback, Kansas City on its third right tackle. Someone’s got to figure out why there’s an injury epidemic—wimpier off-season work?—and how to stem it.

Gee, how could the players be getting bigger, stronger, faster and tackle harder? How could that be happening? I'll let you figure that one out for yourself, Peter. If Peter can't figure out how the human body can't take the beating that NFL players have started dishing out then that's his own fault. He covers the league. I think the increase in knowledge about concussions and other ailments plays into more injuries. With more knowledge of concussions comes better awareness, which means more players will be diagnosed with a concussion. Otherwise, how are the players so big, strong and tackle so hard? Maybe Peter can find a way to wrap his brain around that one and then when the first big scandal breaks he'll act like "we" didn't know the whole time.

I’ll reserve judgment on Goodell until all the facts are in—though I join the chorus that thinks he has to be held responsible for the chaos in the Rice case. I’ll be troubled by the violence of the game, which may eventually drive me from it. But I can’t demonize all the players. There are 1,696 active players in the league this morning. Peterson, Rice and Hardy are three.

Notice how Peter is reserving judgment for Roger Goodell, but he wants Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson punished before all of the facts come in. I won't defend those two players, but this is typical. Peter wants all the facts to come in on Goodell, but he's fine with the facts he knows to make a judgment on two NFL players. I'm not talking about the act of lying or hitting a woman, but I'm talking about reserving judgment. Peter reserves judgment unless he thinks he knows enough facts not to reserve judgment. Goodell gets more of a pass from Peter. It's not like Goodell just started lying and covering up things over the past week. Think of all the concussion information the NFL willingly ignored and chose not to act on in the past. The Ray Race video isn't the first time Goodell has decided to withhold information. He even destroyed the Spygate tapes. Goodell had a chance to get Rice out of the NFL for year and he gave him two games. This past week isn't the first week that Goodell's judgment has sucked or he has lied. Yet, let's reserve judgment.

For now, I’m in Hoyer’s camp. I still really like the game, and I can accept the zits on it. I just saw on Twitter overnight that a fantasy football league disbanded because of the mayhem of the past week, and the members gave their fees to charity. That’s cool, and I understand the feeling. But I don’t have the same feeling. Yet.

Please. Peter has over a million reasons (or whatever he gets paid) not to give up on the NFL.

The five things that made Week 2 compelling:

You cannot name, and almost certainly haven’t heard of, the Browns who beat New Orleans.

Yes, I can, and yes, I have.

Only in New York, kiddies, only in New York, can a timeout lose a game.

Unless Peter wants to count the times a team has used a timeout to ice the kicker (and the kicker missed the field goal attempt), followed by the kicker making the attempt after the timeout. But yeah, only in New York.

What would you do with Adrian Peterson if you ran the Vikings?

Do what any other employer would do with an employee who has gotten in some sort of trouble that would affect his job status. Prevent him from playing, but keep paying him, until more facts are known or some legal conclusion has been drawn.

Problems. All week, problems. Center Nick Hardwick, 33, the soul of the offensive line, was lost for the year at Arizona with a neck stinger. He was crucial to the line and is Philip Rivers’ best friend on the team. Big blow. On Wednesday, coach Mike McCoy caught a bug that was going around the team. He felt awful.

What kind of bug was it? And McCoy could have just let the bug go rather than kill the bug. Now NFL head coaches are killing bugs. Does this mean locker rooms have insect infestations? How could this affect the fans attending games? Was it right to kill the bug? IS IT WORTH WATCHING THE NFL IF HEAD COACHES ARE GOING TO MURDER ANIMALS?????????

What McCoy couldn’t anticipate was this generation’s Fouts-to-Winslow winning the game for him. Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates. Of all the stories in Week 2, the chemistry between these two men makes Rivers-to-Gates the story of the week. Rivers threw three touchdown passes Sunday, all to Gates. He threw seven passes to Gates, who caught them all.

“I am serious about this,” McCoy told me Sunday night. “They could wear blindfolds and complete passes.”

I'm serious about this, no they could not. Not during a game. I don't mind a little hyperbole, but when it begins with "I'm serious about this" it's no longer hyperbole. The hypercritical, completely literal me will be here all day to tear apart useless hyperbole.

Over the weekend, I spoke with both Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman, and I got the distinct feeling they were so deep in uncharted water they had no idea how they’d navigate their way out.

Can you blame them? How many times has an NFL player been arrested for beating his child with a switch? But Peter King's intuitive reporter skills told him that the Vikings may not have handled this situation very often. This is why he gets paid the big bucks, you guys.

“There’s a lot of speculation out there,’’ Spielman told me late Sunday afternoon before going into meetings with club officials to discuss what to do with Peterson, the greatest running back in a half-century of Vikings history.

Robert Smith smiles sadly sitting in a chair. Agreeing, but wondering what would have happened if he had decided to play a few more years.

The Vikings have four choices:


Cut Peterson immediately, which is unlikely—not only because he still can play at a very high level, but because he’s been great for the franchise, on- and (before last week) off-the-field, since being drafted.

Suspend him for conduct detrimental to the team, but that can last only four weeks, and then the Vikings would have to either take him back or release him.

Then the Vikings would have bought themselves four weeks to make a decision. Why would they choose to hold Peterson out why waiting for more information so they can make an informed decision? That would be crazy. 

Play him.

Which I am sure Peter thinks is a bad decision. After all, why withhold judgment? This isn't Roger Goodell, but an NFL player who got in trouble with the law. 

Trade him before the Oct. 28 deadline. Not easy, because of his current baggage and because he’s 29, old for a back.

If only an NFL owner/GM had expressed interest in Peterson playing for his team in the last few months. That would be really nice for the Vikings, but unfortunately no NFL owner/GM has expressed this type of interest, nor has this NFL owner/GM had a history of not caring how much attention is lavished on his team. Oh well.

I was prepared this morning to be quite opinionated on Greg Hardy playing football for the Carolina Panthers. Except he didn’t play football, so I’m tempted to say, “Never mind.” But I won’t, because a couple of things need to be said.

Peter wants to keep an open mind about Roger Goodell, what he knew, when he knew it and whether he lied repeatedly or not because he doesn't know all of the facts, but he's ready to be really fucking opinionated about Greg Hardy. After all, this is low hanging fruit for Peter to prove how much he really cares about domestic violence. It's a gimme!

By the way, before anyone says I will defend Hardy because he plays for Carolina, I could give two shits if he ever plays a down for the Panthers again for quite a few reasons. I won't defend his actions and he wasn't going to be re-signed after this season anyway. He can go away for all I care. The Panthers can be fine without him and he wasn't an important part of the Charlotte community anyway. Go way, Greg, go away.

But read the trial testimony, and pore over the guilty verdict, and you’ll understand why so many people are outraged that Hardy played in Week 1, or will play at all for Carolina this season.

These people have a point, but they also don't understand the weird laws that North Carolina has on the books which have prevented the NFL from punishing Hardy because he's not been 100% "convicted" yet. The Panthers, obviously, could do whatever they want. Which means the NFLPA could do whatever they want and prior to the outrage over Ray Rice and his video means they would have flown off the handle for an NFL team suspending a player without an actual guilty verdict or conviction. I understand the view that Carolina didn't do anything until the Ray Rice video came out and there was pressure to deactivate Hardy. Prior to the NFL taking a hard line stance against domestic violence and public opinion going hard against letting those NFL players arrested for domestic violence even play until they have been cleared of the charges (if cleared at all), the NFLPA could easily have filed a grievance (and they still can) if Carolina had punished Hardy for three reasons:

1. There was no precedence for this. Ray Rice got two games and Carolina won't allow Hardy to play at all when he hasn't been convicted in the eyes of the North Carolina legal system? Back in June or July, the NFLPA could have easily filed a grievance.

2. The NFL had not acted on Hardy yet. Believe it or not, it's a lot easier to justify a player's suspension from the point of view of an NFL team if the NFL acts first. It's a lot easier for the NFL to go up against the player's union when they have made a ruling on a player's eligibility to play, as opposed to a team suspending a player indefinitely first.

3. Would the NFL even have Carolina's back if they suspended Hardy for the season? I have zero idea if this idea was floated, but the NFL didn't exactly throw the hammer down on Ray Rice, so a few months ago it wasn't as easy to justify harsh action against Hardy.

The Ray Rice video and subsequent season-long suspension opened up Carolina to new opportunities to punish Hardy, because it provided a harsh sentence on Rice and proved the NFL takes domestic violence issues seriously. The move was easy and they did play "follow the leader," but suspending a player indefinitely isn't exactly a move that comes without it's own distracting challenges. It's easy to forget now, but remember the media wasn't talking about Greg Hardy in any serious tones regarding him not playing this season until recently and there is a reason for that. The reason is when teams go too activist before the NFL hands down their punishment, it opens up an opportunity for a grievance on behalf of that player. The Greg Hardy situation also has a lot of "He said, she said" about it. Teams wait for the NFL to act, because that's how the NFL wants it, and it gives them backing if they decide to make their own decision about the player's future with that team.

First, understand that in North Carolina, defendants in criminal trials are eligible to have two cases—one before a judge, and one before a jury. Hardy had a trial this summer in Mecklenburg County (N.C.) Court before Judge Rebecca Thorn-Tin and on July 15 was found guilty of assaulting a female and making threats to her. Thorn-Tin sentenced Hardy to 18 months probation and a suspended 60-day jail sentence. Hardy then chose a jury trial, which was scheduled to begin in November. Conveniently, it’s likely Hardy would have been able to delay the trial or find a way to finish earning his $13.1 million salary in 2014 before the jury rendered any verdict in his case; a guilty verdict would certainly have resulted in a suspension without pay for some length of games in the NFL.

The NFL did nothing to Hardy. The league viewed the jury trial as an integral part of Hardy’s due process. This is where I absolutely disagree. Hardy was found guilty by a judge who ruled, “The court is entirely convinced Hardy is guilty of assault on a female and communicating threats.’’

Fine, disagree. The NFL needs to take action then. It pisses me off a little bit that the NFL is forcing NFL teams to make hard decisions the NFL isn't willing to make. It would be nice if Roger Goodell, who cares so much about domestic violence, would not leave the 49ers dick hanging in the wind and force THEM to be the one to make a hard decision without knowing if the NFL will support that decision. I think the tide has turned at this point, so unilateral action by a team is very much more probable, but the NFL clearly has no interest in doing anything but wait for a guilty verdict. The NFL wants to wait for all the facts, but fans of the 49ers, Panthers and Vikings don't want to wait, and the media certainly won't wait.

During the trial, former Hardy girlfriend Nicole Holder alleged that Hardy threw her in a bathtub, tossed her on a futon full of automatic weapons that he claimed were loaded, and dragged her across the floor of his apartment by the hair. “He looked me in my eyes and told me he was going to kill me.”

Please read this. I've made my stance on Hardy clear, that I don't mind if he is suspended for the season, but there is nuance in this situation because there isn't a video of what happened. Holder was admittedly on cocaine at the time of the confrontation with Hardy. That doesn't mean she deserves to be beaten, but when a witness is on cocaine, then that person doesn't make for a very good witness. That column is from Bill Voth, who was in the courtroom for the 10 hours of testimony. He heard the transcript of testimony that isn't public. It's a shitty situation and Hardy doesn't look very good no matter what. It's just that Peter (especially THE MMQB and CNNSI.com) haven't reported other parts of each side's testimony that gives the situation nuance. I wish there were video or public pictures of each party's injuries, but there isn't. I've been dreading the public moving on from Ray Rice to Greg Hardy because it's not the same kind of case (though Hardy deserves the same penalty if found guilty) and it was going to be treated as such.

That is not a domestic violence offense fit for NFL discipline?

I can't disagree. But then the media is like, "Why doesn't Team X suspend the player then?" Maybe this should happen, but the NFL is so fucking gung-ho about their personal conduct policy until hard decisions have to be made. At that point, they leave the decision up to the team as they want a "conviction." That is, until the NFL doesn't give a shit about a conviction, like when they suspended Ben Roethlisberger for six games (down to four on appeal) for actions unbecoming of an NFL player, yet he wasn't convicted of anything.

Hardy is one of the league’s best pass-rushers. My question: If Hardy were an average player, or a backup player, how slow to act would the Panthers have been? How long before they cut him, to rid themselves of the headline-causing headache?

This is how the media works. As I said, I am fine with Hardy being suspended all season. The media wants their punishment when they want their punishment in the manner they want the punishment. They didn't give a shit about Greg Hardy prior to a few weeks ago, but now the media is super-serious about domestic violence issues and wonders why the Panthers weren't acting on Hardy long before this past week. The media has decided they want a judgment on Hardy NOW, and by God, why aren't the Panthers doing exactly what the media wants them to do? The media wants movement on this issue, despite the fact they didn't care about movement a month ago, but now THEY CARE so NFL teams need to do what the media wants them to do. The media only sort of cared about Ray Rice hitting his girlfriend (and now wife) until his punishment came down. All of a sudden, Rice's punishment came down and the sports media was OUTRAGED that the NFL wouldn't take stronger action. Prior to that, eh, shit happened on the elevator and it was serious, but there wasn't a great story as of yet.

So the right thing was done Sunday when coach Ron Rivera de-activated Hardy. And the Panthers should not play him again, until or if he’s found innocent.

Which I am perfectly fine with happening. At some point, maybe Peter King can draw his ire away from NFL teams and aim it towards the NFL and why they won't take action in situations like this. I guess Peter is still withholding judgment on the NFL and Roger Goodell, so he expects NFL teams to make the hard decisions the NFL cares so much about but won't choose to take on. After the NFL took action on Ray Rice, how long did it take the Ravens to take action on him? It's easier when the Shield decides to make the hard decisions and avoids any issues with the NFLPA.

Kaplan, who went to the Panthers game against Detroit in Charlotte on Sunday, filed this report from the scene:

If you came to Bank of America Stadium on Sunday afternoon looking for an outpouring of support for Greg Hardy, you weren’t going to find it. If you thought there would be protests or flyovers or even an ounce of unrest, you would have to search pretty hard. Instead, on an overcast yet steamy morning in Charlotte, the mood was indifferent.

Yep, that's my feeling. I just want someone to do something about the situation or stop talking about it.

I lapped the stadium and spoke to nearly three dozen fans before word spread that Hardy would be inactive. By rough estimate, the ratio of Luke Kuechly jerseys to Greg Hardy jerseys: 40-to-1. The ratio of Steve Smith jerseys to Greg Hardy jerseys: 16-to-1. (Smith, in case you missed the news, departed the Panthers six months ago.)

Though, as veteran Panthers scribe David Newton pointed out, not many fans own Hardy jerseys anyway.

I'm ready to talk about football again. In regard to the question of whether Hardy would be suspended if there were video, yes. This is natural. If I am accused of robbing a bank, doesn't the fact you have me on tape robbing a bank help the case that I indeed did the crime? So the video of Ray Rice shouldn't affect how one thinks about domestic violence when it comes to what he admitted to doing, but seeing pictures of him actually committing the crime goes to prove exactly what happened. It's great evidence that leaves little to the imagination. It would be a hell of a lot easier to say Ray McDonald hit his girlfriend if there was a video of it happening.

The following players caught passes on the game-winning drive, starting at the Browns’ four-yard line, that sent the New Orleans Saints down the 0-2 hole Sunday in Cleveland

Miles Austin, the former Cowboy who was jettisoned by Dallas because he couldn’t stay healthy.

Taylor Gabriel, a 5-7 ½ undrafted rookie free-agent wide receiver from Abilene Christian.

Gary Barnidge, a fifth-round pick of Carolina six years ago, from Louisville.

Andrew Hawkins, the 5-7 restricted free-agent wideout the Browns stole from the Bengals in the offseason.

I had heard of all these players except Taylor Gabriel. Peter said "we" wouldn't know these players.

Amazing: I’m writing about the Browns, and the passing game, and Johnny Manziel is not in the story. Hoyer is going to be able to hold Manziel off as long as he keeps making 80- and 85-yard drives (as he did in the second half Sunday) as efficiently as he did Sunday.

Yes, it is amazing you shut up about Johnny Manziel. It's also amazing that if Brian Hoyer keeps playing well at quarterback he won't get benched. Who would have thought that to be true?

We hear a lot of clichés in this business. In fact, most of what comes out of post-game mouths, collectively, is one giant cliché. Even though what you’re about to read (or watch) stems from a cliché, I think it’s well worth your time—particularly if you are a coach or mentor with young athletes or students trying to improve their games or lives.

I always like to seek answers to how really good players try to get better, and I asked J.J. Watt that question:

His answer:

“Well, the first thing I’ll say is the reason clichés become clichés is because they’re true. They hold some truth in their words. People talk all the time about work ethic, working hard, dedication and commitment, and sometimes people write those answers off because they do seem cliché. But the honest-to-God truth is if you put in the time and you put in the effort, and you watch the film and you study and you work out, and you treat your off-season the right way, and you treat every single practice the right way, you truly can be great.

Most quotes Peter hears from an athlete is a cliche, but listen to this cliche because it came from J.J. Watt. He's like the Chip Kelly of NFL players.

I consider this the ultimate compliment for an NFL Films piece: “I wish Steve Sabol were alive to see it.” That’s what went through my mind after watching Brandon Marshall: A Football Life, which debuts this week on NFL Network. Producers Shannon Furman and James Weiner got Marshall (and, surprisingly, Jay Cutler) to open up on things that surprised me. Marshall is candid about everything else in his life, including his mental illness. Much of it is painful. I would have liked to have seen more, however, on the disturbing 2011 stabbing incident in South Florida—Marshall and wife Michi Nogami-Marshall had a domestic violence incident that resulted in Marshall being hospitalized with a stomach wound, and the details in this show are unfortunately lacking.

I can't imagine why Brandon Marshall wouldn't want to talk about this more.

This show is worth an hour of your life. It airs during an interesting week, and NFL Films will get criticized some for soft-pedaling the domestic violence piece of his life, and rightfully so. But overall, it’s still a very good tale, told in the Sabol way.

See, the media wasn't as serious about domestic violence back then, so they didn't try to strong arm NFL teams into taking action regarding NFL players accused of domestic violence, while giving the NFL a pass for not taking on a leadership role. It's always "let's withhold judgment" when it comes to the NFL and Roger Goodell, but that same withholding of judgment doesn't apply to NFL teams who are supposed to punish their players unilaterally while the NFL sits on their hands wondering how they can weasel out of the lies they have told. If it tells you anything, there is very little in this MMQB about Roger Goodell or whether he really lied repeatedly about the Ray Rice video. Peter has no interest in that. Let someone else figure out what happened.

The bottom line is it's a lot easier for NFL teams to be hard on domestic violence when the NFL takes the lead. I absolutely believe teams can or should take action if the NFL doesn't. The NFL wants to be the ones to punish a player. They prefer a top-down approach to punishing a player. Still, it seems at this point Roger Goodell is more focused on covering up his lies about what he knew or didn't know about an act of domestic violence caught on video than he is about taking the lead to ensure guys like Peterson, Hardy and McDonald are punished.

It's just funny to me how Peter is fine with the NFL waiting around for a conviction, but he thinks NFL teams should not wait for this conviction. Why hold NFL teams to a standard that he won't hold the NFL to? Yes, these NFL players are employees of NFL organizations, but it seems the NFL loves stepping in and telling NFL teams how to run their organizations until they decide it's not convenient to do so.

Fine Fifteen

2. Denver (2-0). Wonder if anyone will notice this week that there’s a Super Bowl rematch at CenturyLink on Sunday afternoon at 1:25 Pacific Time. My early prediction: Denver will not lose to Seattle by 35 again.

Whoa, don't go so far out on that limb there Peter.

5. New England (1-1). It helped that Adrian Peterson didn’t play, but the Pats would have creamed the Vikes anyway, as long as Matt Cassel turned it over the way he did.

Yes, but to be fair, Cassel wouldn't have had as many chances to turn it over if Adrian Peterson had been playing. So there is that.

6. San Francisco (1-1). When Colin Kaepernick turns it over four times and the Niners commit 16 penalties for 118 yards, well, a 28-20 loss to a beleaguered Chicago team should be expected.

Lose a home game, get to be 9 spots better than the team that beat you. Peter's "Fine Fifteen" doesn't make that much sense. Chicago is #15 on this list. Even if this is a list of who Peter thinks the best teams are, shouldn't Chicago be a little further up since the only team they lost to was the #10 Bills?

10. Buffalo (2-0). Bills 56, Foes 30. E.J. Manuel’s completing 67 percent. Two statoids I never thought I’d be writing after two weeks.

Who knew preseason wasn't exactly like the regular season games? This comes as a shock to Peter too!

13. Baltimore (1-1). You know who’s playing great?

Steve Smith, Sr?

Left guard Kelechi Osemele. Even without Ray Rice, the running game will be solid because of interior line play, led by Osemele, and Justin Forsett’s emergence.

Even without their starting running back, the Ravens will have a good running game because they have good offensive line play and the backup running back is playing well. So basically, the Ravens running game will be solid even without Ray Rice because the Ravens have a good running game?

The Award Section
So a few years ago, my friend Len Pasquarelli said to me, “Just my two cents, but you shouldn’t have three or four or five players of the week in one category. It kind of cheapens it.” Last Monday, when I gave out about 39 of these things, column editor Dom Bonvissuto told me to settle down and cut out the mega-multiple award winners. They’re right … so my goal moving forward will be to keep it to two max in each category.

My only question is what these people have to say about the "Adieu Haiku?" Can they make Peter stop writing it?

As I wrote last week, it's silly to have 3-4 winners for each category and cheapens the award.

“We started the week with players beating up women, and we ended it with players beating up children. We are in a very serious state here in the National Football League.”
—ESPN’s Tom Jackson, on the network’s Sunday pre-game show

Crazy to think these athletes who play a violent game sometimes have difficulty not allowing this violence to extend off the field.

“People need to understand, the choice was not PTI [pre-trial intervention] versus five years’ state prison. The choice was not PTI versus the no-early-release act on a 10-year sentence. The parameters as they existed were, ‘Is this a PTI case or a probation case?’ ”
—Atlantic County prosecutor Jim McClain, explaining one of the most incredible factoids of a crazy week of news: Under the laws of the county in which Atlantic City sits, a first-time domestic-violence offender, if convicted, would never go to jail. That seems beyond unbelievable to me. Who makes laws like that? ESPN found late in the week that only 1% of those charged with domestic violence get the pre-trial option, but still, to have no chance for jail is just wrong.

Don't you love how the media covers the news sometimes? It's react, react, react (Ray Rice should be in jail!) and then later find out the facts that prevent the reaction from being a reality. I think Ray Rice should not play another down in the NFL this year, but first-time offenders of domestic violence don't often get the book thrown at them. So the idea the Atlantic City prosecutor was in some way in the NFL's pocket was ridiculous. He dropped the ball probably in not explaining this earlier than last week, but there is a good example of where a reaction like "Rice should be in jail" isn't realistic given the legal circumstances.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Notes of the Week

A couple of New York stories:
Wednesday, midday, walking down East 52nd Street in Manhattan. Fairly crowded. I look ahead at the people walking toward me, and everyone, and I mean everyone, is walking while staring down at their phones.
How many is “everyone”? I counted. Thirteen in a row passed me with head down, checking their smartphones.

So more than 13 people were minding their own damn business as you went down the street and stared at people in order to determine how many of these people were on their cell phone? They are certainly the ones with problem, because they are going around not worried about what everyone else is doing, while you are staring at these people and standing in judgment.

This is embarrassing to hear about as a Panthers fan. This guy deserves a punch to the kidney though. It's not like he can't support Hardy in his mind, but wearing that shirt is being brazen about wanting attention, almost challenging others to say something to him. What an ass.

Dammit, can we not just hold out judgment on whether Roger Goodell lied or not?

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 2:
a. Owen Daniels can sell a fake.

Maybe Roger Goodell can hire Owen Daniels to sell Goodell to the general public then. 

e. Matt Cassel, 4 of 4 for 75 yards on the opening drive, without you-know-who.

Without David Yankey, who was inactive on Sunday?

l. Joe Theismann’s omniscience.
m. Which, of course, is tied into his Kirk-Cousins-would-win-the-job-in-an-open-competition comment from training camp. Cousins’ first three series of the season, in relief of RG3: 8 of 8, three touchdown drives.

This should be one letter in Peter's outline, first off. Second, it's been one game against the Jacksonville defense that is rebuilding. So let's keep some perspective before announcing Cousins would win the job in an open competition.

5. I think Ray Rice is not a perfect man. He was not good to Robert Klemko of The MMQB when Klemko, then with USA Today, asked Ray Lewis a question about the Atlanta murders a couple of years ago in the Ravens’ locker room. And “not good” is an understatement; Rice was rude and immature. But in all the calls I made and all the reporting I did on Rice in the last seven days, this is what interested me the most: A Baltimore teammate, a player who played more than a decade in the league, said, “He was the greatest teammate I ever had.” Ever? I mean, ever? “The front office could come to him and ask him to do something on off day and he’d do it. The coaching staff would come and tell him someone was screwing up in the locker room, and he’d try to help. Never was he selfish, on the field or in the locker room.”

6. I think that’s not meant to say, Hey, Ray Rice got railroaded. He didn’t. It’s meant to say, Let’s not lock Ray Rice up and throw away the key.

This should all be under #5, but I'm just repeating myself at this point on that issue. I don't think Rice should be locked up and have the key thrown away, but yes, let's not lock up Ray Rice and throw away the key using Peter's reasoning. After all, Rice was nice to his teammates and would do anything the coaching staff or front office wanted him to do, so that should be taken into account in this situation. While Peter asked the following question earlier (and rightfully I think):

My question: If Hardy were an average player, or a backup player, how slow to act would the Panthers have been? How long before they cut him, to rid themselves of the headline-causing headache?

He now is using the fact Ray Rice was a great teammate as a reason to not lock up and throw away the key. It's not fine for NFL teams to factor in whether a player is a great player and teammate when evaluating his suspension for being arrested, but when Peter King evaluates that player and how long he should be suspended it's perfectly fine for him to incorporate how good of a guy that player was in the locker room. Got it.

10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:

d. Four questions for college football-philes. One: Ohio State 66, Kent State 0. Hope you enjoyed that game, Buckeye fans. When will garbage games in early September get killed off by athletic directors?

Perhaps as soon as college football teams don't need the revenue from home games to run their program and quality teams are willing to come to Ohio State and play the Buckeyes. While no one enjoys watching a team get beaten up, it's not always easy to convince a good college football team to play a road game, thereby taking revenue away from a potential home game, against a very good football team. Two things college football programs don't like, losing games and losing revenue. An away football game against Ohio State could result in both for a quality college football team.

g. Four: Any logical reason why USC would lose at Boston College?

Because Boston College played a better game at home than USC played while on the road?

m. Things can only get better (I think), Allen Craig: 10 for 95 (.109) since the trade from Boston to St. Louis, with 24 strikeouts.

When did the Red Sox trade Allen Craig back to the Cardinals? I must have missed that trade.

p. Watched Philomena for the second time over the weekend. If you haven’t seen it, you must. It borders on my top 20 all time.

No Philip Seymour Hoffman? No top 20 movie.

q. Greatest movie of all time: North By Northwest.

How can a movie without Meryl Streep AND Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the two greatest actors of our generation be in the greatest movie of all-time? If U2 scored a movie with these two actors in it, Peter may have a heart attack simply out of excitement.

Philadelphia 23, Indianapolis 21. News Item of the Week That Got Absolutely No Attention: The 2013 NFL sack leader, Robert Mathis, suspended for the first four games of the season for a PED violation, will miss the entire year with a torn Achilles. That’s a huge blow to the Colts’ chances to win their division, particularly with the Texans rising and the Titans showing life.

There was no time to actually cover the NFL this week, because NFL writers were too busy moralizing and telling NFL teams what they should and should not be doing. Why cover the NFL or any major injuries like this if there's no hot sports take to be had?

The Adieu Haiku

NFL on fire.
Worst week I’ve seen for the league
in my 30 years.

This haiku was so informative to me. I can't wait until MMQB is about football again. Well, MMQB never really about football, but I can't wait until the parts that are about football (approximately 50% or so, depending on what the Quotes of the Week and Tweets of the Week are about) are about football again and not discussions about domestic violence.


Slag-King said...

5. New England (1-1). It helped that Adrian Peterson didn’t play, but the Pats would have creamed the Vikes anyway, as long as Matt Cassel turned it over the way he did.

e. Matt Cassel, 4 of 4 for 75 yards on the opening drive, without you-know-who.

So which is it? That Cassel was awesome or that Cassel was the reason for the Pats' beatdown on the Vikings?

Chris said...

"Kaplan, who went to the Panthers game against Detroit in Charlotte on Sunday, filed this report from the scene."

Once again it sounds like Peter is being over dramatic writing as though Kaplan was reporting from a war zone like Afghanistan or Iraq not Bank of America Stadium.

"If you thought there would be protests or flyovers or even an ounce of unrest, you would have to search pretty hard."

You probably have a better handle on the local mood on Greg Hardy in NC but really? Flyovers and unrest? I highly doubt there would have been mass riots and looting through the streets of Charlotte or people making Free Greg Hardy signs.

Anonymous said...

"So, should we still like football? I’ve asked myself that a few times over the past week. I think we all have."

Such classic stupid thinking. Maybe you should follow the clean game of politics. Hollywood actors, they never do anything wrong, right? As if football is the only walk of life where unsavory things happen.

I hate this idea of saying things are "right" or "wrong" because honestly, who the hell is Peter King to determine what's right and what's wrong? Doesn't the bible say not to judge lest ye be judged? It's hard to believe considering the trivial field they follow, but sports columnists really are the most sanctimonious people around. Team X was "right" to do this, Commissioner Y was "wrong" to do that. Who the hell elected them judge, jury and executioner?

I don't follow sports so I can be preached to by some asshole who thinks he knows everything because he graduated from a journalism school. I need a Peter King moral like I need a kick in the teeth.

Chris said...

Along the lines Anon was saying about Peter being the moral arbiter of right and wrong, he also doesn't seem to understand by saying he will reserve judgement and then saying he believes Goodell should be held responsible for the Ray Rice situation then he has already made a judgement on Goodell.

Bengoodfella said...

Slag, I wondered that too. I guess Peter is saying Cassel turned the ball over, but he liked how Cassel didn't screw up the opening drive? It seems like he's sort of reaching to compliment Cassel.

Chris, I didn't think about that when I read it. That is a little over-dramatic. There are people who support Hardy (and wears shirts in public) but I really doubt that there will be protests or flyovers. I guess we'll see soon, but most Panthers fans I know/talked to just want this to be over. There may be some assholes, but especially considering it wasn't announced until Sunday that Hardy was deactivated, I would be shocked to find any flyovers or unrest. In reality, Hardy isn't really a hugely beloved player. Sadly, that probably plays a huge part in the lack of unrest.

Anon, if I decided to stay away from unsavory things I would barely leave my house. Sportswriters really are very sanctimonious at times. They see a chance to moral grandstand and take full advantage of it. Any chance the writers get to make a quick judgment, they immediately take that opportunity.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, that is very true. I really would like to know where the discussion on whether Roger Goodell lied or not has gone? It was barely mentioned in MMQB.

Bengoodfella said...

Holding Goodell responsible is a judgment, right? So is Peter withholidng judgment or not? I don't think even he knows. One thing I do know, it seems Goodell's troubles have faded.

Chris said...

Speaking of Goddell's troubles where has Demaurice Smith been in all of this? Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention but I haven't heard a lot of statements from him. Obviously he has a different responsibility as head of the players union but this should be an issue for him as well.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, that's a good point others made as well. I get the NFLPA defending their players, but they haven't really helped the situation and more sat it out.