San Diegans thirsty for vengeance after the theft of their team might find it perfectly just that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell might lose his job, in part, because relocation has been such a fiasco.
But it isn’t justice. It is, rather, hilarious irony.
Goodell is the consummate good soldier.
The NFL commissioner may be arrogant and stubborn. But he is an employee. Not to overly simplify the undoubtedly complex job he has performed for more than a decade, but he is a deflection. He is guy who stands up and answers for his bosses.
A good portion of the $174 million he made from 2009-15 (the most recent figures available) was for being The Shield’s shield.
So now he is being pushed on the sword? In part for something he was powerless to stop?
Goodell is, most certainly, not why the Chargers are in Los Angeles.
An ESPN report said the Dallas Cowboys’Jerry Jones and 16 other team owners held a conference call this week to discuss their dissatisfaction with Goodell and possibly holding up ratification of his expected new contract. The report said that among these owners’ issues with Goodell is the Los Angeles relocation drama that has been a pockmark on the league.
Here’s the justice: Goodell might lose his job for something he didn’t do when Goodell pretty much doesn’t do anything.
At least not himself. He does nothing significant without the approval of a vast majority of owners.
The 32 men who own teams are his bosses. He is entrusted with the day-to-day running of the NFL, has significant say on policy and action (final say on some of those things). But he talks with several owners a day and is continually taking their pulse and working to appease them. Any major resolution requires the approval of 24 of the 32 owners.
It can’t possibly be coincidental that Jones has been the chief instigator in trying to stymie the contract that was until recently considered a done deal. In his Pro Football Hall of Fame speech, Jones praised Goodell for the work he’s done running the NFL. But that was before the league announced a six-game suspension of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, which infuriated Jones.
These 17 owners — who would need seven more to join their ranks in order to oust Goodell — are reportedly also displeased with the league’s handling of the national anthem protests and the Ray Rice domestic violence case from three years ago.
Whatever input the owners have had in those issues (plenty, especially as it pertains to the anthem), the relocation mess is almost entirely on them.
Some might say Goodell could have stood more firmly and told owners to be more prudent, that the L.A. situation was not a slam dunk and, especially, that San Diego should get more time. Fact is, his staff did just that to varying degrees over the course of 2015 to early ‘17.
Goodell and senior NFL officials were shocked when Dean Spanos in January accepted the NFL’s offer made a year earlier for him to join Stan Kroenke’sRams in L.A.
And by the NFL, we mean the 30 owners who voted on Jan. 17, 2016, to allow the Rams to move to Los Angeles and build a stadium in Inglewood, Calif., while giving the Chargers the option to join them within the next year.
They never imagined Spanos would take them up on it.
That’s the overlooked crime in the Chargers’ departure from San Diego — that the owners were duped into allowing it.
Spanos was most unquestionably dealt a stunning defeat that day in Houston. His Carson project in conjunction with the Raiders got trounced in a 30-2 vote.
Going in, the momentum had seemed squarely on the side of the Chargers-Raiders proposal, including a 5-1 endorsement of that project over Inglewood by the six-owner relocation committee.
But the week before the meeting, Jones formally proposed the Chargers join the Rams in Inglewood. And the influential Cowboys’ owner lobbied hard right through the vote.
As part of that vote, owners gave the Chargers an option for second year of trying to work things out in San Diego. As we know, Spanos decided that wasn’t worth the trouble.
The cowardly clueless Chargers chairman decided he’d had enough of his pretend crusade for charity in San Diego and embarked on what to date has been an embarrassing “Fight for L.A.”
San Diego, located as it is in tax-weary California, is a tough place to get major projects done. City and county officials deserve a portion of the blame, for sure. But an owner with vision and temerity could have made a difference in the outcome here — either long ago or now as part of ongoing efforts to get a new stadium in San Diego.
We’ve been over all that, though.
The news is that Goodell could possibly be on the verge of a taking a dive for the real culprits. (You know, the guys who are going to divvy up the $1.3 billion in relocations fees paid by the Rams and Chargers).
That might make some San Diegans happy.
But Goodell being blamed in any way for how relocation went down is nothing more than an ironic sham.
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