NFL is being attacked!

FitzbeatsquareThe NFL game and its players are so popular by leaps and bounds ahead of the other professional team sports that suddenly in a political year the negative stories about some star players have launched an all-out attack by many on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. His leadership and inability to get out front on several problems with players and their off-the-field issues has turned many against Goodell. Mistakes have been made, and the lack of accountability has turned the meter up.

It all started a few years ago with the concussion reality that so many past and present players have been faced with. Former players have injuries that they need help with, and the players have no means to help themselves. Compensation is a concern: Who is going to help and how much is enough and who is eligible?

Parents now are directing their children away from football because of the concussion threats.

Domestic abuse did not start with Ray Rice, but his decision and actions in February at that casino in that elevator has blown up in the NFL’s face. Greg Hardy of Carolina was found guilty of domestic assault and allowed to play under appeal of the ruling.

On top of that, former NFL MVP Vikings star Adrian Peterson out of nowhere is indicted on charges of child abuse in Texas for using a wooden switch to spank his four-year-old son back in May. These stories have done major harm to the NFL shield and keep Goodell in the spotlight for having not done enough to be out front without damage control or rules in place to deal with players who have damaging off-the-field issues involving abuse against women and when children are victims.

People are angry; a great deal of mistrust and lack of confidence in Goodell’s leadership is at the center. His biggest mistake was suspending Rice for just two games before the season. The explosive video that TMZ used showing Rice

Roger Goodell, left, visits with Fitz  Photo by Steve Floyd
Roger Goodell, left, visits with Fitz
Photo by Steve Floyd

punching his girlfriend inside the elevator then dragging her out of the elevator has created a fire the league can’t seem to defuse. Goodell says he never saw that video even though it was sent to the league office in April.

The Vikings, after deactivating Peterson the Friday before the Patriots game, reactivated him on Monday again, starting a barn fire of local anger and outrage directed at the Vikings ownership. Governor Mark Dayton led the charge following the hostile news conference.

The presumption of innocence is subjective. However, that powerful video and those painful Peterson child pictures released illegally convicted Rice and Peterson in the court of public opinion and many demanded swift action.

The NBA situation with former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling did not help Goodell. Once the audio tape was heard of Sterling and his racist views were exposed, no indictment and no arrest were needed — he was banned, fined, and the league forced him to give up his team.

That type of action is expected from Goodell, and he has hired an ex-FBI director to fully investigate the Rice action taken by the league. It’s never good when the focus gets away from football. The players and fans and media and outside groups and sponsors all want answers, but first time lines and dates for now, and they are not quite sure if they can trust Goodell.

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to, or visit