Well, I did it. A whole weekend -- plus Monday night -- without football. No Sunday NFL, no Saturday college (non-pro) football, no Monday night football. None. Zero. Nada. And here I am to tell the tale.
The biggest example of sociopathic behavior related to the NFL has nothing to do with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. It has to do with us, because we're all content to turn a blind eye to this stuff and watch the next game.
The myth has been repeated by nearly everyone that the owners won't fire Goodell because he has done an outstanding job and brought all NFL teams a tremendous increase in financial value. The truth is quite different, and the only thing overvalued is Goodell himself.
The NFL's history of protecting thugs and hiding brain injuries is inexcusable. But the real outrage is that taxpayers are funding the construction of coliseums so that bruisers can smash each other in the mouth and billionaires can get richer.
As the controversies rage on, the NFL appears rudderless, hardly inspiring confidence in Goodell or his leadership principles. I'm sure he's a decent guy, who loves football, and keeps his word, but Goodell's biggest problem is that he's acted like a bad politician, lacking in principles.
While we (or I guess I should hope most of us) are not advocates of violence, including domestic violence, no changes to punishment of the league's players or re-defining policies will actually cause us to stop watching. The NFL and Rodger Goodell know that.
Roger Goodell continued to play the role of Pete Rozelle, as envisioned by Roger Goodell. The arrogance was there, but the credibility was missing. The assertions of rectitude were repeated ad nauseam and they fell on deaf ears.
This week brought a surprise: In a time of rampant division, we saw an entire people -- or at least 55 percent of them -- choose unity instead. On Thursday, 3.6 million Scots went to the polls and chose not to change Great Britain to Somewhat Less Great Britain by voting against severing their 307-year union. Now, after the celebratory champagne and haggis (or whatever one drinks with haggis), comes the hard work of ironing out a new division of power. Less surprising was the continued upheaval in the NFL, as yet another player was arrested for domestic violence. On Friday, Commissioner Roger Goodell pledged to "make changes" and "do better." But the uniformly negative response to Goodell's fumbled press conference makes it clear that this NFL season will continue to be defined more by what happens off the field than on it.
The NFL is a huge business, but with its success comes great responsibility. Yet the owners and commissioner of the NFL have been more committed to protecting their business than in getting out ahead on several key social issues that have faced the league. Where is the leadership?
Obviously, the inconsistency in the League's response to certain violations of the NFL's personal conduct policy is becoming a serious issue.
Professional sports have been given a zone of immunity from the normal social, political and economic constraints that apply to the rest of us. Players and owners live in a sanctuary of a kind that the Hunchback of Notre Dame would understand. Enter these premises and the law doesn't apply. No more.
All leaders at some point in their career are faced with a sword they must either pick up and use to continue the great fight, or instead, recognize their reign is over, smile, give thanks for the opportunity of service, and fearlessly succumb for the greater good.
Whether Goodell is guilty of a cover-up or not, female fans represent a huge segment for the NFL and the bottom line is that it needs to change the playbook for women.
It goes without saying that this has been a bad couple of weeks for the NFL, so much so that a tweet -- post-Ray Rice, pre-Adrian Peterson -- came my way that read, "Let's all start watching soccer instead!"
Silence is not acceptable. Sweeping problems under the rug is not acceptable. "Boys will be boys" is no longer acceptable as a credo.
While the NFL's handling of domestic abuse cases is being scrutinized, and folk are calling for Goodell's job, the league's inquiry skills concerning other sensitive matters is also worthy of further review.