It has been a bad few weeks for the National Football League. The global sports leviathan, whose dominance is unquestioned, has suffered from the type of missteps usually brought on by acute arrogance.
It is arrogance rooted in a linear focus for success that can render one blind to other variables. Hardly a new phenomenon, arrogance can infiltrate all aspects of the human condition, regardless of size or mission.
This arrogance not only infects the NFL, its fans, which I would include myself, are also vulnerable. Like our contemporary politics, we see only the good in what we support while tragically blind to its shortcomings.
With nearly half of Americans who consider themselves NFL fans, including 45 percent of women, Super Bowl parties are as entrenched in the culture, if not more so, as Labor Day picnics.
But the NFL is a syndicate of 32 teams, each worth in excess of $1 billion, feeding our desires for violence, harkening back to the days of ancient Rome.
In 2014 alone, three NFL players are arrested on average each month for various crimes. It has an owner who is unwilling to change the name of its team that reasonable persons consider racist and insensitive. And it has traditionally been far more punitive on uniform infractions than hits to the head that could lead to permanent damage.
But the recent video of Ray Rice striking his then-fiancée in an Atlantic City casino elevator, leaving her unconscious, along with the callous way he attempted to remove her from the elevator, has put NFL arrogance on full display.
The NFL's arrogance has transmuted what was originally a story about Ray Rice into one that it now wholly owns. The divide between proactive and reactive in a crisis is a thin one. Once one becomes reactive, as the NFL is currently, it is a journey by which one must maneuver upstream without the assistance of a paddle.
The NFL Players Association -- the union for players in the National Football League -- recently filed an appeal of the indefinite suspension of Rice.
Armed with the images of the gruesome video, it could appear that the Players Association is brazenly defending the barbaric behavior of one of its own. But it is the only step that could be taken, given the NFL's arrogance and reactive policies.
To allow Rice's indefinite suspension to stand would create a slippery slope for every player in the league.
George Atallah of the NFL Players Association stated on the defense of Rice: "Our union is defending the rights of all players by making an attempt to understand if fair due process rights under our collective bargaining agreement were infringed upon."
Rice was initially suspended for two games. The NFL had no domestic violence policy in place. After public outcry, a policy was enacted -- the first offense would result in a six-game suspension and a second offense would result in banishment from the league.
After the video showing the totality of Rice's actions was released, he was cut from the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. Isn't this double jeopardy?
In order to make up for the ridiculous two-game suspension, Rice's first offense was given an additional penalty equivalent to a second infraction.
Moreover, it is hard to argue, as the NFL maintains, the revelation of the second video became a game-changer when the facts of Rice's action were known publicly before the initial two-game suspension was levied.
The NFL has no one to blame for this conundrum but themselves. Even if the indefinite suspension were lifted, it is doubtful that a team would touch Rice anytime soon.
If Rice's indefinite suspension were lifted, as it should, the anticipated outcry should be directed toward the NFL. It is their brazen arrogance, blinding them to all things beyond their desires temporarily making Rice a standard-bearer against NFL injustice.
The irony abounds.