Daily Special, July 6, 2012
13 Posted on July 6th, 2012 by Himself
Don’t give up. You never know when things may take a turn for the better. For instance, this morning, my cat came home.
4:30 in the morning, sound asleep, and suddenly there’s this familiar, distinctive meow from the foot of the bed. Ding was back, and wanted breakfast. Wanted three breakfasts, in fact. He was ravenous, but apparently none the worse for wear. We have no idea where he’s spent the last couple weeks…but at least he’s okay.
And I never felt hopeless. It was beginning to look like a pretty solid bet that he was gone; but stranger things have happened than a cat taking a two-week jaunt. Or coming back safe. And that’s why you shouldn’t give up yet on seeing justice done to the New Orleans Saints. Waiting can be demoralizing; but the end isn’t written yet, and it might be happy.
In fact, there are indications that everything might actually be spiralling out of control for the league. There’s Vilma’s lawsuit against the league; there’s the NFLPA’s suit calling for Goodell’s rulings to be set aside; and there is the almost continuous walking-back on the evidence by the NFL. The latest is an admission by Goodell that the league doesn’t know, after all, that Anthony Hargrove said “Give me my money!” Three weeks ago, Mary Jo White was certain of it. When you consider that this woman is a former U.S. prosecutor, you start to feel more than a little queasy.
I don’t want Dave Cariello to think I’m trying to use him for a tackling dummy or anything, but he’s becoming the most articulate spokesman for a position that I vehemently disagree with. In one recent post, he says this of the NFLPA’s recently-filed lawsuit in support of the suspended Saints:
To be honest, I really don’t care about any of this anymore. Nor can I keep up with all of these lawsuits. Seems like every damn day now another one is filed. And all it’s doing is turning off fans and making everyone involved appear like whiny babies. When the f*** did it become necessary to have a law degree, business degree and psychology degree just to follow along with your favorite NFL team. For the love of Christ can we please get back to what fans actually care about: football.
I’m sympathetic—really. I’d love to get back to real football. I’d love it if BountyFarce was put behind us, on the condition that the right side wins. Absent that condition, I want to see it drawn out for as long as possible. If Vilma, Fujita, and the NFLPA are still filing nuisance lawsuits in 2032, you’ll hear no arguments from me.
Here’s why: football is at stake. You want to get back to what you really care about? Then you’d better first do everything possible—which, as fans, simply means lend support—to reduce the power of the commissioner and the owners. These are the people who are eager to give us expanded seasons, an expanded league, foreign teams, even a Super Bowl on foreign soil. These are the people who will almost inevitably wind up putting the whole league in Nike pimp suits, and all for the purpose of pumping more coin into their coffers. These are the people who do not care about what we care about, which is the game itself. They must be stopped; and BountyFarce is the first major battle in the war. Even if we can’t win, maybe we can tie up so many resources (especially in terms of public good will) that we can put off the destruction of professional football.
Maybe we can even win. It’s not decided yet; and so long as there’s a chance in a million, so long as there’s the faintest hope, I want this story to remain front and center. I want it to become a radioactive albatross around Roger Goodell’s neck.
But most of all: nobody wants it all to go away more than Goodell and the owners. And that’s reason enough not to take the same position. I know it’s tough; I know enthusiasm is waning, to the point where a lot of people can only pretend (and not very well) to still give a damn. Fine; just pretend. Do the best you can.
Twenty-one years ago there was a popular bumper sticker in Louisiana: “Vote For the Crook. It’s Important.” What’s important this time is to continue to care. However tedious, however unpleasant, however downright repellent it may seem to give a damn about legal matters that seem to threaten to sink the NFL, the alternative is to give the NFL a free hand in sinking itself. “Care. It’s Important.”
On the Jukebox
“Ding” is short for “Schrödinger’s Cat.” I don’t remember why we settled on that name, and it’s not the point. The point is: watch this, and imagine Roger Goodell as a physicist.