Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: What if we don’t love the NFL?

I know that as an American male – and plenty of females are on board, too – I’m supposed to love the National Football League.

But what if I don’t?

The Ray Rice story has turned my stomach, especially the way the NFL continues to deny, deny, deny having seen the second video of Rice pummeling his then-fiance and current wife, Janay, inside an Atlantic City casino elevator in February.

The latest: A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Rice punching his fiance to an NFL executive five months ago, though league officials say they didn’t see the video until this week, when you and I did. The NFL, of course, denies any knowledge of this.

The National Organization for Women has called for Goodell’s ouster as commissioner, but we all know that’s not going to happen. The owners could burn money for a week and still have a gazillion left in their pockets. The NFL has more money than some countries.

Baltimore and Pittsburgh play on CBS’ Thursday Night Football this week. We’re sure to tune in because it’s the Ravens, Rice’s former team, against the Steelers. And because it’s the NFL. And in America, we’re programmed to tune in to the NFL.

I was chilled today when I read that Arizona Cardinals linebacker John Abraham, 36, has left the team and might not be coming back, as Adam Schefter reported on ESPN.com. Sources told Schefter that Abraham has been suffering from severe memory loss for well over a year and that Abraham needs time to get well.

Head injuries continue to be a major problem for not just the NFL, but for football overall. Yet Goodell schedules more Thursday games, hasn’t dropped his push for an 18-game regular-season schedule and is intent on expanding the game to Europe.

But as long as we can lay down a bet and get into eight fantasy leagues, everything is just all right.

Maybe I’m in a bad mood today. But reading the story about Abraham caused me to really assess what I think about the NFL. And I gotta tell you, I’m probably not as gaga over this league as are most of you. And my fantasy team won last week.

The NFL has gotten too big for its britches. Goodell stands more as a dictator than as a commissioner with his almighty power and resolve to stick to a story no matter how ridiculous it makes him look.

OK, Roger, you either saw the video and did nothing or didn’t know about the video – even though people who work for you well could have – and were incompetent. Congratulations, sir.

I have to think many people are turned off by Goodell, even a bunch of football fans. In the short time I’ve been writing this blog post, an ESPN “Outside the Lines” story has broken in which a former security staffer at the hotel where Rice physically assaulted Janay says Rice earlier that night had spat in the face of his fiancee.

I realize Rice is just one player and that the league is mostly full of good guys who are doing the right thing. I do get that, honest.

But everything about Goodell turns me off. Which makes me think I’m going to turn off the NFL for a while and see how I do. Trust me, it won’t be easy and it might be impossible. I have a fantasy team to worry about, after all. But I’m going to give it a shot.

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