Whitewashing in the NFL and the PGA Tour
By Torleif Sorenson on 9/8/14
"Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman."
— Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1916-1939
Nearly all of the talk about sports on Monday revolved around the emergence of the following video, which shows NFL star Ray Rice viciously assaulting his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in an elevator at the now-closed Revel casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Palmer was knocked unconscious:

Elsewhere online on Monday, I and probably millions of other people vented with disgust, describing Rice as a despicable monster (using other, more colorful language) who belongs in jail — but probably deserves far more and much worse. Rice very well could have caused a traumatic brain injury and permanently disabled Ms. Palmer, who (amazingly) married Rice less than two months later. In May, the Ravens organization posted the following tweet:

...as if it was Miss Palmer's fault for walking into a vicious roundhouse left punch.

On Monday afternoon, after the video was released and an unquenchable firestorm of cricism ensued, the Ravens organization "released" Rice from his contract. By mid-afternoon, Rice was also suspended indefinitely from the NFL. Shortly thereafter, the Ravens organization deleted their monumentally stupid Twitter post, but several news outlets preserved it for posterity.

The problem is that the NFL is well-known for having a strong staff of security specialists, attorneys, and former FBI investigators. Most of the commentators who have spoken question the idea that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, and Atlantic County (New Jersey) prosecutor Jim McClain had not seen that video before this morning. If future evidence shows that anyone of them did, then the league, commissioner Goodell, and the prosecutors in Atlantic County, New Jersey have a gargantuan credibility problem.

But as we have reported previously, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has refused to allow the same "sanitizing sunshine" to be cast upon his organization. Even though rumors have Dustin Johnson's use of cocaine have swirled for the last three years, Finchem has imposed an embargo on any release of any relevant information.

We reported Johnson's return to action in May of 2012 following what was advertised as "a back injury" but was strongly suspected of actually being a suspension.

On the morning of August 1, we reported that Johnson was "taking a leave of absence" because of "personal challenges."

Just a few hours after that, a ticking time-bomb finally exploded: Golf Magazine reported that Johnson had been suspended for cocaine use — and that it was not his first positive drug test. Also publicized were reports of his wild lifestyle that included revelations of an affair with the wife of another PGA Tour player. Other comments posted online described Johnson's fiancée, L.A. socialite Paulina Gretzky, as essentially being "cocaine in a humanoid form."

But PGA Tour commissioner Finchem continued to stonewall the press — and to this day, continues to deny that any suspension or suspensions of Johnson have ever occurred.

Just days after that news came to light, we told you about an excellent column by sportswriter Mike Lupica, in which he excoriated Finchem and the PGA Tour for attempting to whitewash any suspensions of Tour players.

Finchem's policy is especially indefensible since we have already seen episodes of Tour players disqualifying themselves or otherwise withdrawing from Tour events for just the appearance of a possible rules violation. Most recently, Cameron Tringale obtained a retroactive DQ from the PGA Championship at his request. This past weekend, Keegan Bradley said that a possible improper drop during the first round of the BMW Championship "was eating [him] alive," even though PGA Tour rules boss Slugger White absolved him of any rule violation the very next day. On Saturday morning, Bradley withdrew anyway.

The numerous reports from inside and outside the PGA Tour of Dustin Johnson's out-of-control life stand by themselves as showing that commissioner Finchem and the player advisory board need to completely reverse course on keeping suspensions private. Otherwise, embarrassing episodes like Dustin Johnson will cloud the sport that is often described as "the ultimate meritocracy."

The Ravens organization and the NFL senior leadership continue to hide under their proverbial desks; at 7:15 p.m. EDT, the Ravens trotted out coach John Harbaugh, whose comments were almost completely useless. They continue to stand by their story that nobody had seen the before it was released this morning.

And as this column is posted, word is that TMZ's Harvey Levin says that the NFL knew of the in-elevator video footage, showing Rice's criminal assault on his now-wife:
"When you wake up tomorrow, go to our website, and you will see what the NFL didn't do," Levin said. "I believe they turned a blind eye to it. The NFL knew this surveillance video existed, they knew the casino has surveillance video, and we will explain [on Tuesday] why we know they knew that — but they did. They didn't do anything to look at this video.

"Prosecutors had this, police had it, I know people had this video, too. The NFL, it almost feels like they didn't want to know."
If this is true, then all h-e-double hockey sticks is about to break loose.

And as if PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem needs any more examples, on Monday the NFL's senior leadership was nowhere to be seen on Monday — save for a tweet from Greg Aiello. Commissioner Roger Goodell, SVP Adolpho Birch, NFL chief attorney Jeffrey Pash, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, Ravens president Dick Cass, and Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome — every last one of them were hiding from the news media.

Stupidly, the Ravens instead trotted out coach John Harbaugh for a press conference in which Harbaugh appeared 15 minutes late, then failed to provide even one piece of worthwhile information that had not already been reported.

Commissioner Finchem should at least attempt to save face for the PGA Tour and ditch his policy of delaying, denying, and whitewashing.

Pronto. No more excuses.

Finally, if you see or suspect that you have seen a case of domestic violence and/or child abuse, say something. Talk to any law enforcement officer. Talk to any mental health professional or any doctor or nurse.

At the very least, if you are uncertain, take some time to visit the web sites of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Love Is Not Abuse.

"Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
— Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel (1928- ), Nobel laureate

"There are persons... who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy... will be merciful."
— Thomas Paine (1737-1809), one of the Founding Fathers of the U.S., writing on December 23, 1776

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
— John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th president of the United States

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[ comments ]
jpjeffery says:
joe jones says:
In the world of celebrity and high living the first response when someone gets caught doing something they shouldn't have done or are still doing is to deny first, rally the troops around the wagon to stonewall any attack against their interests and lie, lie lie. In fact most children learn at an early age that if they are asked the question " did you do it" the best solution if you did it is to say " Yep, it was me." Not always but often the act will be forgiven or have a lesser effect . When the media and public feel that they are being "handled" it just creates a feeding frenzy and the perps will suffer a more severe penalty. In this day and age Public Relations Experts are becoming a big part of the problems we have in the world. Honesty is the best policy may be forgotten rule now but it shouldn't be.
onedollarwed says:
February 3rd, 2015 marked the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. This gave some manner of rights to "individuals" who would otherwise be punished wantonly by a capricious despot.
Privacy had always been a right of the Aristocracy, the Church, the Government, the Military, and the Police (assuming they could be different at times). The notion of Privacy has almost been completely reversed to protect all us poor peasants (what a surprise). Police "should" have a warrant to search your home, etc., and public figures' every utterances, walks in the park, and DNA spills are matters of public consumption and scrutiny. Left or Right, responsibility and duty are what we ask of our elected and paid officials, appointees, and representatives.

With a capital, and celebrity based regime, however the deck is immediately shuffled. Like lemmings, those who come into great wealth, property, income, import, or status are pushed to the precipice, into the light, exposed, and succumb to childish motivations and wants.
onedollarwed says:
So be it. Off with their heads! Storm the Bastilles!

But we're left with an unclear notion of who deserves privacy and when. In reading Game of Shadows, we learn that Barry Bonds was a hugely manipulative, abusive man, who also failed to pay taxes on income he suddenly decided to get from signature shows to pay for girlfriends' lodgings he kept in various cities where the Giants played. He had to get money this way because his current "wife" controlled all of their finances, and would've caught on. We also learn that the former Attorney General of the USA, John Ashcroft (a deceitful and cynical lobbyist) was motivated by the need to protect the Holy baseball of white players of his youth to go after Bonds (who wanted blacks to hold all the great records-not McGuire). And that Bonds, Conte, BALCO, and other Olympians, were subjected to surveillance, had their garbage collected and searched, etc. etc. There is obviously a lot of electric light to go around. Doctor heal thyself!!!
onedollarwed says:
Some countries have even decriminalized recreational drugs completely. I still feel that there is no need for PEDs in sports at all, as I sip my coffee. It's just a waste of time and money. And I'm fine if all professional sports and college sporting events that charge money go away entirely. If I can pay to play golf, guys can pay to play football. Is that socialism, or freemarketism?
All I know is this: there are plenty of incredible people out there, musicians, athletes, humanitarians, teachers, artists, businessmen, etc. You can turn off the tube and watch a real person in your own town do whatever awesome thing they do is. You don't need ESPN, et al to try to find the next "crossover-appeal" "atheleb," or "celebralete" for you, and pray for their mercy, attention, honor, and grace. You could be the one that you're waiting for!
falcon50driver says:
And your point is?
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