Ratto: Hell freezes over, and Satan needs a space heater

The first step toward the walkback, and, yes, it was tentative as hell

Ray Ratto
June 05, 2020 - 5:43 pm
Ratto on Goodell's walkback

NFL via Getty Images

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Roger Goodell did the first tentative step toward the walkback the NFL has never done before. And yes, it was a first step, and it was tentative as hell.

But once he gets out of his rec room and starts marching with the people he and his employees claim to be so down with... once his owners crack in to that overflowing treasure chest and invest in the repairing of America's soul... once his players are treated as equals with the right to speak out on the issues that affect them and their families at the most elemental levels... once they take a stand for something other than their own self-interest...

...when all that happens, I'd cheerfully support any movement to nominate Friday's repudiation video for an Oscar.

But it's the walking that talk part that usually undoes all acts of ass-covering, and that's what Goodell has done in laying his own ass on the mea culpa coffee table. He has, perhaps for the first time ever,  acknowledged corporate wrongdoing and pledged to repair it, so it is incumbent upon the people who say they intend to hold them to his word to actually do it. Nobody relies more on America's short-attention span than sports executives (other than politicians, who would die naked in the woods if their promises were ever held against them), and the nation has to find a level of focus it hasn't had at a time when football actually isn't its prime concern.

In other words, we need to see Goodell out of his rec room, and owners out of their suites in support of their employees and the greater cause rather than their default position, which is the players working in support of them. It means the boss sharing power with the rank-and-file at a time when management must hate labor twice as much as labor hates management. This requires owners asking, "What can we do for you?" and actually acting on the response. And frankly, I doubt they can do it. At some point, this stance will bring the league in direct conflict with the nation's chief brain bubble, and the last time that happened they ran like rabbits heading to a carrots-only ATM.

But hats off to Roger Goodell for cornering his boys by acknowledging that he was the front guy for their hamhanded cowardice of four years running and saying that they're all going to back his play — it's as if he is Baker Mayfield promising (again) that the Cleveland Browns are finally fixed. That alone ought to be a hoot.

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