Power vs. Value in the Sports World
~ Amy Lignor
Yes, a list was just posted regarding the most powerful people in sports…in New York, with the winner being Derek Jeter. The fans, apparently, had no problem giving Jeter the title, seeing as that he is basically the best New York sports has to offer. But what people need to know is that powerful and valuable are not always the same thing.
Derek Jeter is beloved by millions, and makes a great deal of cash for what he does. Let’s face it, he is a valuable player and a valuable commodity to New York and sports. LeBron James…well, he is definitely valuable, when you consider the amount his old archenemies have given to him to leave the Heat and return home. Then there’s Kap in the NFL. This is a youngster compared to most, who has looked good as a QB, but not great – seeing as that he has not brought home the Lombardi Trophy even though he was ‘this close’ once. His value grew enormously with his new contract.
But valuable is a term for cash – it’s all about how well you play in your position, and how much glory you can bring to the team. Valuable means that fans love you, that you become inducted into a Hall of Fame one day; but is that absolute power? No.
Many lists are out there – from Sports Illustrated to every other media outlet you can think of directed at the sports world, offering up what they see as the most powerful. What they mean by powerful, however, are mostly people behind the scenes. They are the movers and shakers. They are ones who hold a sport and a sport’s rules in the palm of their hand, and can basically choose to do whatever they want with little consequences.
In 2013…and, yes, there are people who disagree with this choice, the highest in the sports pecking order was Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League. And whether anyone disagrees still, Roger basically holds the title this year. He is the controller of the largest set of purse strings imaginable…and everyone knows that. Although other sports are beloved by fans – football is the one with the most fans, the most money, gains the most press and, yes, the most problems, depending on who you speak to.
Goodell’s ‘plus’ in everyone’s book was the fact that he was well-versed on discipline. He stuck to protocol at all times. Strict? Perhaps. But he suspends as he sees fit, and brings down punishment that could make or break a team or organization.
We speak about this because of the fact that Goodell is showing his inconsistencies now; his Hammer of Thor seems to be shaking. Remember the extreme punishment that was given to various people in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal? Well, now Goodell has shown leniency in a case that doesn’t seem to require any.
Goodell was referred to as ‘The Enforcer’. So what happened here? Perhaps he’s getting into trouble now because the players in the league have become so wild or…dumb, is a better word for it. You have everything from murders to drug issues to sexual assault to DWI’s to the basic ‘men being boys’ on their summer vacation issues. But with Ray Rice, Goodell has handed out a slap on the wrist, even though there is a case that shows footage that ‘may’ prove Rice assaulted his wife and knocked her unconscious in an elevator. Rice was suspended for just two games.
The NFL’s drug policy is that players 99% of the time who violate the policy receive four game suspensions. This is not even being kept up – with some players receiving two, others four, others just not talked about and shuffled under the carpet. And there is another point being made that after the Cleveland Browns owner handed in a check for $92 million dollars – payment and apology for defrauding customers – Goodell let the matter die quietly.
Goodell states that he allows the legal world to take care of decisions. He waits for the American hand of justice first, and then moves in where the accused person’s career is concerned. But, think about it, guys. Is it possible, just possible, that Goodell is no longer ‘good’ at what he does? Although the most powerful in the sports world, perhaps it would be safe to say that Goodell needs a rest, because his judgment is becoming impaired by the list of violations made by NFL players that’s growing longer than Santa’s ‘bad kids’ list. …And it ain’t over yet.