KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - SEPTEMBER 15: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the field prior to the game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 15, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri.

The NFL League Office has not showered itself in glory lately. In fact, it is very rare one can say that the NFL league office does anything well outside of drawing huge ratings. It is by far the most popular sport in the country. But other than that, there is not much nice you can say about them.

Roger Goodell may be the most hated of all the league commissioners. And that is saying something. Hockey fans hate Gary Bettman, but the sport itself is not popular enough for the hate toward him to come close to what Goodell gets. Rob Manfred has quickly made himself the enemy of every baseball fan. And Adam Silver is the lone commissioner that might actually have some fans. But none of them can touch the level to which people despise Roger Goodell.

And for good reason. The NFL is a bad PR machine. When is the last time they handled a tough situation well? And that was on full display Monday night when they fumbled the handling of a terrifying situation with Bills Safety Damar Hamlin. Hamlin collapsed on the field after taking a hit to the chest. Paramedics had to immediately administer CPR and other life-saving measures with Hamlin in Cardiac Arrest. After saving his life, they eventually transported Hamlin to the hospital, but the Bills and Bengals players were left on the field, with many in tears, not knowing if they would have to play on.

They eventually canceled the game. But only after the two head coaches forced the game to be canceled. There is inconsistent reporting out there. And the NFL will tell you that they never intended to restart the game. But other reports say they did want to restart it. And if you were following along to what happened live, it certainly seemed like the NFL’s plans were to make them play on.

The shocking part, this does not even crack the Top 5 of the worst things the NFL has done. So what are? Here is my list of the worst things the NFL has ever done. Keep in mind they have done a lot of messed up stuff. If something didn’t make the list, it may not be me saying it isn’t that bad. I may have just forgotten because there is just such a wide pool of examples to pull from. It is possible something awful fell through the cracks.


  • 5) Blackballing Colin Kaepernick

    This one can be controversial. So let’s try to leave the politics out of it. Whether or not you agree with his protest should be irrelevant. He was a Qb that helped carry his team to the Super Bowl. Other Qbs have done much less and gotten far more chances. There is no serious argument to be had that the reason he never got another NFL job is because of his ability. The owners kept him out because they did not want to be associated with him. Which fine. They are free to choose who to do business with. But then players like Greg Hardy, Big Ben, among others who have done, or at least been accused of far worst things, got to stay in the NFL.

    Domestic violence won’t get you blacklisted. Being accused of rape won’t. Manslaughter won’t even get you banned. But a nonviolent, civil protest will.

    Kaepernick started a movement. One the NFL was not happy with. And while many players followed in his footsteps, it was Kaepernick that took the brunt of the punishment for it. Kaepernick caused the NFL bad PR, from both sides of the political spectrum, and they seemingly took it out on him. They eventually reached a settlement with him on his collusion lawsuit against them. We do not know, and may never know the terms of it. But it suggests that the NFL was at least not confident in taking the case to court.

    You will be hard-pressed to find a single person, whether they are pro or anti-Kaepernick, who is happy with how they handled the whole thing. And contrary to popular belief, pissing off everyone on both sides of the aisle is not a sign you did something well.


  • 4) The Handling (Mishandling) Of The Ray Rice Video

    The Ray Rice TMZ video turned the way NFL handles domestic violence cases upside down. They initially gave him a 2-game suspension following his off-season arrest for a domestic violence incident. At the time, all we the public knew was that he was arrested. But the NFL and its team of investigators obviously had a fuller picture of what happened. Yet still, they passed down a 2-game suspension. Even without the video, many argued it was too few games.

    But then TMZ acquired the hotel security video. And what it showed was Ray Rice knocking out his wife cold. It was the first time we saw it, but I find it hard to believe the NFL did not know that he had knocked his wife out. If they didn’t, it was a colossal failure in their ability to investigate their own player’s conduct. If they did know, they believed knocking a woman out is less bad that allegedly deflating some footballs a tiny bit to make them easier to grip in the cold.

    Either way, a horrible look for the NFL. Even now I am not sure you could say they take the issue seriously enough. And it is yet another example of them only doing “the right thing” when public pressure is big enough. The NFL would have happily let Ray Rice play after only two games if that video never went public. They would happily allow any manner of awful things if they could hide it from the public. And as we will get into later, they have literally tried to hide the connections between Football and CTE from the public.

  • 3)The NFL Does Nothing About Daniel Snyder For Years

    Daniel Snyder finally appears to be on the outs. After massive sexual harassment and abuse scandals from his organization, a team name that was a source of embarrassment for the league, and several other scandals, it took messing with the league’s money to finally get them to push him out. But if the league had any standards, the sexual harassment scandal years before should have been that final straw.

    In case you forget, several years ago The Washington Post published a wide-ranging article chronicling the many examples of sexual harassment and abuse going on in the Washington Organization. Things like allegedly forcing cheerleaders to take part in lewd photo shoots, Synder allegedly requesting one cheerleader spend time with one of his friends in a hotel room, as well as other alleged examples of a hostile workplace for female employees. The scandal took down multiple key members of the organization, including the GM, but Synder somehow came out mostly unscathed.

    Why? Because the NFL protects its own. And at that time Synder was part of the club that is the elite NFL owners. He has pissed them off now, so they turned on him. But seemingly allowing rampant sexual abuse in his organization was not a problem for them. Synder got a slap on the wrist, and the NFL moved on.

    Was he personally involved in any of the conduct that went on? We don’t know. But at the very least he either allowed it to go on or was so oblivious he did not know it was going on. The NFL Should have forced him out long ago. But even though they love to run ads talking about respecting women and raising awareness about Domestic Violence, they certainly don’t seem to back up those ideals with their actions.



  • 2) Trying To Pay Black Players Less In Concussion Settlements

    People seem to forget this one. But the NFL allegedly tried to argue that Black players should be awarded less in the CTE payouts. That may sound like something made up, or at least from the 1960s. But it is true. The NFL appealed the cases of multiple black players claiming their CTE scores were not adjusted by the ‘race morning’ practices.

    This practice made it harder for black players to receive their payouts and resulted in their payouts being smaller. Dont take my word for it though, here is an expert from an article in the Washington Post covering this story at the time in 2019.

    “Experts hired by the NFL and Seeger created a battery of tests and a confidential guidebook for doctors evaluating former players that left doctors with no option other thanto use race-based norms. The guidebook directed doctors to use scoring systems that require race-norming scores on several tests. In a memo written this year and reviewed by The Post, one doctor who evaluated players wrote that the guidebook “dictates” the use of race-based norms on several tests.”

    And of course, while this went on, Roger Goodell was never heard from. You would think the leader of the NFL would speak publicly to address such an awful scandal as the NFL using blatant racism in how they payout players’ claims in CTE cases. But nope, as per usual Roger Goodell was silent.

    These players eventually won a court case and as far as we know these cases no longer have racial morning applied to them. But just the fact the NFL tried to do that, and then went to court to try to defend it, is disgusting enough. These players whose lives were already ruined by the NFL’s lies about concussions were then treated as lesser because of the color of their skin. They had their payouts held up several times while the NFL argued they should be paid less because they are black. Again I feel the need to keep saying that this is not made up. It sounds made up. I wish it was made up. But the evidence it happened is right there. And there never seemed to be any real consequences for it either besides just having to stop doing it.




  • 1) Covering Up How Serious of a Problem CTE and Concussions Are

    It is hard to top this one. At this point, we all know the truth that repeated head injuries can cause CTE. A brain disease that ruined and even ended the lives of many Football players like Mike Webster, Andre Waters, and Junior Seau. Players were driven to suicide because the side effects were so severe. other players have not died, but are dealing with dementia because of the hits they took. And the NFL knew about all of this long before we did.

    As far back as the ’90s the NFL was warned about the links between Football and chronic head injuries. Even then the NFL was pressured into creating a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee (MTBI). But instead of helping the players, the committee started printing papers denying the link, especially in the Neurosurgery Journal, whose editor-in-chief just so happened to work for the NY Giants. But the link was really blown wide open in the 2000s when Dr. Bennet Omalu started to make strong provable connections between the two things. Omalu published his paper in 2005. But then shortly after the NFL’s MTBI started calling for a retraction.

    They knew the truth. They knew that there was a strong link between playing Football in CTE, but they continued to deny it publicly anyway. Furthermore, they went to great lengths trying to discredit Dr.Omalu and his research. It took many more years for them to publicly recognize the link. You could argue to this day they still don’t take it seriously enough. I mean just look at how they handled the Tua Tagovailoa situation this year.

    The NFL has done many horrible things. But I don’t think anything is worse than lying about serious brain injuries. Everyone knew that taking repeated hits to the head was not exactly good for you. But to lie about just how dangerous it is, is not just immoral, it should be considered criminal. The NFL was sued for $765 million. But this is a company that generates over $17 billion a year. Their payout was pocket change. And as we already discussed, the way they attempted to payout the money had its own ethical issues.

    I am only scratching the surface of how awfully the NFL handled this. The book about Dr. Omalu, Concussion, goes into it much better than I can in one short article. But the takeaway is, The NFL knew about the dangers of CTE and Football long before we did. They went to great lengths to prevent us, and potential Football players from learning that truth. If knowing the truth, someone is still willing to take that risk, then that is their choice. But to hide that information from people trying to make that decision is not just the worst thing the NFL has done, it may be the worst thing any Sports League has ever done.




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