NFL’s Reputation at Stake

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The NFL’s off-season has been dominated by too many headlines of off-the-field incidents by the likes of Kansas City WR Tyreek Hill and Dallas Cowboys’ RB Ezekiel Elliott. We’ve now heard in recent weeks L.A. Chargers RB Melvin Gordon threatening to hold out due to a lack of a contract extension. All 3 situations are hurting a league that’s coming off its lowest rated Super Bowl viewing in years. Think about what sport is beginning to dominate the T.V. landscape: basketball. Despite the low NBA Finals ratings due to a lack of LeBron James’ playoff presence, NBA Free Agency, the breakup of the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty, the NBA Draft hype, and now even the BIG 3 (c/o CBS Sports Networks), we as a sports nation are gravitating toward having year-round basketball in some form. The sport is growing internationally and has since the early 1990’s thanks to the 1992 Dream Team’s Olympic gold medal winning dominance. If the NFL wants to save its image (hurt even more by outspoken former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick) from the many black eyes it has received over the past few years, Commissioner Roger Goodell has got to be more consistent in its discipline of players and go more toward a zero tolerance policy on off-the-field behaviors. We have already seen NBA Commissioner Adam Silver not put up with substance and drug abuse. He’s banned Tyreke Evans and OJ Mayo for their violations of league policy. I also don’t believe it’s coincidental that the NBA seems to have very few issues with players getting into trouble before, during, or after the season. Granted, you have around 450 players (30 teams, 15 players per roster) vs. the NFL (53 man roster, 32 teams). Do you think there is a reason the NBA seems to have fewer discipline issues? The NFL, if it’s going to have a rebirth and return many fans who’ve been turned off the past 5 years, they have to make many changes. One of those may need to begin at the top with Roger Goodell being fired as commissioner. The league needs to look long and hard for a man of Adam Silver’s caliber. Silver isn’t afraid to make a strong move if it improves or prevents the league’s image from being hurt or tarnished. The NBA has allowed for player movement, which was the greatest this past off-season, which generates revenue for new teams who in the past were not even mentioned in top flight destinations (i.e. Brooklyn, etc.). The NFL must find similar ways to do that within each 53 man roster. That may be more difficult with the NFL being a team-centered sport rather than the NBA being more player-centered as time is passing. The NFL is hurting, and it’s time for them to get help now before it gets worse.

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