Two days prior to inking a deal with Darrelle Revis, the NFL made a visit to Florham Park, NJ. Roger Goodell’s team was in town to talk to the Jets about a possible tampering charge involving Woody Johnson’s off-handed comment in December. For anyone who has forgotten, Woody Johnson made the comment that he would “love for Darrelle to come back”. Woody Johnson was not interview, but other Jets employees were, before the investigation was quickly dropped without a charge being filed.
Yesterday, Manish Mehta wrote an article about this, causing quite a stir. This morning, I wanted to give a slightly different take on the matter. From a league perspective, this to me shows the double standard that we all believe exists in the NFL. The double standard that whatever the Patriots want, the Patriots get.
I do agree with Manish on this one, that the charge was petty. The comment made by Woody Johnson was an answer to a direct question. Yes, it was a technical violation to the rules, but not one that had any effect on the contract. Woody called Robert Kraft to apologize, but that wasn’t good enough. That being said, it was a violation, so the Patriots had the right to call them out.
The point was the NFL handing of the situation. The Patriots made a complaint, and then boom! Investigators were in New Jersey, talking to Mike Maccagnan as well as other Jets employees. The investigation was dropped quickly, but the point is that it happened. The Patriots said jump, the NFL asked how high.
Look at “Deflategate”. If guilty, this would be a serious violation by ANY team. Tampering with a football effects the integrity of the sport. It makes the ball easier to grip. We have at least one ball that was the wrong weight. Some kicking balls may have been off the week before. Rumors circulated of in-season accusations. This situation called for swift action.
But what has the NFL done? Seemingly nothing. They dragged their feet for weeks before bringing in a special investigator. Since then we have heard nothing from the NFL. We don’t even have any idea when the investigation will come to a close.
This gives the appearance of impropriety. A serious complaint comes in against the Patriots. Roger Goodell is close to the owner. We hear nothing of a result for months. It says that if you are close to the NFL commissioner, you can do what you want and not worry.
That, by definition is a double standard. Roger Goodell has to remember that he represents all of the NFL teams, not just the ones he is close to.