Brandon Bids Brady Bye-Bye

Having been AWOL on player-safety issues, and having taken almost no position on any issue of significance in college sports reform, Michigan AD Brandon set some wheels in motion at 1 a.m. this morning to institute some effective concussion-management protocols, including the Press Box Safety Monitor which I proposed in my post yesterday.

But the process which led to Brandon’s press release is jaw-dropping evidence of Brandon’s recurring careerist obsession with attempting to make himself look good at the expense of others — in this case, Brady Hoke (the very football coach Brandon hired.) Continue reading

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To Michigan’s Brandon and Pres. Dr. Schlissel: Will Morris Hit Be Included in $30 Million Concussion Study Run by Michigan?

Michigan AD Brandon’s Un-Serious Approach to Concussion-Management (and College Athletics Reform)

The NCAA Constitution claims its core value is protection of the “welfare of the student-athlete.” If that’s true, then Michigan’s handling of Shane Morris’ chin-lifting whomp the other day raises questions about the role of head coach Brady Hoke, Michigan’s sideline concussion management protocol, AD David Brandon, new Michigan President Dr. Mark Schissel, the NCAA’s new $30 million concussion-study initiative (in concert with the U.S. Army, and actually headed-up by Michigan’s own medical school), and the NCAA’s own policy for handling concussions.

1) Has Brady Hoke taken concussion management seriously? No. Here is Hoke’s ignorant post-game comment: “Shane wanted to be the quarterback; if he didn’t want to be, he would’ve come to the sidelines.” Hoke’s view is badly outdated, and no medical expert now would dare contend that the possibly concussed player should be the “last decider” as to whether he is removed from the field.

But I’ll bet my Chuck Taylors that anyone will tell you Hoke is a palpably decent person. There’s no intent there, really. Continue reading

Posted in Brady Hoke, Concussions, Dr. Mark Schlissel, Michigan Football, University of Michigan | Leave a comment

Gene Marsh’s Big Ten Panegyric: Objective?

Read this piece by Attorney Gene Marsh, entitled “Despite Athletic Excesses, the Academic Mission Prevails,”  about his purportedly objective assessment of the Big Ten. This is a low-point for the Chronicle of Higher Education, for whom I have great respect — particularly the fine work of Brad Wolverton.

Marsh’s piece is pure PR -marshmallow fluff. It’s certainly not reporting. So it must fall in the opinion category.

At first glance, it appears as though Marsh went to some flea market of college sports commercial sales with a Geiger Counter set to tick when it discovered any possible hint of real academic or scholarly endeavor — and that Marsh was thrilled when the device ticked once.

Upon second reading, the thought crosses your mind that the genesis for this piece had two roots: 1) Marsh’s dinner with old buddy Big Ten Comish Delany at some white tablecloth New York Yacht Club site; and 2) Marsh having been paid a $500,000 fee for representing Big Ten member OSU in an NCAA infractions case, and then another half a million dollars by Michigan for his work representing them in a COI case. My facts here are, I will admit, imprecise, but roughly correct, and the hour is late.

More to the point, is it unfair to suggest that the Chronicle editors have a duty founded in old journalism ethics to require that Marsh list, at the top (or bottom) of this panegyric to the Big Ten, all of the Big Ten clients he has represented, and how much they have paid him? Without that information, the public is deceived, since the author appears before the unsuspecting reader as though he has no bias whatsoever.  I’m a big fan of the Chronicle. But this is a real low point.

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Ray Rice Video Showed Elevator Punch — But Also Roger Goodell in the Background, with Broom and Shovel

You probably thought that the most important thing about the Ray Rice “second video” was that it exposed what really went on in that elevator. You’re wrong. We knew from the first video that there had to have been a Rice roundhouse. But did you see Roger Goodell over back there in the corner of that elevator, with broom and shovel in hand?

The most important thing about that second video was that it triggered your opportunity to get a peek at NFL’s powerful glamour factory, much like the old glamour-factory which shaped the persona of the movie stars of the 40’s and 50’s. The NFL stages a “new movie” each week, in each of its cities, which is the weekly football game. And the player-stars of those movies are artificially made more glamorous by the NFL, by carefully shaping what the public sees about those players. The American public — or, at least, the American public as it is itself constantly “shaped” by the NFL, other sports teams and even advertisers –seems to think that it needs to have its athletic standouts appear as something more than just physically gifted and talented. The public thinks it wants its sports heroes to always be virtuous.

The NFL has long been famous for employing a “security force” of astonishing depth and competence, consisting of many ex-FBI and law enforcement hotshots. But the primary function of NFL Security is not security. (At least as most people understand it: to protect the physical security of players, staff or fans.)  NFL Security’s primary function has long been to protect the NFL’s carefully-crafted Myth of the Virtuous Player-Hero. NFL Security exists to protect the “security” of the public’s perception of the NFL player-heroes as being virtuous.

To achieve that end, NFL Security is at the ready, in every NFL city, to constantly monitor to detect any evidence of any “problem” player behavior —  which often involves some player run-in with the law — and to then move quickly, based upon NFL Security’s deep connections with law enforcement authorities, to work to “bury” the problem by using its “big-foot” presence to persuade cops and DA’s to drop charges, and/or to quickly arrange for the hiring of the best and brightest criminal defense attorneys to similarly persuade cops and DA’s to “back off.” NFL Security uses these brooms, shovels and dustpans to swoop in, after some “bad” player behavior, to”sweep-up” and “bury” the problem and remove as many traces as possible.

Roger Goodell is the director of this entire NFL Security “sweeping” and “burial” operation. And Goodell’s cute “burial” of the second Rice video was not unusual behavior on his part: such “burial” of damning evidence, which might tend to show that one of the league’s heroes was not “virtuous,” is not just a long habit for Goodell. Carrying and using the “player-myth” shovel and broom is one of Roger Goodell’s primary job functions.

Don Van Natta’s excellent reporting confirms this, since he found evidence that, within hours of Rice’s elevator knock-out of his fiance, the Ravens knew about it, and were in the process of making “burial” arrangements for the “problem.” We can only guess at the number of phone calls and other interventions which were immediately arranged by NFL Security, at the direction of Roger Goodell.

And in one important respect, the Rice “problem” deserved, and most likely received, some particularly special and strong “burial” attention from the NFL Security people, the Ravens, the league office, and Goodell, because the domestic violence involved was known by Goodell and others to have the potential for damaging one of the league’s two major potential areas for market and income growth over the coming years: the female market (the other is the international market). So the Goodell and the league had particularly strong motivation to work particularly hard to bury that second tape, which starkly displayed Rice engaging in the kind of pagan violence which, on the field, makes him a hero, but which — off the field — makes him appear a thug and a villain. So Goodell, as his bosses expected, worked hard to suppress that tape.

You can almost imagine Goodell’s precise words: “I need plausible deniability — so I’m not going to look at it.” Or, more to the point, “We CANNOT let this video get out.”

Goodell is a the NFL’s chief movie glamour myth-maker, which necessarily means he is required to engage in this repeated, habitual set of sweeping and burial behaviors to fool the public into believing that its player-heroes are always virtuous. A significant part of Goodell’s job function is to fool the public. His father, Senator Goodell, a man of some considerable conscience, might not be impressed — but neither did his father leave this earth ever having earned an annual paycheck of $44 million.

Goodell’s NFL is a powerful spin machine, with staggering wealth and resources. Bill Simmons figured it all out, and surmised — based upon the accretion of persuasive circumstantial and direct evidence now available — that Goodell most likely knew about every pertinent fact associated with the Rice elevator slug within 24 hours, and that NFL Chief Myth Maker and Shovel-Carrier Goodell had gotten caught with broom and shovel in hand. Goodell desperately wanted to bury that tape, just as he’s been actively involved in burying “bad facts” about players for years. Goodell had gotten in the habit of thinking he could “get away with” his burial of facts and his myth-making. But he got caught. That’s the price you pay for getting the $44 million paycheck.

Bill Simmons called out the truth, and Goodell (and his corporate partner partner in myth-making, ESPN) served a shot across the bow of every reporter, by suspending Simmons: do not mess with the Myth Machine.

Goodell and the NFL took a gamble that they could protect their valuable potential female market by working hard to bury the Rice matter. It blew up in their face, and has, as a result, driven those same female fans away. Goodell and the NFL lost the gamble. Goodell, caught with a broom and shovel in hand, lost his reputation by attempting to fool the public.

 

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Goodell Handled Rice Using His Long-Standing Primary Goal: Just Keep the Lid on It

1. The NFL Sports Hero Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card: Sports heroes like Rice have been getting preferential treatment all their lives, which often includes avoiding criminal prosecution in the same way that Rice did. Rice got a pre-trial “intervention” assignment which allowed him to avoid any prosecution at all, as long as he performed the counselling and other terms imposed. As Don Van Natta written, Rice’s opportunity to enter that program was one given by New Jersey to very few people involved in alleged criminal activity.

2. The Public Never Sees Most of those “Jail-Free” Cards When They are Played: Goodell’s actions need to be seen in that context. The public mistakenly believes that the Rice, Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald domestic violence cases are the only other ones which have recently occurred. It is much more likely that those highly publicized cases are a tip of an iceberg of many more such altercations involving NFL players, since many of the altercations get “buried,” without charge because of immediate intervention by lawyers or the NFL. Alternatively, many such charges might, like Rice’s, surface briefly, only to be relatively quickly and cleanly “negotiated away” by high-priced lawyers hired by the wealthy NFL player, with the assistance of the NFL.

3. The NFL Works Hard to Help “Bury” Any Player Criminal-charge Issues: Much has been made of the NFL’s alleged strong, if not intimate connections, with all levels of law enforcement in all regions. But most of the recent “Rice-gate” discussion about these “insider” NFL connections to law enforcement has overlooked a major reason why the NFL cultivates those connections. It’s not just, for example, to give the NFL access to the Rice video, to help the teams and Goodell then make better “disciplinary” decisions. It’s also to give the NFL brass immediate and inside information any time any “problem” — whatsoever — arises concerning any NFL player, so that the NFL and the local team can intervene with law enforcement to help bury the “problem” before it goes public.

4. Burying those Potential Player Criminal “Problems” is a Significant Part of the NFL’s Function: No one appears to have inquired, but there is a significant possibility that the NFL may have had a role in pressuring the Atlantic County DA to “bury” the Rice charges. A significant part of the NFL office’s function is to work to  “keep the lid on” any of these PR-nightmare issues. Goodell, by this analysis, was only doing in the Rice matter what he has done many other times — outside of our view — to minimize the public’s ability to know about any of a potential criminal “transgressions,” but also to help shape an outcome, as in the Rice case, which insures that it avoids criminal prosecution and convictions.

Roger Goodell has seen many more of these domestic violence disturbances come across his desk. They all appear, in varying proportion, to involve nasty behavior, which the league has strong motivation to cover-up.  Goodell sees these issue all the time, and what we saw in the Rice case was Goodell’s habitual handling of one of these many “problems” which pop up.

5. Goodell Handled Rice Using His Habitual #1 Goal: Keep the Lid on It: Goodell’s lightweight original two-game suspension of Rice was entirely consistent with the above pattern of behavior by the NFL: “keep the lid on it.” Goodell knew, as we all did, that Rice’s behavior was brutish and appalling. His job was to try to put together a tidy little package to minimize damage to all, but most of all, to minimize damage to the league’s reputation and goodwill. He clearly knew all about the “second” video, and most likely viewed it — and efforts to “keep the lid” on the case had a primary goal of insuring not only that the case would thus “go away,” but also that the public would never see that second video.  That was a gamble, and he lost the gamble.

6. If You Don’t Like This Brutish Behavior by NFL Players, Don’t Buy a Ticket or Watch: The game is built on violence; a large percentage of players who succeed in this violent game are ones who have been raised on the “language” and reality of violence. If you don’t like it, don’t go to, or watch the games. (Major League Soccer, in 19 years of existence, has never had one player charged with domestic violence.)

7. Don’t Fool Yourself: The 32 NFL teams are for-profit, private businesses, owned by private owners, who want the public to buy into the notion that “we all own the team” — which is why they work so hard to burnish the appearance of players, and to bury the “problems” which come with criminal behavior or charges. The public fools itself, by acting as if they have some ownership interest in the NFL teams, when they have none. Why should anyone care if a player has a pending criminal charge? — it doesn’t affect how, for example, Adrian Peterson does his job as a running back. By buying into this entire NFL “disciplinary” framework led by Goodell, the public denies the reality that it is all for-profit businesses which like to make the public think that there is some public ownership.

At least with respect to criminal charges (as opposed to convictions), I don’t believe a player like Adrian Peterson should be suspended — particularly if a person as wooden-headed as Goodell is the one who is supposed to decide.  If a fan objects to watching the performance on the field of a player who has merely been charged with criminal conduct, then he should take his fussy standards and buy a MLS ticket instead. Or press to make sure that movement toward public ownership of NFL teams, similar to the public ownership of the Green Bay Packers, is the norm.

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What Ray Rice Now Needs to Do

Ray Rice has plenty of money – he signed, in 2012, a 5-year, $35 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens, including a $15,000,000 signing bonus, $15,000,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $7,000,000. He now has plenty of time. He also has a bully-pulpit and, if he acts with alacrity and firmness, an opportunity to dig himself out of his hole.

Rice should:

1) immediately announce a tour, to inner-city, down-and-out locations across the country, at his own expense, to mix with, speak to, and educate young black (and other) youth about the need to avoid domestic violence. This should be at least 15 or 20 cities per month, but should also be directed toward developing a year-long plan. He should consider bringing his wife with him, but only if that’s what she wants;

2) reach out to two or three of the top women’s domestic violence-advocacy groups, to ask them what he can do to help their cause, and work with them on a plan;

3) Do not hide; in some ways, there is no place to hide.

Rice doesn’t need a glossy PR effort. He doesn’t need, and should shun, phoney Norah Campbell interviews like the one that Roger Goodell is doing now. Rice needs to do some of the street work.

The hardest part is the first step. Every one after that is easier. Action brings redemption, and every stop will bring recognition of good deeds. Ray Rice can be, on this issue, as he has been in football, a game changer. And a man among men.

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Haden, Radakovich, Gould & Alvarez: Prima Donna AD’s Who Will Corrupt Process on CFB Selection Committee?

Probity, integrity, judiciousness? — Or a Gonzo Group? Let’s look at Barry Alvarez, Pat Haden, Mike Gould, and Dan Radakovich

We don’t know much yet about how the new College Football Playoff system is going to work out, come selection time, and the 13 new members won’t meet until Oct. 28. Unfortunately, we do know more, based on events just this week, about some of the characters selected to do the selecting.

Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez: Here’s Wisconsin AD and College Football Playoff Selection Committee member Barry Alvarez, apparently yelling at a referee form the sidelines of Wisconsin’s 37-7 win over Western Illinois last Saturday.

CFB Selection Committee Member Barry Alvarez

CFB Selection Committee Member Barry Alvarez

This is maybe a tad over-the-top, but almost not worth a mention — but for other shenanigans by other “august” members of this new and untested Selection Committee.

CFB Selection Committee Member Pat Haden

CFB Selection Committee Member Pat Haden

USC AD Pat Haden: On that same day, USC AD and College Football Playoff Selection Committee member Pat Haden not only argued directly with game referees about unsportsmanlike conduct penalties which had been assessed against USC Coach Steve Sarkisian. He preceded that extraordinary intervention — I’ve never seen an AD do anything which even resembles what Haden did – by a dramatic, attention-grabbing trot all the way across the field. That trot had to have been witnessed by most fans, well-familiar with Haden’s usually genial appearance, but also by referees who also knew who he was. And those same people can be presumed to have known that Haden is now, based upon his appointment to the prestigious selection committee, one of college football’s major “heavyweights.” This was Haden “pulling rank”: using his power, status and prestige to influence the decisions made by referees employed by the PAC-12 conference. It’s fair, isn’t it, to assume that each of the referees in that game “learned their lesson” when Haden came down on the field, which was to thereafter  “lay-off” USC? And also fair to guess that those referees were also just plain stunned that any athletic director would engage in that behavior? We call this, to use the NCAA jargon, unfair “competitive advantage.” Corrupting the process.

Lt Gen. Mike Gould:  Gould, former AD at the Air Force Academy, is also a member of the new Selection Committee. If you haven’t read this superb but appalling account (from the Colarado Springs Gazette) of the lawlessness and corruption rampant within the football program at the Air Force Academy during Gould’s tenure as AD at the Academy, then you should. The investigatory piece lays out a long and disgusting pattern of sexual assault, academic cheating and other violations of the Academy’s supposed Code of Honor during Gould’s entire tenure. Remember that the NCAA’s entire regulation and enforcement model depends upon one linchpin: vigilant self-reporting by each school. Gould’s flouting of that linchpin shows that he has little or no respect for the entire process. Corrupting the process . . .

CFB Selection Committee Member Mike Gould

CFB Selection Committee Member Mike Gould

Clemson AD (and former Georgia Tech AD) Dan Radakovich: In its July 2011 Georgia Tech decision, the NCAA chastised both the GT compliance director and GT then-athletics director, Dan Radakovich (now the Clemson AD, and member of the 13-person college football playoff selection committee) for variously engaging in the “tainting” of witnesses, “hindering” of the investigation, and use of “pre-emptive contact” with witnesses. These are the descriptions by a Committee on Infractions of acts which constitute elements of corruption of process. If the testimony which was “tainted” by the actions of Radakovich and his compliance director had been sworn testimony, their actions would be considered suborning perjury.

CFB Selection Committee Member Dan Radakovich

CFB Selection Committee Member Dan Radakovich

The NCAA COI GT decision is one of a very tiny number of such “major violation” decisions where the athletic director (Radakovich) was the major violator. Most major violation cases involve players or coaches who have somehow broken the rules. In contrast, the GT violations directly arose from illegal actions taken by Radakovich while he led the school’s actions during the investigative stage.

The NCAA GT decision shows that Radakovich was insubordinate to his superior at the NCAA by intentionally breaching an explicit order of confidentiality. Radakovich’s insubordination had a direct impact upon the subsequent strange and 180-degree “change of story” by one of the players:

In November 2009, the NCAA contacted a GT Compliance officer with information that an “agent” had been spotted at GT, and that several GT football players may have received free clothing from the agent. The NCAA staffer explicitly warned the GT compliance officer that this information about agent actions could be revealed only to the GT President and AD Radakovich — and no one else.

Incredibly, only ten days later, AD Radokovich, Head Football Coach Johnson, the GT Compliance Office and the football player in question all sat in one room for a meeting. And they spoke in detail about the fact that the NCAA had information that an agent had been present and had provided free clothing to the athlete in question.

The result of this meeting?: the player in question reversed his prior admission that he’d received the clothing. That is, prior to the meeting he was forced to attend with the AD, Coach and Compliance chiefs at GT, that player had admitted that he’d gotten free clothing. After the meeting, he denied that fact.

Radakovich and the compliance officer admit that they both knew that they knew they had had a duty to keep the information confidential. Instead (to use the NCAA’s words) they “tainted” and “hindered” the NCAA investigation.

Pre-Emptive Meeting: The NCAA COI decision made much of this “pre-emptive” meeting which Radakovich and Johnson had with the player and how that prevented the NCAA from being able to make any final determination as to whether the clothing was “illegally” gotten from an agent or his runner.

Hindered the Committee: The COI found that “the staff members provided, before the NCAA could conduct their interview, information about what would be discussed in the interview,”[and that]“these actions impeded the enforcement staff investigations and hindered the committee in getting to the truth in this case. Otherwise, this case, as it pertains to the football program, would have been limited to impermissible benefits and preferential treatment violations.

Let’s stop and think about this meeting, in a way that someone at the NCAA must have seen it. These are probably the two most powerful Athletics figures at GT –the AD and football coach (along with the compliance head) – in a room with the young player. Think he’s scared? Think he knows what’s expected of him? — maybe to shade the truth?

So it’s not simply that AD Radakovich engaged in deliberate, knowing conduct which directly contravened not just several NCAA bylaws, including Bylaw 10.1. It’s more profound than that: Radakovich countermanded an explicit order by the NCAA.

The COI cited GT for a lack of cooperation during the investigation and a failure to meet the conditions and obligations of membership (among other things.) GT was given four years’ probation, a $100,000 fine, and vacation of the 2009 ACC title game. They also imposed upon Georgia Tech’s athletics operation an order of “Public reprimand and censure.”

Finally, and as is common, the COI reflexively ordered all kinds of rules “education”, including the requirement that Radakovich attend a mandatory NCAA rules education seminar in 2012 (even though there was no evidence that Radakovich’s intentional acts were the result of any “misunderstanding” of the rules).

Days after the COI decision, Radakovich took a “we-did-nothing-wrong” stance.

1. “We cooperated fully during process.”  (Compare this to the “pre-emptive meeting”,  “tainted” evidence, or “hindered” [access] to the truth” findings by the NCAA.)

2. “We don’t agree with the report and its findings.

3. “Georgia Tech should not be placed in a position where its integrity is challenged.”

4. “We disagree but we will move forward.

Contrary to these assertions, there are many indications that Radakovich’s entire department was, in 2011, completely out of control. The COI found, as just one example, “The former general counsel was not the only person… who conveyed a combative attitude toward the investigation. The [NCAA Investigator] …. needed supervisory support at some interviews because of the attitude of the institution’s representation.” In addition, the Head Basketball Coach was fired prior to the NCAA decision, and violations in both football and basketball operations were addressed in the COI decision.

Radakovich is, apparently, a man comfortable in his own sin. But his behavior in these events, as a center-stage actor in a major violation involving subversion of the process which all members schools have agreed to, should make anyone very uncomfortable about the prospect of having him involved in any highly sensitive, nationally-oriented selection process. In fact, the clearly unethical behavior exhibited by Radakovich, along with similar major ethical breaches recently by Jim Tressel (fraud) and Jo Pa (concealment of evidence), are three major examples revealing that the entire Self-Reporting obligation which is the linchpin of the NCAA framework must now be presumed broken.

More to the point, if Radokovich will, as he did at GT, intentionally breach confidences he had a clear professional duty to maintain, should he be entrusted with highly confidential, if not publicly volatile information developed or discussed by the selection committee? If he will engage in efforts to illicitly “taint” or “hinder” process or evidence, is he suitable for a selection committee which must be beyond reproach? Isn’t the mere presence of this “taint” from the GT decision enough to disqualify him from consideration for the selection committee?

Finally, Radakovich intentionally “blew up” the team to which he had a higher duty: a “team” which should’ve been formed, cooperatively with the NCAA, and which should have included Radakovich, to investigate any GT violations. Instead, he subverted that team, apparently for his own interest. And he still apparently fails to comprehend the nature of gravity of his violation.  Radakovich: a team player?

But that’s not the end of the story. Look back at this haughty, condescending comment by Cowboy Radakovich immediately after the NCAA’s 2011 decision, which established that Radakovich’s department, and Radakovich, had been cited for preferential treatment violations, a lack of cooperation during the investigation and a failure to meet the conditions and obligations of membership.

“I think that’s where they feel (the investigation) started,” Radakovich said. “I’ve been working with coaches for 25 years, and I think it’s important that you have a relationship with coaches. And while in this particular circumstance I should’ve picked up the telephone and made a call — and I probably could’ve convinced the (NCAA) individual that this was important for me to do. I’ve worked with other investigators who wouldn’t have had a problem with that, so I think that’s part of the other growth and understanding process you go through when you have these issues at hand.”

This is Radakovich making manifest that the rules do not apply to him because he knows better than anyone, including the NCAA’s COI, what is really important:  “hav[ing] a relationship with coaches” and, avoiding the awful bad luck, we all should know, of not getting to work with “an investigator who who wouldn’t have a problem with” [the tainting of witnesses].

Keep the above Cowboy Radakovich quote in mind as you consider what the NCAA just did on September 4 , 2014, announcing a new set of penalties, including extending GT’s probation for another two years (to June 13, 2017), for repeated events which took place while Radakovich was still the AD at GT. Repeated impermissible phone calls were made in the two revenue sports, football and basketball. Some of the calls were made only three days before Radakovich and other GT sports managers appeared before the Committee on Infractions in April 2011. In all, GT coaches made at least 478 impermissible calls and sent at least 299 impermissible text messages to a total of 140 prospects.

New GT AD Mike Bobinski, hired after Radakovich left for Clemson in 2013, and apparently not too pleased with Radakovich’s out-of-control operation, said, “”What transpired in 2011-12 and the ‘failure to monitor’ finding are not things that sit well with me or with any of us here at Georgia Tech.”

What a trail. Radakovich “taints” witnesses, and “hinders” the investigation. Then takes the attitude, even after he’s been called out by the NCAA COI using extraordinary terms indicating corruption of process, that he and GT did absolutely nothing wrong.  Might there have been a logical conclusion drawn by the basketball and football coaches at GT, in the face of Radakovich’s bluster, that all these NCAA rules are ridiculous, should be ignored, and that the coaches should just keep right on (illegally) dialing recruits phone numbers?  These new facts suggest that Radakovich (and his department) were even more out of control than we had known, and that Radakovich was directly responsible for every sanction imposed upon GT.

Probity, integrity, judiciousness? Or “pulling rank;” unfairly using status and power to influence an outcome; obliviousness to rules and rule-breaking;  tainting and hindering witnesses. Corrupting the process . . .

Unfortunately, we’re seeing more evidence that at least three of the Selection Committee members are prima donna cowboys, who believe the rules don’t apply to them.

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Ray Rice’s Cold Indifference: His Fist Could’ve Killed His Fiance

My first thought upon watching the stunning video of Ray Rice clobbering his fiance in the elevator had to do with Jack Dempsey’s comment before his Independence Day 1919 heavyweight championship fight in Toledo, Ohio against 245-lb behemoth and Kansas farmer Jess Willard: “This guy is liable to kill me. I’m twenty-four years old and I might get killed.”

Ray Rice's Deadly Weapons

Ray Rice’s Deadly Weapons

Ray Rice, he of the massive biceps and low center of gravity, could’ve instilled the same fear in his fiance: “This guy is liable to kill me.” And Rice should’ve known, before he landed the blow, that his hand had the capacity to kill; his indifference to that risk jumps out at the viewer of the video.

But his conduct after the blow is almost as reprehensible. I can only guess that some men, upon striking an alleged loved one, in the heat of passion, might immediately regret the act, and run to the aid of the stricken female. Rice’s continued indifference is obvious and palpable on the video. He just stood there, staring. He dragged “the body” out of the elevator. Then stared. Then decided to move its two legs closer together. No tears. No beseeching, apparently, passersby or others to help, or to get help. He just stood there, and did nothing, while his fiance was stretched out, motionless. She could have been dead, for all Rice appeared to have known or cared. We have seen a window into Ray Rice’s black, entirely indifferent soul.

The video perhaps gives more context to the fiance’s “regret” allegedly expressed to Roger Goodell, as a part of her (apparently) successful attempt to persuade Goodell to be lenient on her fiance. Well, if you were that tiny fiance, might you now be terrified of what Rice would do to you if you didn’t join in his effort to get leniency from the commissioner?

Finally, I find the timing of Roger Goodell’s announcement of a new domestic violence policy at least a tad interesting. He’d been hammered repeatedly in the press for his inept handling of the Rice issue, up until his announcement of the new policy on August 28, only 10 days before the new video surfaced; might that new policy have been issued only because Goodell’s people had some information that TMZ was going to leak the “elevator-interior” video?

Goodell has made a huge problem even bigger. This now-viral video languishes out there, suggesting to millions of young men that this kind of abuse of females warrants only a tiny slap on the wrist. But Goodell has shot his wad, and is left with few new options. He needs to pressure the Ravens to utilize their own team rules to suspend Rice for the remaining portion of the season.

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Why Should I Care What Colt’s Jim Irsay Does, or is Fined?

I am baffled by the premise behind the fine and suspension levied upon Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. I understand it is within the commissioner’s authority — but it makes no sense to me.  Fines and suspensions are for players, ostensibly to penalize them for: 1) their use of performance-enhancing (read: competitive-advantage-creating) drugs; 2) giving the public the impression that they are anything less than the choir boys that the public wants as heroes.

But Irsay is not gaining “competitive advantage” with his druggin’ and drinkin’ and other malversations. And no one looks to him for heroic, saintly athletic accomplishment. He owns a for-profit business, which has arranged a very profitable “profit-sharing” arrangement with all the other team owners, the combination of which goes by the name “National Football League.”  I might guess that being an owner of a for-profit business, while behaving badly in his personal life might puts him in the majority category of for-profit business owners.

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49’ers McDonald, Roger Goodell and Domestic Violence Due Process: How Duke Lax Lesson Solves Goodell’s Dilemma

Now Roger Goodell is going to have to decide whether to apply the Duke Lax Lesson to his recently-announced player domestic violence policy. After having done a face-plant in his handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence matter, Goodell announced, to much fanfare last week, his plan to impose a six-game suspension for player domestic violence first offenses, and then a one-year-to lifetime ban for repeat offenders.

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What Goodell’s new policy failed to spell out was the precise circumstances under which those penalties would apply. On one extreme, would they be imposed only after criminal convictions for domestic violence-related offenses? Or, on the other extreme, would they be applied as soon as any charge is raised by a female, or by criminal authorities? Continue reading

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