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NFL Brass Channels SNL In Ray Rice Aftermath03:40

Roger Goodell had initially suspended Ray Rice for two games, but has since extended the suspension indefinitely. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Roger Goodell had initially suspended Ray Rice for two games, but has since extended the suspension indefinitely. (Elsa/Getty Images)
This article is more than 6 years old.

On Monday, a graphic video surfaced showing former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice punching Janay Palmer in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino. Based in part on a previous video, Rice had been suspended for two games by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Monday's revelations led the Baltimore Ravens to fire Rice. The commissioner extended Rice's suspension indefinitely. And some of the accompanying news felt oddly familiar to Bill Littlefield.

Remember Tommy Flanagan?

Jon Lovitz played him on Saturday Night Live and elsewhere. Flanagan was a member of Pathological Liars Anonymous, even though he wasn't anonymous. In fact, he was the president of the organization. Yeah, that was the ticket.

Anyway, has anybody else been reminded of the Lovitz character by the recent dance steps performed in and around the office of the commissioner of the NFL?

Having learned last February that Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens had dragged his unconscious then-finance-now-wife out of a casino elevator, the commissioner, Roger Goodell, decided in July that a two-game suspension would be the appropriate punishment, perhaps because, well, who knew what had happened inside that elevator? Maybe Janay Palmer had hit one of the elevator buttons too hard, and it had bounced out of the board and knocked her out. Yeah, it could have happened that way.

When it became apparent to Mr. Goodell that the two-game suspension was pretty much universally regarded as the worst decision made in the office of the league commissioner since Pete Rozelle elected to do business as usual on the weekend following the assassination of President Kennedy, Mr. Goodell suddenly understood that he’d gotten it wrong with Rice, so he announced that more severe punishments would be visited upon future offenders and hoped that everybody, including women, perhaps especially women, would turn their attention to what was about to begin on the field.

Nothing more to see here. Except football.

Then on Monday, the world learned what had happened inside that casino elevator. And Commissioner Goodell learned what had happened at the same time, because neither he nor anybody else at the NFL had previously seen that video.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

And they hadn't asked Rice how his wife happened to become unconscious, either. Right?

Yeah. Yeah.

Really? Nobody in that multibillion-dollar corporation so obsessed with preventing damage to its image that it employs professional investigators had conducted an actual investigation?

Or maybe somebody at corporate headquarters was going to do that, but he, uh, suddenly had to help some of the Baltimore Ravens save a couple of kids who'd been carried out to sea by a rogue wave, and then the building across the street caught on fire, and the guy from the office joined most of the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers as they rushed up the stairs through the heavy smoke to save several rooms full of children. And their puppies. Which were whimpering. They followed the whimpering. That's how the NFL guy and the players saved the kids and the puppies.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Otherwise the NFL guy would certainly have been on top of that assault thing.

Now watch the game.


Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.


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