Open Season For NFL Scandals

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We’ll look at the embattled NFL, and the modern-day gladiators who pay the price for football’s glory.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell leaves Federal court in New York, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015.  (AP)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell leaves Federal court in New York, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. (AP)

Are you ready for some football? Season opener is tonight for the NFL.  New England Patriots – oh boy! – versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. And then the avalanche of crunch and hit and drama and money that is professional football. Oh – and scandal. DeflateGate, SpyGate, domestic abuse, men losing their minds from too many hits to the head. And we cheer. Will Smith takes that piece on in the movie "Concussion."  But there’s so much here. Should league commissioner Roger Goodell go? Are we as complicit in moral-free gladiator sport as the ancient Romans? This hour On Point, the sound and fury of football.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Kevin Clark, NFL columnist for The Wall Street Journal. (@KevinClarkWSJ)

Seth Wickersham, senior writer at ESPN. (@SethWickersham)

Patrick Hruby, contributing editor for VICE Sports and professor of sports journalism at Georgetown University. (@patrick_hruby)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Goodell Will Consider Discipline Role Change — " Goodell’s dual role as commissioner and top disciplinarian has come under new scrutiny since judge Richard Berman last week accused Goodell of dispensing his own 'industrial justice' when handing down a four-game suspension of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for a scheme to deflate footballs."

ESPN: Spygate to Deflategate: Inside what split the NFL and Patriots apart — "Considering how the NFL currently conducts its investigations or reviews of its investigations — outsourcing the legwork, allowing it to take months to complete, making the findings public, and almost always losing if the inevitable appeal is heard by an independent arbitrator — it's striking that the Spygate inquiry lasted only a little over a week, and that Goodell's findings stuck."

VICE Sports: Will Smith's "Concussion" Doesn't Have a Happy Ending, and Neither Does the Real-Life NFL — "Now, if Concussion were a typical Hollywood film—particularly a cornball sports flick, like, say, Rocky IV—it likely would end on a note of unambiguous triumph. Good guys rewarded, bad guys punished, all problems resolved. But the movie, to the credit of writer and director Peter Landesman, is far more nuanced. I've seen Concussion. Without giving away its ending, I can say that the story hews closely to the actual events that inspired it, and that the lawyers who vetted and fact-checked the project appear to have done a good job. If the film lacks a sunshine-and-lollipops denouement, it's only because real life lacks one, too."

This program aired on September 10, 2015.



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