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And Another Thing


Go get 'em

Haven't weighed in yet on Jonathan Vilma's defamation suit against Roger Goodell, but this pretty much sums up the Blob's take.

Engel's as right as milk on cornflakes: The only way to strike fear in the heart of Roger Goodell, the NFL's commissioner/tsar of all the Russias, is to haul him out of his comfort zone and into court, where he'll have to prove Vilma was as culpable as his bosses in a severely top-down culture.

Vilma probably won't win, because he'll have to prove Goodell's intent was malicious in singling him out for a year's suspension. But there's no doubt Goodell once again placed unrealistic demands on the players. To expect Vilma to tell his coaches, "Nah, I'm not gonna do that" when instructed to take out opponents is to expect him to ignore an entire lifetime of learned behavior -- i.e., the coach is always right, and it's his way or the highway.

That's asking too much. And it's once again unduly punishing the players for a culture Goodell and the NFL created and tolerated because it profited hugely from it -- until, that is, the players who were left crippled by it decided to strike back where it hurt most: the bottom line.

Hypocrisy can scarcely be drawn any more definitively. And so, good on you, Jonathan Vilma. Go get 'em.

Ben Smith's blog.