Thursday, July 2, 2015

roger goodell

With the Saints player suspension less than a week old, former Vikings receiver Cris Carter re-confirmed what many of us already knew, or at least believed, about the sport of football:  “bounties” have long been a part of the game.

“I’m guilty of it,” Carter said of using bounties. “It’s the first time I’ve ever admitted it. But I put a bounty on guys before. I put bounties on guys. And the guys tried to take me out, a guy tried to take a cheap shot on me, I put a bounty on him, right now.”

Carter insisted that he used bounties strictly as a defense mechanism, but also witnessed times when bounties were use to target specific players on opposing teams.

“Protect me. . . . Protect me from him. . . . Especially if he’s playing a different position where I can’t protect myself,” Carter said. “I’d tell one of them guards, ‘Hey man, this dude is after me, man. Bill Romanowski.’ He told me he’s gonna me out before the game, in warmups. No problem. ‘I’m gonna end your career, Carter.’ No problem. I put a little change on his head before the game. Protect myself, protect my family. That’s the league that I grew up in.”

Since the day the news of “Bounty Gate” first broke I have maintained a pretty uninspired stance on the matter, despite some very emotional reactions from other Vikings faithful, but part of my measured response to this story has to do with the assumption that this troubling practice was not isolated within the City of New Orleans, with a Gregg Williams defense, or even just within the NFL.

Instead, it is becoming clear that this was a widespread problem that Roger Goodell has decided there is no room for in a league run by him.

The Saints will take the fall, but bounties have been around for a long time and have infiltrated many locker rooms.

Including, apparently, the Vikings locker room.

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Vikings fans traditionally are not a fan of Roger Goodell.  After his visit at the end of last week seemingly resuscitated the Vikings stadium bill, the bill now has momentum of the likes we Vikings fans have not seen before.

In the State Senate, the bill was passed along without any drama by the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committee and up next is the Senate Finance Committee.  Finance could be the last stop for the bill before it goes to the floor for an actual vote, unless it is decided that it also must travel to the Taxes Committee.  The truth is that all stadium hopes could die an instant death at the hands of any of these committees, but all media reports seem to indicate a vote is in the near future.

In the House, where the bill appeared dead on arrival just over one week ago, the bill is rocketing back to life and it is being reported that a vote could come as soon as Wednesday.

Whatever Goodell said to the State officials last week seemed to do the trick, but don’t uncork that champagne bottles yet, Minnesotans.

With perceived threats of relocation keeping Vikings fans awake at night, a certain jet landing in L.A., and a bevy of quotes from legislators suggesting there is little hope, we have officially entered a collective state of crisis regarding the future of the Minnesota Vikings.

Which is exactly where we need to be.

For years now, my reporter of choice regarding all things stadium has been Kevin Seifert over at ESPN.  His logic, from the very beginning, just seemed to have a consistent and matter-of-fact style to it that, to me, came across as the most realistic and reasonable.

For years now, Seifert has played the part of the pessimist.  When there appeared to be a positive turn of events surrounding the stadium situation, Seifert was there to tell us not to get our hopes up, and insisted that nothing would actually get done on this front until we actually entered “crisis mode.”  This always made sense to me, even when I wanted to believe we were seeing significant strides towards a done deal.

Now, with everyone else claiming the sky is falling, Seifert appears to be steadfast and consistent in his realization that this situation would have to reach this level of immediacy before a resolution is found.  Coincidentally, in the current state of affairs, that reverses his role and makes him more of an optimist than a pessimist.

Seifert contends that it had to reach this point all along in order for something to actually happen. 

With NFL heavy hitters Roger Goodell and Art Rooney currently in Minnesota providing officials with a “reality check” it is clear that neither the franchise nor the league is willing, unless they are bluffing, to start this process up again next year.

That officially makes the window of opportunity small enough that we can start to call this “crisis mode” and feel certain that we will soon get a finalized answer on the issue, for better or worse.

Action, whether we like the outcome or not, finally appears to be imminent.

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