To watch the way some football fans carry on over a football game you would think it was life and death. And Roger Goodell and the NFL seems to want you to feel exactly that way as every game begins with some kind of paramilitary, psuedo-patriotic, pseudo-religious fervor. Or is it frenzy?
Which might explain why Tom Brady got a 4 game suspension for his suspected but unproved complicity in some slightly under inflated footballs and Dante Stallworth got 6 games in 2009 for killing a man while driving drunk.
For Roger Goodell in both cases he must have felt the punishment fit the crimes.
The contrast between the two cases is stark and surreal. Which in many ways is what football has become, from a sport, a game, something to root for on a Saturday and Sunday to a surreal quasi-religious experience as sold by the NFL who has seen the Super Bowl promoted and treated like a national holiday.
In the case of Dante Stallworth it was something out of the Thomas Wolfe novel Bonfire of the Vanities only the races were reversed.In 2009 Stallworth was driving his Bentley in South Beach in Miami at 7 a.m. after a night of drinking and partying at a Miami hotel and was drunk as a skunk when he plowed into and killed Mario Reyes, a 52 year old construction worker crossing the street trying to catch a bus on his way to work. Stallworth hit him at 50 mph in a zone where the speed limit was 35.
Stallworth's blood alcohol level was 15 times the legal limit, 1.26 versus the legal limit of 0.08.
In the kind of injustice that started the French Revolution, ( take notice activists who claim African Americans are always being victimized by the justice system - the dividing line for injustice isnt race, it's class, status and wealth) in a plea deal Stallworth was given 30 days in jail for killing a man after pleading guilty to DUI and vehicular manslaughter ( as an aside while the makers of Budweiser felt compelled to issue a statement of concern and disapproval over the leniency originally shown to Ray Rice by Goodell for knocking out his wife, they made no statement back in 2009 about the leniency of 6 games for killing a man while driving drunk.)
How did Roger Goodell handle an NFL player who pled guilty to driving drunk and vehicular manslaughter?
Goodell issued a statement that the NFL would review the Stallworth case for possible disciplinary action.
That possible disciplinary action became a 6 game suspension. For killing a man. Stallworth's Bentley hitting Reyes at 50 mph deflated Reyes a lot more than the footballs that Brady was accused of conspiring to deflate. But not to Goodell.
Based on NFL justice they were roughly similar .
Brady's appeal of his 4 game suspension was rejected by Goodell on the grounds that Brady destroyed his cell phone after switching phones ( something Brady did in every case to protect his privacy) which the NFL surmised contained incriminating evidence. So Brady's 4 game suspension was upheld for destroying his cell phone. Dante Stallworth got 6 games for destroying a life. It's a question of values. And what did more damage. In Goodell's eyes anyway.
Naturally there was no outrage in the news media over Stallworth's light suspension. And no outrage now or even an attempt by the media to compare the two cases and Roger Goodell's idea of NFL justice. So it must be a case of shared values. Societal, journalistically and otherwise.
Brady is going to court and a New York judge has asked all parties to appear August 19. Brady has a good case. It'll be even stronger if his attorneys make the ludicrous comparison between the Stallworth case and Brady's punishment.
For now DUI which kills 17,000 people a year isnt politically correct enough. As proved by another lenient Roger Goodell suspension of Colt owner, Jim Irsay who this year received a suspension of a few games for a recent DUI. Maybe one of these days it will be taken as seriously as it deserves as a form of domestic terrorism without the politics. Especially if it's an NFL player who is killed by a drunk driver instead of the other way around. Then the country will really get mad.