Fans of the New Orleans Saints might well remember the high standard for conduct, and perhaps heavy-handed punishments, from Commissioner Roger Goodell in the Bountygate scandal.
If ignorance was no excuse, as Goodell famously said then, he should be held responsible in light of revelations that the NFL may have had possession back in April of incriminating video of Ray Rice striking his then-girlfriend.
That she is now his wife, and that Rice has been released from his team, does not change the organizational mess that now faces Goodell and team owners.
The National Organization for Women has noted that during his time as commissioner, there have been 56 reported instances of domestic violence, but players were suspended from a combined total of 13 games. Only 10 players were released from teams.
The league’s decision to have former FBI Director Robert Mueller look into the handling of the Rice scandal is a good move. We wonder if his brief ought to be expanded to consider the range of issues raised by an organization that is tone-deaf to beatings and assault reports.
Goodell made no friends in New Orleans when he handed down the bounty punishments in 2012. But he was a key ally in 2005, when the NFL’s future in New Orleans was uncertain, so Saints fans might pause a moment before gloating over his predicament.