Playing in the NFL is a privilege. Roger Goodell whole-heartedly believes this and is swift to take action against players that taint the league’s image. I love his approach. If a player commits a crime during the off-season, why shouldn’t he receive a suspension? I, like many Americans, would lose my job, the second a felony conviction was attached to my name. A misdemeanor conviction, or a felony arrest, might be enough. Why shouldn’t NFL players be held to the same standard. Kudos, Mr. Commissioner.
This great nation uses “innocent until proven guilty” as their mantra because it is better to have guilty men free than an innocent man incarcerated. I support this but we have to understand that guilty men are free. You are not innocent simply because guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt, cannot be proven.
Often times we know someone is guilty but a technicality, an inadequate prosecutor, a superb defense team, a foolish jury, a bad judge, or a combination of these (O.J. Simpson) can lead to an acquittal. Again, an acquittal does not mean you’re innocent.
I would bet everything I own that Roger Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs while he actively pitched in the major leagues. Many would say that’s an easy bet. Come on Richard, take a real risk.
OK, I would bet my house that more than half of active MLB and NFL players are using PEDs. The preferred drug will come to light in about 5-10 years.
How about Ryan Braun? I lost all respect for that guy. Because his testosterone is equal to that of a teenage werewolf? No. Because he had the audacity to claim his innocence. Ryan, your savvy lawyers and a questionable arbitrator got you off the hook. The urine-collector did nothing wrong. You sir, are doing what most of your colleagues are doing. Someone, on your medical team, made an error and you were caught. Silence is golden.
Telling the world that you have never used PEDs is like Nick Saban telling Dolphin fans that he’s not going to Alabama.
Now we get to Jonathan Vilma and Scott Fujita.
Circumstantial cases sometimes work to show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Vilma and Fujita appear to believe that unless there is a video-taped conversation where they express the harm they intend to unleash on an opponent, for money, they are in the clear. Circumstantial cases can be as strong as oak.
Goodell wants to clean up the league and this bounty business is dirty. I am not naive. The Saints are not the only team involved with this filth but they were caught. They will be the example. The evidence appears to be overwhelming. Vilma and Fujita, let your lawyers and the NFLPA do the talking. You know what you did. The guilty always claim there is no proof. Among them, those with the weakest character, claim their innocence as well.
We need more Goodells and less Saints.
Update: Add Anthony Hargrove to the hall of the less-than-truthful after his Rafael Palmeiro-like rant.
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