Tag Archive | "Roger Goodell"

B&B Big Story Banter: Ray Rice Suspension & NFL Cultural Issue

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B&B Big Story Banter: Ray Rice Suspension & NFL Cultural Issue

Posted on 26 July 2014 by Brett Dickinson

It was bound to be a much talked about topic, but the NFL, the Ravens, Ray Rice and even sports media could not have expected the backlash after the two game suspension everyone has waited for.  The idea of this punishment being accepted in society, let alone in a private multi-billion dollar corporation, is downright appalling to anyone that has a functioning brain and a television.  But where does the real problem lie here? Obviously Rice has a major issue he should handle, which has been covered since day 1 of this incident. But this whole situation reeks of a much grander cultural issue in the NFL and sports in America.

To start, the main excuse for such a lenient reaction by  Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Ravens organization is that “he has never done anything wrong before” is blatantly asinine. All CRIMINALS HAVE A CLEAN TRACK RECORD BEFORE THEIR FIRST CRIME! Why does his past “good behavior” allow Rice to strike a woman? Why is anyone looking at his charitable endeavors as a reason that he should be given more leniency towards such a heinous act? Because he has performed well in the most popular sport in the country, all the while being a stand up citizen for his first six seasons, does not give him (or anyone) a pass on judgement.

Yet the NFL powers decided that knocking a woman unconscionable is only worthy of half the punishment for taking Adderall without clearance from the the league offices. Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Jonhson was the last to receive a suspension by a league before Rice; four games for not reporting to the league that he was taking a prescription drug that contained a banned substance.

Any defense of Rice’s actions shows immaturity and undermines the moral fabric of the entire NFL fan base. The statement has arisen, “We don’t know if he did anything in that elevator.” Well we all certainly know what the police report says. It states that Rice struck his girlfriend using his hands. We all know that Rice himself felt the need to publicly apologize for his actions. I can’t remember the last time I apologized for not doing anything wrong. We all know that the NFL Commissioner had enough evidence to suspend Rice. There would certainly be a ensuing legal battle if he were innocent, yet still receive punishment.

Yet Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh wants to state that “[Ray Rice] is a good guy.” I’m sorry but when you find it necessary to use physical force against a woman than NO HE IS NOT! This simply proves the team (like the rest of the league) is just worried about winning and not HUMAN DECENCY. We have seen this in the past as the Ravens publicly backed the likes of Ray Lewis, Jamal Lewis, Chris McAlister and Terrell Suggs during their legal troubles. I guess that is why the team did not have the gumption to take action when they were handed all of the same evidence that led to this suspension. 

But in the end it is not Rice’s fault that the league office felt some sort of sympathy on his case.  And that is where the real issue comes to the forefront. The NFL has stood by its players to a fault; where well known and reported criminals can get away with breaking the law because they can play football.  The players have no recourse knowing that the league will let them back in with open arms no matter how despicable the act.

There were 19 arrests this off season (5 of which by those who play in Baltimore), yet many of those players will be allowed to go back to there daily lives and daily earnings without any repercussions what so ever.  Has anyone even mentioned throwing out a suspension for Deonte Thompson or Jah Reid or Lorenzo Talliferro or Jimmy Smith? NO!

And just maybe, if the NFL did put in a policy TO NOT GET ARRESTED or you will lose out on your livelihood, like they have with their substance abuse and performance enhancing drug policies, players would be less inclined to act like delinquents off the field. Maybe it is time for the NFL to take a stand against their EMPLOYEES ACTING AS CRIMINALS. Roger Goodell certainly had a chance to prove a point with Ray Rice and he missed terribly.

Now the court of public opinion is weighing down on the league and rightfully so, as the NFL’s culture of protecting its product has proven to outweigh the importance HUMAN DECENCY.  I dare anyone to go out, hit their wife in public or get arrested with multiple DUIs or get caught with illegal narcotics on several different occasions or any other crime and still be allowed to show their face at their place of business the next day.  So why does the most powerful sports league in the world just deem these actions as acceptable or commonplace?

After Goodell laid down this “punishment” on Ray Rice, I personally felt ashamed to consider myself a diehard fan of the NFL. It is an embarrassment for the NFL to consider its fan base so neanderthalic and stupid to not understand what is fair and just.

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Goodell says Rice’s conduct “unquestionably inconsistent” with league policies

Posted on 24 July 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL notified Baltimore Ravens running back RAY RICE today that he will be suspended without pay for the first two 2014 regular season games and fined an additional game check for conduct detrimental to the NFL in violation of the league’s Personal Conduct Policy for his February arrest.

In May, Rice resolved the charges by entering into a pretrial intervention program. Under this program, he will not be prosecuted and is not required to serve jail time or pay any fine. After one year, the charges will be expunged and will not be part of Rice’s record.

Following this agreement, Goodell met with Rice and his wife. Despite the court’s decision not to impose criminal punishment, the Commissioner determined, as he advised Rice, that the conduct was incompatible with NFL policies and warranted disciplinary action.

In a letter to Rice, Commissioner Goodell stated:

“As you acknowledged during our meeting, your conduct was unquestionably inconsistent with league polices and the standard of behavior required of everyone who is part of the NFL. The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game. This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.

“You will be expected to continue to take advantage of the counseling and other professional services you identified during our meeting. As you noted, this additional assistance has been of significant benefit to you and your wife, and it should remain a part of your practice as appropriate.

“I believe that you are sincere in your desire to learn from this matter and move forward toward a healthy relationship and successful career. I am now focused on your actions and expect you to demonstrate by those actions that you are prepared to fulfill those expectations.”

Rice’s suspension will begin on August 30. He will be eligible for reinstatement on Monday, September 12 following the Ravens’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rice may participate in all aspects of training camp and preseason games.

Rice may appeal this decision within three days.

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Rice to be suspended for first two games of 2014 season

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Rice to be suspended for first two games of 2014 season

Posted on 24 July 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After months of speculation with varying opinions about his fate, Ravens running back Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the 2014 season as punishment for a domestic violence incident that occurred in an Atlantic City casino in February.

The league officially announced its decision on Thursday afternoon as Rice was punished for “conduct detrimental to the NFL in violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a letter that Rice’s conduct “was unquestionably inconsistent with league polices and the standard of behavior required of everyone who is part of the NFL.”

Rice was fined a game check — which is reportedly calculated from his 2013 base salary of $1 million — in addition to the salary he’ll lose during the two-game suspension without pay, bringing his total lost compensation to roughly $529,000. He will be unavailable as the Ravens open their season against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on Sept. 7 and welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to Baltimore four days later for a Thursday night game.

“It is disappointing that I will not be with my teammates for the first two games of the season, but that’s my fault,” Rice said in a statement released by the Ravens. “As I said earlier, I failed in many ways. But, Janay and I have learned from this. We have become better as a couple and as parents. I am better because of everything we have experienced since that night. The counseling has helped tremendously.”

“My goal is to earn back the trust of the people, especially the children, I let down because of this incident. I am a role model and I take that responsibility seriously. My actions going forward will show that.”

Baltimore will be able to replace Rice on the 53-man roster while he’s suspended. The running back will be allowed to participate in all aspects of training camp and in preseason games before beginning his suspension on Aug. 30.

The 27-year-old running back and his wife met with Goodell in New York last month, leading many to assume a ruling on a potential suspension would come before the start of camp as the Ravens try to rebound from an 8-8 season that saw them miss the postseason for the first time since 2007. In the spring, Rice pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and was accepted into a pretrial intervention program after allegedly striking his fiancee and rendering her unconscious at the Revel Casino on February 15.

“We appreciate the thorough process the league office used to evaluate the incident with Ray Rice,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. “The time the commissioner spent with Ray and Janay is typical of the extra steps the NFL takes when making decisions regarding discipline issues. While not having Ray for the first two games is significant to our team, we respect the league’s decision and believe it is fair.

“We also respect the efforts Ray has made to become the best partner and father he can be. That night was not typical of the Ray Rice we know and respect. We believe that he will not let that one night define who he is, and he is determined to make sure something like this never happens again.”

The news was met with much criticism on Thursday as many believed the NFL is taking too soft of a stance on domestic violence. The Ravens have stood firm in their support for Rice throughout the process and never wavered in expressing their positive feelings toward him, regularly pointing out his pristine record and reputation prior to the February incident.

Head coach John Harbaugh said earlier in the week that Rice’s suspension would not impact his team’s preparations in training camp until after the second preseason game. He reiterated that idea on Thursday, adding that the organization has already moved on from a football standpoint.

“It’s really not a big deal. It’s just part of the process,” Harbaugh said. “We said from the beginning the circumstances would determine the consequences. There are consequences when you make a mistake like that. I stand behind Ray — he’s a heck of a guy. He’s done everything right since. He makes a mistake; he’s going to have to pay a consequence. That’s good for kids to understand that it works that way. That’s how it works. That’s how it should be, and we’ll move forward.

“Ray will be back when the time comes. It’s not something that we’re dwelling on; it’s just that we’re not worrying about it. [We're] moving forward.”

Primary backup Bernard Pierce, veteran newcomer Justin Forsett, and 2014 fourth-round pick Lorenzo Taliaferro are expected to compete for more reps while Rice serves his suspension.

 

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Extra point, kickoff adjustments among NFL’s proposed rules changes

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Extra point, kickoff adjustments among NFL’s proposed rules changes

Posted on 19 March 2014 by Luke Jones

The NFL will discuss a collection of proposed rules changes at next week’s league meetings in Orlando, Fla. with alterations to both extra points and kickoffs likely to garner the most attention.

As has been speculated and debated for the last couple months, a proposal to move the extra point from the 2 to the 25-yard line is on the table for owners to potentially approve, which would dramatically change how the game is played. The change was proposed by New England and is intended to make the try kick “a more competitive play” but will also likely lead to more two-point conversions attempts, which would still take place from the 2-yard line.

The competition committee has also proposed a vote on whether to move kickoffs up to the 40-yard line just three years after they were moved from the 30 to the 35. Of course, this change is suggested to improve player safety but will lead to even fewer kickoff returns. This idea was submitted by Washington and would be viewed as another step toward devaluing special teams.

Of course, it’s important to remember none of the proposed changes are official and must receive approval from at least 24 of the 32 owners, who will vote on the potential rules changes next week.

After much discussion, the competition committee determined that the power to penalize players for using racial or homophobic slurs is already with the officials through use of the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. This is expected to be a major point of emphasis next season that will be reiterated with players when NFL officials meet with them during training camp as they do every year.

The owners are also expected to continue discussing the possibility of expanding the playoff field for the 2015 season and could even vote next week, but there was no formal proposal submitted by the competition committee. This expansion would include one extra playoff team in each conference, which would eliminate a bye in each conference and create a total of six wild-card games over the first weekend of the postseason.

If a 14-team playoff format had been implemented over the last five years, three 10-6 teams, four 9-7 teams, and three 8-8 teams would have been the additional qualifiers for postseason play.

In all, there are 13 proposed rules changes, seven potential alterations to league by-laws, and one proposed resolution up for vote.

Here is a brief rundown of the other proposed changes on the table for next week:

- Subject personal foul penalties to instant replay review

- Eliminate overtime periods in preseason games

- Extend the uprights of the goalposts an additional five feet above the crossbar

- Place fixed cameras on all boundary lines to supplement television cameras for the instant replay system

- Allow coaches to use replay challenges on a bigger array of plays.

- Alter rules to include penalties for blockers who roll up on the side of defensive players’ legs.

- Permit the referee to consult with members of the league officiating department during replay reviews.

- Expand reviewable plays to include the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play.

- Allow the game clock to continue running after a quarterback sack as it currently does inside two minutes remaining in either half.

- Make the pass interference line at the line of scrimmage instead of one yards beyond the line of scrimmage to cut down on rubs and pick plays by the offense.

- Change the spot where defensive fouls behind the line of scrimmage are enforced.

- Increase the game-day roster from 46 to 49 players for any games not played on Sundays or Mondays other than the opening weekend of the season.

- Raise the practice squad limit from eight to 10 players.

- Allow clubs to trade players beginning 14 days before the start of the new league year.

- Eliminate the initial preseason cut from 90 to 75 players and simply require teams to trim their preseason roster from 90 to 53 at the conclusion of the preseason.

- Permit more than one player to be placed on injured reserve with the designation to return.

- Allow additional testing of eligible players leading up to the draft.

- Move final roster cuts for the regular season from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the final Saturday of the preseason when no games take place on that Friday.

- Allow teams to open or close a retractable roof at halftime of a contest.

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Wake me up when Goodell and NFL get it right with “Sideline-Gate”

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Wake me up when Goodell and NFL get it right with “Sideline-Gate”

Posted on 02 December 2013 by Drew Forrester

Our very own Thyrl Nelson beat me to it with THIS WELL-WRITTEN PIECE at WNST.net, so I’ll bow to him as being “first in” on the topic of whether or not the NFL is overreacting on “Sideline-Gate”.

Thyrl is right.

This is a major overreaction on the part of Roger Goodell and the NFL if, in fact, it turns out they take away a draft pick from the Pittsburgh Steelers as a result of Mike Tomlin stepping on the field during last Thursday’s game.

Fine? Sure. Make it $100,000 and give the money to the Orioles so they can sign a real baseball player.

Suspension?  OK.  Probably wouldn’t be that crazy to tell Tomlin to take a seat for a game or two.

Take away a draft pick?  Absolutely not.

Hell, why not just send him to jail for six months?  That’ll teach him.

The problem in Baltimore — as I see it, personally — is that this whole fiasco involves the Steelers.  As Thyrl noted, we’re all conditioned here in Charm City to hate all things Pittsburgh, so when something like what happened on Thursday takes place and it involves the Steelers, we’re foaming at the mouth before the clock strikes midnight.

If that would have been (I’m completely blanking out here…who DOES coach the Browns?) Rob Chudzinski on Thursday night, we wouldn’t give a flying-eff about it.  And you know that’s true, so please don’t tell me “yes we would!”.

I know this: If “Sideline-Gate” would have happened in yesterday’s Buffalo-Atlanta game, no one would care.  It would be a footnote on Deadspin…and that’s about it.

This was about the game being on national TV, Thursday night, Thanksgiving, Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh, etc.

My contention since the whole thing happened hasn’t changed at all.  What Tomlin did on Thursday night didn’t affect the outcome of the game.  And, while most of us (me, for sure) believe his side-step to the right was an intentional motion to try and disrupt Jacoby Jones’ path down the sideline, I also have to admit – for sure – that we really don’t know the truth.  We can only suspect.

I’ll reiterate one more time — what Mike Tomlin did was wrong.  It obviously SHOULD have been penalized on the spot.  It should result in some sort of penalty once the league has come up with all the facts as they see them.  But, that penalty should be consistent with any other penalty that comes with an infraction that DIDN’T CHANGE THE OUTCOME OF THE GAME.

Yes, Tomlin’s move on Thursday night COULD have changed the outcome, sure.  And, so could poisoning the other team’s sports drink.  What would the penalty be, let’s say, if two equipment managers for (team X) were caught on camera or hidden mic discussing poisoning the other team’s sports drink during halftime — only to have it confirmed later on that it didn’t actually happen?

There’s a huge difference between something that COULD have changed the outcome of the game and something that actually DID change the outcome.

Oh, and please don’t talk to me about gambling and the point-spread and all of that other stuff.  The league itself is only concerned with the result of the football game.  Only us degenerate gamblers are worried about the “final score” of the game.

By the way, where’s the outrage from the league and fans on the referee crew from Thursday night?  Talk about “influencing the outcome”…what were those clowns watching as Tomlin pulled his silly stunt?  No flag?  Nothing?  Useless…all of them.

The refs SHOULD have gathered after Jacoby Jones was tackled and said to themselves, “OK, let’s make sure we handle this right. The rules allow for us to grant Baltimore a touchdown.  And we can also kick Tomlin out of the game if we feel it was that egregious.”

They then could have made a decision based on the rule book.  And, if they WOULD have granted Baltimore a TD (possibly fair) and kicked Tomlin out of the game (possibly fair), the whole thing wouldn’t be an issue of this magnitude five days later.

The NFL has done a GREAT job of making the fans forget that their referee crew COMPLETELY botched the events of Thursday night.

So, Thryl, congratulations on beating me to the punch.

You’re right, this talk about taking away a draft pick from the Steelers is insanely out-of-bounds.

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Former Terp White among Hall of Famers in head injury letter to Goodell

Posted on 01 August 2013 by WNST Staff

(AP) Seventeen Pro Football Hall of Famers and Dave Robinson, who will be inducted this weekend, have signed a letter telling NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell they are concerned about medical care for former players and the league’s “continued denial of the link between repeated head impacts and permanent brain damage.”

The letter, obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday and signed by NFL greats including Tony Dorsett, Floyd Little, Leroy Kelly and Paul Krause, comes just a few days ahead of the Hall of Fame festivities in Canton, Ohio.

The league is being sued by about 4,200 players who say they suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions, which they believe stem from on-field concussions. Ten of the letter’s signees are plaintiffs in the ongoing legal fight: Dorsett, Kelly, Krause, Lem Barney, Chris Doleman, Mel Renfro, Tommy McDonald, Randy White, Rayfield Wright and Joe DeLamielleure.

Goodell and the NFL insist that player safety has always been a top priority, and league spokesman Greg Aiello told the AP in an email Wednesday night that the players don’t have their facts right.

“We have not seen the letter, but we make no such denial regarding concussions,” Aiello said. “In fact, our concussion poster for players in every locker room, created in conjunction with the CDC a few years ago, states: `Repetitive brain injury, when not managed promptly and properly, may cause permanent damage to your brain.’”

In the concussion legal dispute, a federal judge in Philadelphia has ordered the two sides into mediation over how the complaints will be litigated — in court or in arbitration. U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody asked for a progress report by Sept. 3 and put a gag order on the lawyers involved.

Clearly, there was no silencing of the Hall of Famers, many of whom plan to be in Canton for the 50th anniversary of the football shrine.

“Legions of former players suffer short-term memory loss and other neurological issues, and many cannot even remember taking part in some of the NFL’s greatest moments,” they wrote to Goodell. “In the meantime, the NFL publicly touts the `benefits’ it provides to former players with brain injuries, while denying these players necessary medical monitoring, long-term care, and security.

“No one wants to see another generation of players suffer this fate. As former players, we refuse to stand by quietly and watch men who unknowingly sacrificed their health and future to the NFL go without the care they desperately need.

“Mr. Goodell, we ask you, as the commissioner of the league, to provide the security and care all former players and their families deserve.”

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Schedule-Gate 2013: Ravens Win…Fans Whine

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Schedule-Gate 2013: Ravens Win…Fans Whine

Posted on 25 March 2013 by Thyrl Nelson

Lets’ face it, when it comes to generating bad PR, the Orioles haven’t needed any help for a long time; but whether deserved or not, with a helping hand from NBC, Steve Bisciotti, the Ravens and Roger Goodell, the O’s are unfairly taking the brunt of the criticism for the fallout from Schedule-Gate 2013.

It’s a topic that’s been discussed ad nauseum for the better part of the last couple of weeks, and now that it’s been resolved (or at least decided) I’m going to take one last lick at this dead horse before we put it to bed…until the beginning of September that is, when we’re sure to dig it back up and beat it to death all over again.

 

For now, it’s time for Ravens fans to let go of the “woe is us” and realize that this couldn’t have worked out any better for the team.

 

In the Harbaugh era, and to some degree before it, there are two giant hammers that the Ravens have wielded consistently. The Ravens have been near impossible to beat at home, and are undefeated when they’ve had extra rest or opportunity to prepare for an opponent. There’s no need to swing both of those hammers at the same time, and all Schedule-Gate has done is prevented the Ravens from having to.

 

I get that fans want to celebrate the team’s Super Bowl win with the whole world watching; but what’s best for the team? It’s kind of laughable that those who consider themselves fans of the Ravens suddenly seem to be more interested in having center stage for themselves for one night in September, than they are in giving the Ravens their best opportunity at winning enough games to possibly make another Super Bowl run.

 

The Harbaugh era Ravens are 5-0 in opening games and 14-0 when having 10 or more days to prepare for an opponent (including openers). It’s probably also worth mentioning that 4 of those 5 opening game wins have been at home (so much for the “NFL is out to get us” angle). Now that it’s decided that the Ravens will open on the road, there are only 3 games that should be up for consideration for the NFL’s showcase. Not coincidentally, those games happen to be the Ravens 3 toughest looking road games as well (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or Denver). Since there’s no avoiding having to play those games anyway, doing it in the first week of the season is ideal.

 

It’s better to get Peyton Manning and Wes Welker in the first game of the year, when they’re still trying to figure one another out, and probably more ideal to get in and out of Denver before the frost settles in. While it by no means insures the Ravens will win; it seems to give them their best chance to win. In fact, if we can get over our hurt feelings for long enough to think about the good of the team, ideally the Ravens would open in Denver, and then on the back of 10 days rest head to either Pittsburgh or Cincinnati, and then return to Baltimore for the home opener.

 

It’s also worth mentioning that opening on Thursday night has not always precluded teams from having to play another Thursday game in the same season. Given that the Ravens are defending Super Bowl champions, it would seem likely that they’ll get their maximum 5 prime time games, and that there’s a real possibility that they’ll have another Thursday game. Opening on Thursday, on the road would not only prevent the Ravens from having to be ready for Thursday night on 3 days rest, but would also virtually insure that if they did get a 2nd Thursday game it would be in Baltimore, with another (likely tough) opponent having to prepare and travel on short rest.

 

So if we’re keeping score at home, the NFL played the role of bully on behalf of NBC, and tried to impose themselves on the Orioles. The Orioles held their ground and as a result are stuck with a September 5th game that is sure to be a dog attendance-wise because it’s going up against the Ravens opener. The Ravens by opening on the road against a tough opponent will have a likely better chance to win a tough road game than they would otherwise, and may still get a Thursday home game with significant, inherent advantages built in. Someone remind me again why everyone is so mad at the Orioles over this. Oh yeah…it’s because we miss out on the chance to scream “look at us” to the football world while pounding our chests, right?

 

Sign me up, 10 times out of 10, for the schedule formula that gives the Ravens the best shot at being a playoff team, or a division winner, or a home playoff game host, or a bye week possessor. Frankly I’m shocked that Ravens fans are having such trouble grasping this one. I thought better of most of you.

 

Lastly, if the locker room somehow sees this as a slight, as fans clearly have, then it facilitates the mentality that has seemed to serve them so well lately. It’s Baltimore against the world as usual. If that works, so be it. But the Ravens are the winners in this mess; it’s just that some folks’ sensitivity won’t allow them to see it.

 

 

 

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Goodell staying optimistic over Ravens-Orioles compromise

Posted on 20 March 2013 by Luke Jones

As WNST.net’s Glenn Clark and Drew Forrester have offered their insight into the scheduling conflict jeopardizing the site of the Ravens’ season-opening game on Sept. 5, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell remained optimistic on Thursday that they would be able to work out a compromise with the Orioles.

Goodell said on the final day of the league meetings in Arizona that he hasn’t spoken to Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig this week, but the sides continue to work toward a solution. The commissioner went out of his way to take a soft approach in discussing the Orioles’ position after many have accused the league of bullying Baltimore’s baseball team.

“People are working toward trying to find a solution that will work for everybody,” Goodell said. “We recognize that this wasn’t something that baseball or the Orioles asked for. They’ve been very cooperative in trying
to work out a solution.”

The commissioner once again mentioned the idea of the Orioles playing an afternoon game — shifting their scheduled start time of 7:05 p.m. — that would leave enough time for the Ravens to kick off at M&T Bank Stadium later that evening, but many have suggested the only realistic possibility would be a day-night doubleheader later that weekend since it’s highly unlikely MLB, the players association, and the Chicago White Sox would all approve moving the Thursday game to earlier in the day. Both the Orioles and White Sox finish series in other cities the night before and will likely be arriving in Baltimore well after midnight on the morning of Sept. 5.

The league meetings wrapped up on Wednesday, but it’s clear the NFL wants a resolution sooner rather than later so it can announce the teams involved and the location of its season-opening game televised on NBC. It’s all but certain that the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens will be playing in the game, but whether the contest is played in Baltimore remains up in the air.

“We’re both trying to compromise to say, ‘How can we do this so the fans of Baltimore can have a really special day with an Orioles game in the afternoon and a Ravens celebration at night for their Super Bowl championship?’” Goodell said. “I’m hopeful that that will happen.”

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Please Baltimore – don’t let the NFL and Ravens turn you on the Orioles

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Please Baltimore – don’t let the NFL and Ravens turn you on the Orioles

Posted on 20 March 2013 by Drew Forrester

The longer “Opener-Gate” drags on, the more disappointed I am in the Ravens.

I expect the NFL to show their true colors and expose themselves as the greedy stuffed suits that they are, but I’m shocked that Steve Bisciotti and the Ravens have allowed the league to play them like they have this week.

My first reaction to the NFL trying to force the Orioles to move their September 5th home game vs. the White Sox is RIGHT HERE and nothing has changed since I authored that piece on Monday.  If anything, I’m even more convinced that the NFL has created this mess nearly all on their own and, even more bothersome, they’ve tried to get the Ravens to do their dirty work by having the football team put pressure on the baseball team to “do the right thing”.

I can’t afford the Napa Valley bottle of Silver Oak the way Roger Goodell can, but that doesn’t mean I’m stupid or naive to what’s really going on here.

This saga over the Ravens opening game in September is all about the NFL and NBC wanting to maximize the amount of money they make on the game.

That’s it.  Nothing else is an issue.  It has nothing to do with the Jewish community in Baltimore, it has nothing to do with the baseball team having a game here and it has nothing to do with the football fans in town “deserving” to have the season opener played in the stadium occupied by the defending Super Bowl champions.

Those are all elements of an argument conjured up by the NFL to take the spotlight off of one simple fact:  By playing the game on Wednesday night in Baltimore – or Tuesday night, even – they stand to generate less money in TV revenue from NBC.

The specifics of how the rates vs. ratings formula are discreet, naturally, but NBC goes out and sells the NFL product based on “expected ratings” and those numbers are derived from gobs and gobs of data they’ve accumulated over the years.  They then lean on the NFL to give them the best possible TV schedule (dates, opponents, etc.) so they can sit in front of the folks at Budweiser and Bridgestone and Toyota and and Wranger and say, “Here are the 20 NBC games in 2013…you’ll be paying us $7.3 million for two 30-second ads in those games and here are the ratings you can expect, starting with that THURSDAY NIGHT season opener that has turned into a rating’s bonanza.”  They’ll then explain that clients are expected to fork over $233,000 (a made-up number) for a 30-second spot in that game because “the data” shows that 18.3 million people watch a Thursday night affair as compared to 14.4 million on a Sunday evening.  In other words, NBC charges $184,000 for a Sunday night commercial but for that special season opening Thursday night contest, they can bilk the advertisers out of $233,000.

That’s good business if you can get it.

But you can’t get that “Thursday night rate” if the game is played on Wednesday night.  Why?  Because that data shows – as most recently as last season when the Giants hosted the opener on a Wednesday evening – that fewer people are tuned in on Wednesday evenings.  So, instead of $233,000 for a commercial, the Wednesday rate is more like $143,000.

And then NBC gets irritated that the NFL is circumventing the contract between the two and, obviously, hurting their ability to generate advertising revenue (which, of course, pays the bill that the NFL sends them) based on the Thursday night game they THOUGHT they were going to have which turned into a Wednesday night affair.

In summary, NBC might only generate $74.3 million in NFL-related revenue this season instead of $73.1 million.  Boy, I wonder which executives will have to take out a second mortgage because of that loss?

All because that petty baseball team in Baltimore wouldn’t just give up their Thursday night home game, right?

Well, that’s what the NFL wants you to believe.  And, I bet, it’s what the Ravens are going to continue to want you to believe as well.  That’s why Steve Bisciotti’s quote from Monday bothered me so much.  You know, the one that ended with him saying, “The Orioles could get this done if they wanted to get it done.”

Wrong, Steve.

You had the sentence right, just had the villains incorrectly portrayed.

“The NFL could get this done if they wanted to get it done.”

There, Mr. B., I fixed that for ya.

The league could just move the game to Wednesday or Tuesday, even, and that would be that.

Oh, and remember the NFL has already tried to use the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, as the “perfect excuse” for not wanting to play on Wednesday in Baltimore.  That theory was debunked in about 8 minutes by folks with the internet – and a brain – who quickly figured out the NFL has never before cared about any Jewish holiday when it comes to matters of scheduling.

No, folks, the game CAN be played on Tuesday or Wednesday in Baltimore and nothing about that would be wrong.

Same game, same hoopla, same chance for the fans to “revel with their championship team”.  If the game gets played on Tuesday or Wednesday in Baltimore, NOTHING at all changes about the celebration and/or the functional aspects of putting on a mammoth event such as the NFL season opener.

Nothing changes.

Except the NFL will hear some squawking from NBC, who won’t be able to get their desired “Thursday night rate” for a Tuesday or Wednesday broadcast.

It’s just greed, people.

That’s all it is.

And there’s also been some smarmy, smart-assness thrown in for good measure by the NFL and Roger Goodell.  I’m hearing he sent a message to the Orioles through a baseball executive that didn’t sit well with the folks at Camden Yards.  It went something like this:  ”You remind the Orioles that no matter what happens here, they’re going to be embarrassed.  If they don’t change the game and the Ravens are forced to go on the road, they stand to receive considerable backlash from the community.  And if they do play that home game on Thursday night and the Ravens play at 7pm on the road somewhere – on that Thursday night – they’ll have no one in the stands in Baltimore to watch the baseball game.”

Talk about bush-league, huh?

That’s your football Commissioner, playing hard-ball, because HE entered into a TV contract and HE promised the network they’d have a Thursday night game to open the season and HE just assumes everyone is going part the seas for him when he says, “get out of our way.”

There’s a solution to all of this and none of it involves the Orioles or White Sox, neither of whom should be forced to alter their September schedule for a football game.

Play the game in Baltimore on Tuesday or Wednesday.  Done deal.

In the meantime, I can’t finish this by reiterating how disappointing it is to see the Ravens adhere to the gang-up-on-the-Orioles mentality that the NFL kick-started on Monday.

This. Is. Not. The. Orioles. Problem.

Period, full stop.

I’m not much for predictions, mind you, but here’s one you can file away for kicks and giggles: There’s a chance the NFL will do the dumb thing and send the Ravens on the road to start the season.  The Orioles, of course, will get hammered for that by the people in town who aren’t sophisticated enough to see how this master plan has been drawn up by the NFL.  The Birds will get unfair criticism and lots of “those clowns just don’t get it” commentary from now until the football season begins.  Well – IF that happens — IF that happens — don’t be surprised if sometime in mid August the Orioles announce they have decided to move the Thursday, September 5th start date to 3:05 pm.  They’ll reach out to the White Sox and explain – like the NFL said way back in March – that “no one is going to come to the baseball game on September 5th if the Orioles are playing at the same time as the Ravens.”  They’ll slide the White Sox a $40,000 check for being nice, they’ll play the game at 3:05 pm, and then make it a point to remind their fans how “PR minded” they’re being by allowing them to watch baseball and then get home in time to watch their beloved Ravens kick off the season in (insert city here).

Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

Yes, it would.

Would it also be justified?

Yes, maybe it would.

 

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NFL season-opening game in Baltimore in jeopardy?

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NFL season-opening game in Baltimore in jeopardy?

Posted on 18 March 2013 by Luke Jones

With the NFL congregating in Arizona this week for its annual league meetings, troubling news surfaced Monday morning about the season-opening game presumed to be hosted in Baltimore this September.

As Super Bowl XLVII champions, the Ravens would be in line to host the first game of the 2013 season as has become the tradition in recent NFL seasons, but a scheduling conflict with the Orioles on Sept. 5 is putting that in jeopardy. With the Orioles scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox that night in the opener of a four-game series at Camden Yards, the Ravens have been unable to come to an agreement to move the time of that game and could be faced with the prospects of opening the season on the road.

Via their official Twitter account, the Ravens said a league source labeled Baltimore opening on the road as the “least desirable” possibility, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a Monday press conference that he’s spoken twice to MLB commissioner Bud Selig in attempts to resolve the issue. The league does not want to move the season-opening game to Wednesday, Sept. 4 due to the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

Goodell and the league is proposing that the Orioles play earlier in the day on Thursday and would move the start time for the Ravens to as late as 9 p.m. that evening in hopes of having a successful doubleheader for the city. The commissioner did not present any other day as being an option for the NFL’s season opener, confirming what many Ravens fans fear if a compromise cannot be reached.

“Unfortunately the only option is to take the Ravens on the road,” Goodell said. “We think that’s wrong for Ravens fans.”

Shifting the Orioles’ scheduled Thursday evening game with the White Sox to that afternoon would still create problems due to parking and the possibility of extra innings or a rain delay. The Orioles would also likely object to playing a day game on Thursday after traveling back to Baltimore from a game in Cleveland the previous night.

With the Orioles and White Sox scheduled for a four-game set that weekend, a day-night doubleheader on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday would also be a solution to open that Thursday night for the Ravens.

However, moving the time of the game by more than 30 minutes — let alone scheduling a doubleheader — is subject to approval by Major League Baseball, the players’ union, and the White Sox, according to The Sun.

Regardless of the circumstances or who’s ultimately to blame — there are compelling arguments for all parties involved — this situation needs to be worked out. The city of Baltimore deserves to be showcased in the NFL’s season-opening game, which has become a major event in recent years as a way to celebrate the previous season’s Super Bowl championship team.

Unfortunatley, this isn’t the first time in which the Ravens have found themselves in this kind of a position as the league elected not to schedule the Super Bowl XXXV champions with a Monday night game — the hoopla of the Thursday night opener hadn’t been created yet — to open the 2001 season even though the previous five Super Bowl winners had received the privilege.

In that case, there was no conflict with the Orioles, who were off on the night of Sept. 10, 2001, as the league chose to open the season in a matchup between the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants.

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