Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Where was Goodell when the tape arrived? Augusta, of course

Masters Golf

Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League, watches the first round of the Masters golf tournament, Thursday, April 10, 2014, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


The NFL has some problems at the moment.

But up near the top of the pile is the simple symbolism of where Roger Goodell was when he should have been at the office going through the mail.

As noted by Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the day the tape of Ray Rice punching his wife in the face was reportedly delivered to the NFL offices, Goodell was at The Masters, wearing his green jacket that confirms his status as a member at the exclusive Augusta National Golf Club.

Golf is fun. Azaleas are pretty. Pimento cheese sandwiches taste good.

But at the very moment when the organization Goodell runs so powerfully should have been aware of something so horrible, he was surrounded by people just like him.

Rich. Powerful. And insulated from practically anyone who might look or think differently.

Augusta’s track record of exclusion is well-documented and long-standing and only really pertinent as it applies to the bigger picture of the NFL’s blind spot to the reality of domestic violence.

The NFL knew Ray Rice dragged his unconscious wife out of an elevator. But without seeing it, the reality that he had to have done something to render her unconscious never occurred to them to be so jarring, so horrific, so repugnant that it merited more than a two-game suspension.

If the people you surround yourself with are the rich and the powerful and the insulated, you tend to view the world through a rich and powerful and insulated prism.

You can’t imagine the visceral reaction that America would have to a man punching the mother of his children and soon-to-be wife in the face.

You can’t imagine what a terrible idea it was to ask a victim of abuse to come to the office and testify in front of the man who abused her, his employers, and their superiors.

You wouldn’t stop to think that getting another perspective on this might help, that any other perspective other than the one you already have matters.

You wouldn’t have any way of knowing how people would react, because you have sequestered yourself among your peers.

You wouldn’t have any idea.

And that not knowing is the problem the NFL is struggling with right now — one that might be far more difficult to solve than scraping the pimento cheese off your shoes.