Exhibit, Eh? Cowboys QB coach Wade Wilson has, unconscionably, been made an example. Of what, exactly, is he an example?
In NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s five-game suspension and $100,000 fine of Cowboys assistant coach Wade Wilson, the inherent weaknesses of autocratic rule have finally been made manifest.
Throughout this off season of gridiron discontent, both pundits and public have hailed Roger the Stodger’s get-tough approach to miscreants like Adam Jones and Chris Henry. Few seem to have expressed discomfort with Mr. Goodell’s judge/jury/appellate court/executioner stance. And now the other shoe has dropped.
To recap the story, Wilson obtained human growth hormone for personal use from an internet pharmacy while an assistant with the Bears. Whether he sought it to improve his quality of life in dealing with diabetes, as he asserts, or just wanted to stay chiseled into old age like Sly Stallone is open for debate. And there a number of applicable and debatable issues regarding how the NFL addresses substance abuse versus performance enhancers, the latter of which is in a zero-tolerance category.
The crux of the matter is that in Goodell’s iron-fisted rush to purge the league of a disreputable image â€“ an image vastly overblown by the media, by the way â€“ he has meted out a punishment on Wilson that is grossly disproportionate to the crime.
Yes, this is a Cowboys blog and the penalty affects a Cowboys coach, but there’s no homerism here. (The Boys’ early season challenges hinge to an exponentially greater degree on people named Newman, Ellis and Glenn.) This is about a long-tenured, stand-up NFL player and coach who at worst made a big bonehead mistake.
Goodell likely feels considerable pressure to make examples of those who are currently pushing the edges of the league’s policies, and perhaps felt even greater impetus to make an example of someone in a position of authority. Instead, he has pushed a solid citizen under the NFL public relations bus and provided a stark example of just how unforgiving unilateral power can be.