Roger Goodell and Our Faltering Patriotism

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked if NFL players were told to commit to standing during the national anthem, he answered: "We did not ask for that." However, he did not follow up by telling the press what the NFL did ask for. Civility? Patriotism? Respect for the fan base? Loving one’s neighbor as oneself? Loving the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength? Goodell, it seems, thrives on pap and evasiveness. Perhaps he is emblematic of a mindset in American public life, in politics as well as big business, namely the making of vapid circumlocutions. Could it be that Americans are becoming exceedingly tired of the public vapidity of our politicians and other public figures? Could that be an element in the election of and appreciation for “The Donald?”

Previously, the Associated Press reported that 11 owners and more than a dozen players convened, and one of the topics of conversation was enhancing the players' platforms for speaking out on social issues. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said the session was "constructive.” On another player-related topic, Goodell also was asked about the prevalence of the degenerative brain disease CTE in NFL players. The issue of brain damage now forms the basis of a lawsuit against the league by the family of Aaron Hernandez, a former pro player convicted for murder who ultimately committed suicide in prison. He replied, "I think there's been a great deal of focus on this issue of brain trauma," [but] "we'll let the lawyers handle that and deal with it."  However, he was not asked if there were any discernible connection between degenerative brain disease and refusal to stand for the singing of the National Anthem.

Peter King, writing for Sports Illustrated, believes the League is trying to negotiate for and put in place a kind of community engagement project for players. These projects might try to “highlight and sponsor work on civil rights causes in NFL communities. They would be promoting better police-community relations, or working on reduced sentencing and work-release employment programs.” In short, the NFL is considering implementing some social justice programs to placate its players who are insisting that there is considerable, intractable injustice towards the black community by the police and by the racist mindset of the justice system. Like former President Barack Obama, many of the players may believe that racism is almost part of white DNA. Since the racist DNA has not been mapped by the Human Genome Project, it may be a little difficult to prove this assumption, so the next best thing is to politicize the idea as if it were true, and then extort tens or hundreds of millions of dollars from the NFL to promote that falsehood.

In the progressive world, these anti-social players are actually johnny-come-latelies to the progressive anti-American program. Disrespect for the flag and for the nation was and is standard fare. For example, in the New York Public High Schools where this writer taught for 21 years, the National Anthem was only played or sung at graduation (almost no one knew the words). In the 1990s, I taught at one high school where the only song of allegiance played or sung was “Lift Up Your Heart and Sing” (referred to as the Black National Anthem). In another school that was more racially diverse, the students were asked to rise and say the Pledge each morning (after 9/11 -- prior to that date the Pledge had not been recited since 1966, the height of the Vietnam War protests). Ninth graders would almost all rise to say the Pledge. About half the tenth graders would stand; then, two or three in each homeroom of 11th graders; and finally, 0–1 of the seniors. Not one patriotic song like “God Bless America,” “America The Beautiful,” or “My Country Tis of Thee” was ever sung at any assembly at any time in over 20 years! Again, the National Anthem was only sung (listened to) at the graduation ceremonies.

Roger Goodell is only the most recent of gutless wonders in a long line of cave-ins to the progressive, anti-American agenda. He is a classic empty suit. He's another pretty face. He's as vapid as a bottle of formaldehyde. When I was younger, before the anti-American face of the Democrat Party fully revealed itself (undoubtedly it was apparent to those with eyes to see), the Goodell type was already appearing on the public’s screen -- vapid, self-seeking, but attractive by reason of good looks and seeming amiability (however, it is an amiability masking intense self-absorption). Moving through the years, the "Goodell types" became identified in my mind not only with vapidity but with the American thralldom with mediocrity that is the essence of our mores. We have some high achievers with incredible drive. We have creative souls who break new ground in every field of endeavor, and there are some learned ones with a high bar for moral and intellectual achievement. However, the mass culture becomes increasingly mediocre with every passing year and decade. The mediocrity is intensifying. A depressing sameness and couldn't-care-less quality is moving like glacial moraine throughout the culture.

The mediocre disguised as political correctness and so-called "social justice" keeps making headway against common sense and a true valuation of the moral and just. “Goodelism” might be a good name for the acceleration and spreading of the mediocre. A Goodellian might be called a "loser," but the essence of mediocrity is that it is too tasteless and moribund to either win or lose. It's an empty suit even when it's full.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked if NFL players were told to commit to standing during the national anthem, he answered: "We did not ask for that." However, he did not follow up by telling the press what the NFL did ask for. Civility? Patriotism? Respect for the fan base? Loving one’s neighbor as oneself? Loving the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength? Goodell, it seems, thrives on pap and evasiveness. Perhaps he is emblematic of a mindset in American public life, in politics as well as big business, namely the making of vapid circumlocutions. Could it be that Americans are becoming exceedingly tired of the public vapidity of our politicians and other public figures? Could that be an element in the election of and appreciation for “The Donald?”

Previously, the Associated Press reported that 11 owners and more than a dozen players convened, and one of the topics of conversation was enhancing the players' platforms for speaking out on social issues. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said the session was "constructive.” On another player-related topic, Goodell also was asked about the prevalence of the degenerative brain disease CTE in NFL players. The issue of brain damage now forms the basis of a lawsuit against the league by the family of Aaron Hernandez, a former pro player convicted for murder who ultimately committed suicide in prison. He replied, "I think there's been a great deal of focus on this issue of brain trauma," [but] "we'll let the lawyers handle that and deal with it."  However, he was not asked if there were any discernible connection between degenerative brain disease and refusal to stand for the singing of the National Anthem.

Peter King, writing for Sports Illustrated, believes the League is trying to negotiate for and put in place a kind of community engagement project for players. These projects might try to “highlight and sponsor work on civil rights causes in NFL communities. They would be promoting better police-community relations, or working on reduced sentencing and work-release employment programs.” In short, the NFL is considering implementing some social justice programs to placate its players who are insisting that there is considerable, intractable injustice towards the black community by the police and by the racist mindset of the justice system. Like former President Barack Obama, many of the players may believe that racism is almost part of white DNA. Since the racist DNA has not been mapped by the Human Genome Project, it may be a little difficult to prove this assumption, so the next best thing is to politicize the idea as if it were true, and then extort tens or hundreds of millions of dollars from the NFL to promote that falsehood.

In the progressive world, these anti-social players are actually johnny-come-latelies to the progressive anti-American program. Disrespect for the flag and for the nation was and is standard fare. For example, in the New York Public High Schools where this writer taught for 21 years, the National Anthem was only played or sung at graduation (almost no one knew the words). In the 1990s, I taught at one high school where the only song of allegiance played or sung was “Lift Up Your Heart and Sing” (referred to as the Black National Anthem). In another school that was more racially diverse, the students were asked to rise and say the Pledge each morning (after 9/11 -- prior to that date the Pledge had not been recited since 1966, the height of the Vietnam War protests). Ninth graders would almost all rise to say the Pledge. About half the tenth graders would stand; then, two or three in each homeroom of 11th graders; and finally, 0–1 of the seniors. Not one patriotic song like “God Bless America,” “America The Beautiful,” or “My Country Tis of Thee” was ever sung at any assembly at any time in over 20 years! Again, the National Anthem was only sung (listened to) at the graduation ceremonies.

Roger Goodell is only the most recent of gutless wonders in a long line of cave-ins to the progressive, anti-American agenda. He is a classic empty suit. He's another pretty face. He's as vapid as a bottle of formaldehyde. When I was younger, before the anti-American face of the Democrat Party fully revealed itself (undoubtedly it was apparent to those with eyes to see), the Goodell type was already appearing on the public’s screen -- vapid, self-seeking, but attractive by reason of good looks and seeming amiability (however, it is an amiability masking intense self-absorption). Moving through the years, the "Goodell types" became identified in my mind not only with vapidity but with the American thralldom with mediocrity that is the essence of our mores. We have some high achievers with incredible drive. We have creative souls who break new ground in every field of endeavor, and there are some learned ones with a high bar for moral and intellectual achievement. However, the mass culture becomes increasingly mediocre with every passing year and decade. The mediocrity is intensifying. A depressing sameness and couldn't-care-less quality is moving like glacial moraine throughout the culture.

The mediocre disguised as political correctness and so-called "social justice" keeps making headway against common sense and a true valuation of the moral and just. “Goodelism” might be a good name for the acceleration and spreading of the mediocre. A Goodellian might be called a "loser," but the essence of mediocrity is that it is too tasteless and moribund to either win or lose. It's an empty suit even when it's full.