Oakland Raiders: Goodell A Gutless Hypocrite, Jones A Bush League Punk


It’s apparently open season on Oakland Raiders players in the NFL. At least, it is thanks to the actions – or rather, the inaction – of Commissioner Roger Goodell and the game’s officiating crew. It seems that the self-proclaimed “Enforcer,” after getting his backside handed to him in federal court over the Deflategate fiasco, has suddenly and inexplicably lost his taste for – well – enforcing the rules of the league.

And thanks to the seemingly neutered Goodell and his milquetoast response to a very clear act of violence that warranted a suspension, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback and noted cheap shot artist Adam Jones, is showing what a classless punk he really is – though if you’ve followed his troubled career that is littered with arrests and belligerent behavior, that last fact comes as no real surprise.

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During the second quarter of Oakland’s game with Cincinnati, Amari Cooper found himself blocking downfield on a long run by running back Jamize Olawale. At the end of the run, Jones wrestled Cooper to the ground, ripped his helmet off of him, and then slammed the rookie’s head into it.

It was a shocking act of violence and despite the fact that not one, not two, but three officials were standing right there watching it, Jones was not ejected from the game.

Jones drew a 15 yard penalty for his gutless attack on Cooper – a penalty which was then offset thanks to penalties on Oakland players who came to the rookie’s defense. So the end result of Jones slamming Cooper’s head into his helmet by the game officials was a resounding, “eh, no big deal.”

The league however, reviewed the incident and rather than suspending Jones – as they should have done – they issued the troubled cornerback $35,000. Jones has already stated that he will be appealing the fine. In an interview, Jones – showing he is as utterly clueless as he is classless – said:

"“Yeah, I got fined. $35K. Way too much for a football play. I’ll appeal. The story is magnified because it’s me. I can’t promise it won’t happen again. I’m an emotional player.”"

Given that Jones very clearly does not get it, let’s help him out. A “football play” is coming in too high and accidentally going helmet to helmet with another player. A “football play” is hitting the quarterback a second too late. A “football play” is hitting somebody just after they’d stepped out of bounds. They’re bang bang plays that players can’t really avoid. They happen.

Aug 14, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones (24) against the New York Giants in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

But a “football play” is not wrestling another player to the ground, ripping his helmet off, and smashing his head into it. That is an absolutely gutless, bush league play. But then, that’s the sort of thing that we’ve come to expect from Pacman Jones, isn’t it?

And let’s not overlook the fact that Goodell’s absolutely gutless response to Jones’ assault on Cooper has only emboldened him. His statement that he can’t promise it won’t happen again is a clear shot across Goodell’s bow. He’s all but daring Goodell to suspend him. And Goodell’s response is to tuck his tail between his legs and slink away.

But let’s ask a question that seems rather relevant at this juncture – what would Goodell’s response have been had Jones assaulted say, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or Russell Wilson in the same way he attacked Cooper? Dollars to donuts, Jones would be cooling his heels for a couple of games. But because it’s the Raiders, Goodell’s response is much like the game officials who oversaw the assault – “eh, no big deal.”

Not only is Goodell’s response to the situation entirely pathetic, it is also incredibly hypocritical. But then, that’s also a pattern of behavior we’ve come to expect from the ol’ Commish, isn’t it? While some people draw comparisons between Jones’ non-suspension and Brady’s would-be suspension, the far better, and more relevant comparison, is with Buffalo Bills linebacker IK Enemkpali.

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If you recall, Enemkpali was hit with a four game suspension for busting New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith in the mouth. The assault left Smith with a busted jaw and Enemkpali without a team – until Rex Ryan swooped in and snatched him up anyway.

In announcing Enemkpali’s suspension, the league offices cited his violation of the league’s personal conduct policy – a policy that covers acts of violence both on the field and off. Goodell didn’t think too long or too hard about it before deciding that Enemkpali violated the policy and that a suspension was warranted for his act of violence.

So why didn’t Jones get hit with a suspension? Why was he only fined?

You may argue that because Cooper was not injured, Jones did not deserve a suspension. It’s an understandable – but ultimately wrong – conclusion to draw. Jones’ actions were an attempt to injure another player. Perhaps it wasn’t as blatantly vicious as a right hook to the jaw, but there is no other reasonable expectation for slamming somebody’s head into a hard NFL helmet than to cause physical harm – it certainly wasn’t to welcome Cooper into the league and invite him over for a Sunday evening barbecue.

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  • Jones may not have been as “vicious” as Enemkpali when attacking a fellow player, but the intent was the same – to cause harm. Perhaps because Cooper was not injured, the suspension should have been less than Enemkplai’s since Smith is out for an extended period of time, but a deliberate act of violence like that warrants a suspension.

    And Goodell didn’t have the stones – or perhaps because it’s the Raiders, the care – to pull the trigger.

    Goodell’s lack of action on Jones, and the issuing of a fine also runs counter to what Goodell said just days after getting his butt kicked in court by Brady. In an interview on the Mike & Mike Show, Goodell himself defended his use of suspensions as a disciplinary tactic, stating that “fines don’t work.” Said Goodell:

    "“That’s why we want to make sure that in our decisions there are competitive consequences. Fines don’t work. Suspensions are important in those circumstances. Just as when we have competitive violations with teams, we just don’t fine, we actually normally focus in on draft choices or some other type of competitive discipline so that you can avoid this behavior going forward, you can prevent this behavior going forward.”"

    Golly gee whiz, given Goodell’s own words – out of his own mouth – it sort of sounds like he’s a giant, flaming hypocrite, doesn’t it?

    Goodell, who wants to be seen as being all about player safety is incredibly selective when it comes to actually – you know – doing something about player safety. Though Cooper was not hurt on the play, he very well could have been. He could have been hurt seriously.

    And Goodell’s failure to take a stand is about as disgusting and hypocritical as Jones is for not only not apologizing, but for doubling down on his bush league tactics.

    For Cooper’s part, he showed remarkable maturity on the field by walking away from the situation, and showed that remarkable maturity again by taking the high road off of the field saying only, “It’s a physical game, you kind of expect it.”

    It’s kind of sad to think that the 56 year old Goodell and the 31 year old Jones both could learn something about having some class, some maturity, and being a good, decent human being from this 21 year old kid.

    But, such is the state of the NFL under “The Enforcer.”

    Next: Raiders Notes & Observations From Week One