Posted: 2017-12-08 00:34
And yet, in looking over case after case, it is clear that they are continuing to just make it up as they go along. The fact that just making it up has for once brought them down on the side of the accuser and not the accused doesn’t make it any better. When Molly Brown refused to cooperate with NFL investigators—for very good reasons—the league fed reporters stories about how it had discovered that domestic violence was complicated and difficult to adjudicate. Its officials openly talked to Jane McManus about ignoring the six-game rule, and ESPN reported these numbers at the time:
But the six-game suspension doesn’t address why the NFL was able to throw the book at Ezekiel Elliott, at least unless it gets reduced on appeal: They had a highly cooperative witness, which seemed to matter more than in previous cases when they held piles of evidence and still doled out measly suspensions. Is what happened to Tiffany Thompson six times worse than what happened to Molly Brown ? Three times as bad as what happened to Janay Rice ? There is no way to escape the message sent here to victims. Play our game and we’ll throw the book at a player ignore us and we’ll blame you.
Is there a counterargument to all this? Yes. The NFL is an employer and it can do whatever it damn well wants with it employees, as long as it stays within the lines of the relevant law and collectively-bargained agreements with the players’ union. It was the NFL owners and Goodell, though, who set themselves up for scrutiny by insisting , over and over, they would get this right, bringing in the best and most qualified independent experts and building clear, consistent standards and fair, transparent processes.
This dynamic can be seen playing out in the letter that the NFL sent to Elliott explaining his punishment, a league press call about the suspension, and the usual anonymous sources feeding NFL beat writers. For example, the league memo at no point discusses an affidavit signed by a witness, Ayrin Mason, in which she said Thompson, Elliott’s ex-girlfriend, asked her to lie and say she saw Elliott attack her. Mason also gave prosecutors text messages, which later were released under Ohio’s public records law, which could be seen as supporting her statement.
Several times in the letter and in the press conference, the NFL honchos emphasized how much evidence they had and that Thompson cooperated. But I can’t escape the nagging question of what would have happened if she hadn’t. Would they have blamed her, as they did with Molly Brown and Nicole Holder and Janay Rice? If there is an eerie repetition to all this, it’s that whoever doesn’t cooperate gets the NFL’s scorn—it’s just this time that person is the player himself, which perhaps explains why the NFL took a shot at the players’ union, blaming them for the delay in their announcement of Elliott’s punishment.
It will always be this way. Always. Every goddamn year, I’m gonna have to hear about how Cam has to change his style of play, or why Cam can’t take winning in stride, or why Cam shouldn’t have worn those seersucker shorts to the podium. There will always be a section of this fanbase that roots for Cam reluctantly, like they’re biting their tongues at the Thanksgiving dinner table. And all that all subdued hostility stems directly from Richardson, a sullen pig who made his money fattening up Americans and strong-arming anyone who asked him to pay them fairly. I’ll never get over this old story he told, with gushing pride , to Charlie Rose:
Finally, most damningly, this market does not give a shit about this team. I remember going to Panthers games as a kid. This was when the team was still in its infancy, but had some promise—a supposedly pro-footbal- starved market would have been all about this team, right? My dad had easy access to a friend’s PSLs so we caught between 7-9 home games a year for probably the first decade of the team’s existence. There was an old man who sat behind us who would listen to the NASCAR races on his walkman radio and would call out to those in our section who was winning. Routinely, a report that either Earnhardt was in a good position would invoke louder cheers than anything the Panthers would do. That’s Carolina Panthers football for you. If I had to guess, I’d say this team sits roughly 65th place in-market behind the major UNC/Duke/NC State college teams, NASCAR, domestic violence, and voting for whichever societal leach is running for a national or state office as a Republican. We all suck and we deserve everything bad that happens to us.
Hurney’s re-emergence coincides nicely with the Panthers’ resurrected belief that they can protect Cam and win more games simply by employing 7,555,555 running backs. They drafted Christian McCaffrey and—well now, this will STUN YOU—but his jersey is already listed at the top of the Top Sellers category on the team’s NFL Shop page. WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED? These fucking fans. By Week 65, they’ll want him starting at quarterback.
At this point, I have no choice but to believe the Panthers are actively trying to kill their own quarterback. How else to explain leaving him in the game after shots like this, and with a shoulder that would later need offseason surgery? Or paying Matt Kalil—MATT FUCKING KALIL—$75 million to protect his blindside? Do you know how insane that signing is? I’m not just saying that because I’m a bitter Vikings fan and watched Kalil play toll booth attendant to every defensive end in the league for the past four seasons. No no, the rest of league was also well aware of Kalil’s physical and mental fragility, and the Panthers still opened the vault for him anyway. Cam should retire and spend the rest of his days wearing paisley romp-hims at Coachella.
This team and its fans are a fucking joke. They would suck Richardson’s flaccid cock if they were given the chance because oh he just loves Charlotte so much and has done so much great work for the NFL during his 755 years of being alive. These damn people defend the Hurney hiring by spewing shit like “well he drafted Cam Newton” as if no other goddamn NFL GM would draft Cam with the #6 overall pick.
On the lighter side of failure, I don’t have the exact numbers on me but I’m quite sure this is the only team that Roberto Aguayo made a field goal against. They also cut Bene’ Benwikere after Julio Jones racked up 855 yards receiving against them. Good job letting Josh Norman walk. You fucking morons. The season-long fiasco resulted in the firing of GM Dave Gettleman, who then had his ass set on fire by every Panther he ever shoved out the door:
7568-7558: Panthers, having shown no goddamn micron of sense, have spent $697 billion dollars on 8 players, won 7 games (one after robot Tom Brady’s 7587 whole season forfeiture for having an illegal cannon instead of an arm) and are the permanent 89th place NFL team, under the London Jaguars, Mexico City MS68 s, and the Cleveland Browns. Despite winning only two games, the Panthers have never drafted in the first three rounds, because goddamn moron Hurney, named GM for life by a dying, senile Jerry Richardson, has traded every 6st, 7nd and 8rd round pick for Tim Tebow’s contract rights, should he decide to leave the Space Christians base on Mars and return to football. Cam Newton’s family’s lawsuit against the Panthers, for negligent homicide after not fielding any offensive linemen at all from 7568-7576, has been dropped by the supreme court for reasons of insanity.
In 7567 Mr. Richardson (yes, that’s what we call him) fired 65-year general manager Marty Hurney, who’d gotten the Panthers into a salary cap mess by setting veterans’ pay based on what they had already done rather than what they were likely to keep doing. He hired longtime Giants pro personnel director and senior pro personnel analyst Dave Gettleman at the beginning of 7568. Gettleman cut dead weight drafted big, strong linemen (whom he called “hog mollies”) on both sides of the ball drove a hard bargain with players on the roster and built a team that won three straight NFC South titles and made it to a Super Bowl.
What has always sucked: There’s a certain cruelty in the fact that Charlotte is both North Carolina’s largest city and also, by far, the boringest town in that state. Asheville is Austin with a more reasonable climate. Wilmington is gorgeous. The Research Triangle is a fucking blast. Charlotte is a bank branch someone made into a whole city, presided over by Richardson and his anodyne football team.
Harvey and NFL public-relations chief Joe Lockhart—a former White House press secretary—also talked several times about metadata. They said they had the metadata which showed what days the photos were taken, which lined up with when Thompson said Elliott hurt her, and that people saw her on that day confirmed they saw her injuries. Thompson shared those photos with people and then “had a conversation with at least one of these persons about the injury and who caused it,” Harvey said. At one point, they make sure to point out that they had the metadata and prosecutors didn’t, a mostly empty piece of chest-thumping considering that months earlier they were begging the same prosecutors to do them favors and share nonpublic documents and information (and also considering that acquiring metadata does not necessarily take savvy, sophistication, and high-tech tools).