The NFL need to make a changeBy Rich Herrera

By Rich Herrera @RBIRich

The NFL has one rule that controls everything it does on and off the field. The number one most important thing to the league is to protect the shield, meaning protecting the image of a multi billion dollar business that completely owes it’s very success to the passion and hero-worship of its fans. Grown men willing to dress up in $150 jersey while sitting in $250 dollar seats. The NFL is the most successful professional sports league in the nation for a good reason. On the field it has a great product that is exciting and thrilling to watch. It’s TV package runs across many TV networks and is neatly packaged into a three-hour opera. Off the field The NFL is a marketing machine that prints money faster that the US government.

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But all of the NFL’s success is all predicated on the love of the fans that spend the money to make it a multi billion dollar business. With out the fans the league would go back to its origins of playing in places like Decatur and Plymouth. That is why the Roger Goodell needs to sit down and take a long hard look at this league and where it’s going in the wake of the Ray Rice video coming to light. Fans of the NFL look up to players with a hero-worship that my favorite player can do know wrong. No my guy would never punch a woman in the face and knock her out. No my favorite player would never sexually assault a woman. My favorite guy would never get a DUI, no way I know him I watch him every weekend he could never do that. The cold hard fact that pro athletes are like anyone else, some are great guys some are bad guys.

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The NFL has dropped that ball over and over again when it comes to player conduct. Look I’m not looking for a bunch of eagle scouts to play for my team, I am not that naive. The league and the commissioner needs to make it clear once and for all PLAYING IN THE NFL is a privilege not a right. If you screw up you have to play the price. Once people saw the video of Ray Rice knocking out a women most (not all) people were so sickened they flinched and turned their heads. Why, because that’s not what we want, expect of demand from our heroes. We want people we can root for, pull for and love, we don’t want wife beaters.

The NFL has brought this upon themselves by allowing players to act as if playing in the league is a right and not a privilege. Teams have sold their soul to quench their desire to win. Fans have overlooked their moral compass to root for their team even if the player you are rooting for you wouldn’t allow in your house. Get a DUI after the game, well it was a highway patrolman with an axe to grind. Slap your wife around on Tuesday well, what did she do to make him so mad he had to give her a black eye. Get busted for weed, well we are going to make it legal one day anyway so who cares. Excuse after excuse to explain away why I am still going to wear my jersey to the game even if his mug shot is in the local paper.

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The clock is ticking for the NFL with other players who have been accused heinous crimes like wife-beating. So my question to the commissioner who came into the job wanting to clean up this league and protect the shield. Status quo and the crack gets bigger in the shield, stand you ground and risk the wrath of players, fans, and owners who still their heads buried in the ground. This has nothing to do with selling tickets, marketing to women, or anything else. Roger Goodell already swung and missed when he handed out a 2 game suspension for Ray Rice out of the gate. Will he learn from his mistake and make sure protect the shield?