They call the NFL
the No Fun League
for a reason. And now, adding to that reason the new commissioner, a
no-nonsense tough minded guy named Roger Goodell, has banned alcohol
from locker rooms, team functions, buses or flights. This means if
Michael Vick wants to bring a beer to one of his dog fights, he can’t
pick it up in the locker room.
Roger Goodell, acting as the booze police, has
established himself as maybe the toughest commissioner. First, he said
no more Pacman in the locker rooms for a year and now no more booze.
Next to Goodell, (which, by the way, sounds like one of those computers
that work. As opposed to a Baddell, which is a really stupid pun) Bud
Selig, the baseball commissioner, comes off as wimpy and ineffective.
Of course, Selig also comes off that way next to a parking meter.
Selig, who had an alcohol related crisis when St.
Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock died a month ago while drunk in a
car accident, left the matter of banning beer in the clubhouse to the
individual teams. Where, since he once owned a team called the
Milwaukee BREWERS and the Cardinals are owned by Anheuser-Busch, you
can see where he might wimp out. What do you expect from a league
sponsored by Budweiser with a commissioner named “Bud?” Besides,
if alcohol were banned in baseball, what kind of story line could we
have had in “A League of Their Own?” Jimmy Duggan would be like
“There’s no crying in baseball. There’s no crying… yes, there is, cause
I can’t get a drink.” If Walther Matthau wasn’t such a lush would the
Bears have been such Bad News? Baseball and booze are intertwined.
Harry Caray is soused by the fifth inning (from a fifth, no less) but
still staggers up to belt out the seventh inning stretch anthem “Take
Me Out of the Ball Game.” In other words, call me a cab.
Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, has no such
restrictions. When he says he’s banning booze at all team functions, he
means all. Here’s his note: “Effective immediately, clubs are
prohibited from providing alcoholic beverages, including beer, in any
club setting: locker rooms, practice or office facilities, or while
traveling, including team buses or flights. This prohibition extends
not only to players but to all personnel, as well as guests.” That
means no coaches. Bear Bryant can’t come anywhere near an NFL
clubhouse. Howard Schnellenberger might as well just turn around and
stay away. When a team wins the Super Bowl, they’re going to squirt
each other with grape juice.
Does this make Goodell the most macho of the
commishes? Sterner than Stern? Badder than Bud? Harder-bitten than
Bettman? Bettman is the NHL commissioner, as if you cared. Back to
Goodell. To tell over 2400 people they can’t have a beer even on party
days in their clubhouses - that’s pretty powerful and gutsy. Gutsy,
because you’re taking relaxants away from guys who are very often in
pain. You’re taking impairments away from muscle bound monsters now
possibly too clear headed about the violence heaped onto them. You’re
taking mind dulling agents away from guys whose minds best remain dull.
If Goodell fully realizes what he’s doing, is
cognizant of the damage that can reaped upon him by people in his
league, and by the vicious fighting dogs some of the players own, and
how dangerous fully sober pain-ridden players can become and yet he
still enforces a ban, then yes, he is the bravest. He deserves the
title of toughest commissioner. Bravo, and good luck.