It’s no secret the New York Giants Mara family and Commissioner Goodell have a close relationship. On the surface that is a good thing. You want the teams and the front office to have excellent working relationships. However, when the conversation turns to how “cozy” the two are and the parties using the term clearly are invoking conspiracy theories that have a lot of smoke then it’s time the league office and the team took note and more importantly takes steps.
Setting the Stage
There are multiple examples of the two entities being “cozy” that are being bandied about. One is the Mara family pressing Gooddell to hit the Jerry Jones Dallas Cowboys with a stiff salary cap penalty when Jones took advantage of his deep pockets in an uncapped year is one. I can see both sides of this argument. Jones and his side believe they were within their rights. Mara and his camp believe he wasn’t and didn’t want him to get away with it. This was an obvious confrontation that Jones lost, but I don’t see “conspiracy” here. Two big boys taking some swings at each other for competitive purposes. One won. One lost. More on this later.
The Giants wrist-slapping kicker Josh Brown with a 1 game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy (domestic abuse) immediately after the league had mandated a 6 game minimum for such actions is another example, and this time, I believe a valid one.
The fact the league tacked on an additional six games only after public blowback forced them demonstrated two things. First, both sides were aware it was wrong as the league and the team had to be complicit in signing off on the first punishment. Second, the league will bend to public pressure. It’s the one thing the billionaire owners pay attention to and Goodell is well aware of it.
Eli Manning Fraud Case Settlement
This brings us to the Eli Manning fraud case. It’s messy. There are very few facts and a lot of conjecture. What we do know as “key” facts are as follows.
- Eli Manning had a contract to deliver “game-worn” equipment that would then be sold as such to consumers.
- It has been established that the equipment (helmet) sold as such was indeed not “game worn.”
- Eric Inselberg, Michael Jakab, and Sean Goddown were three of those customers who maintain the product they received was not “game-worn” and furthermore …. Eli knew and was complicit in the fraud.
- An email from Eli to Giants equipment manager Joe Skiba request “2 helmets that can pass as game used. That is it. Eli.”
- Eli says he just has a funny way of asking for something.
- The plaintiff’s state it’s an admission of obvious fraud.
The NFL Personal Conduct Policy clearly covers “fraud.” Eli Manning paid a “settlement” to make the case go away which is NOT an admission of guilt, however, as the NFL has made abundantly clear that does not get it’s (black) players out of trouble as they will conduct their own investigation which is not based on facts, rather the outcome of public opinion.
And that’s the rub. No matter the facts, Eli certainly “looks” guilty. To top it off, he paid a settlement which in many fans minds, fair or not, means he is guilty. Why pay if you don’t have to?
Of course in the real world, there are many reasons to pay a settlement. This is a civil, not criminal court and the rules are different as often, are the reasons. However, it’s also a fact that most often when payouts are made it’s clearly because there is a level of guilt the paying party does not want to deal with in the public eye. If that’s the case, and as far as the public is concerned it is, then the NFL by its own previous actions will be forced to “punish” Eli Manning and the howling mob won’t want a fine, they will want a suspension and “six games” is being bandied about as a minimum. A year is not out of the question.
This put’s a hell of a dent in the GMens plan to ride Eli until he folds. The Giants have two viable QB’s not named Eli on the roster and if his replacement does the job, do you roll back to an expensive guy that is on the downside of his career?
Backroom chatter has at least one NFL owner that is pushing the narrative the league must “do something” to quell the public’s passion. There was a similar voice in the commish’s ear when the Cowboys were pushing the envelope in the uncapped year. Whose voice could be whispering there now?
It’s rude to breathe heavy when you whisper Jerry.
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over