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Can Jerry Jones save the NFL?

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As you may have read, the NFL is in the early stages of a new civil war. Two of the NFL’s most unpopular figures are facing off: Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell. What started out over something seemingly trivial(though it’s not), looks to escalate into something that could divide the league yet unite football fans. Roger Goodell has been hated by fans for years for many unarticulated reasons, however ever since the Ray Rice video, the NFL has undergone years, of bad distractions starting with domestic violence, blowing up over deflategate, and peaking with anthem protesting. All of this in in the litany of issues, Jones can use to usurp Roger Goodell from his Commissioner title with the NFL.

Free Zeke

Star running back Ezekiel Elliott finds himself as the centerpiece of this battle. His legal battle to overturn his suspension was the preseason for a larger showdown. Reports have surfaced suggesting Jones was assured by Goodell that Elliott would serve no time. This assurance prompted Jones to vote in favor of the process of a committee going forward with renewing Goodell’s contract. However, Goodell reneged his promise to Jones and suspended Elliott anyway. this comes after police filed no charges, and text messages have surfaced that Tiffany Thompson was merely trying to blackmail, Elliott. Goodell punished Elliott for battering Tiffany Thompson even though the lone NFL investigator who interviewed Thompson did not find sufficient evidence to support Thompson’s accusations. So Goodell suspended Elliott for nothing. What else is Jerry Jones to take that as other than a smackdown to show that he’s in charge and a petty slap against the Dallas Cowboys’ ability to compete?

Jones Not Alone

The fans are behind Jones because they dislike Goodell, but no one cares about the fans, sadly. Jerry Jones may look to find an ally in the NFLPA, the union for players. Following the Ezekiel Elliott case they lost, they issued this statement

On behalf of all players, the Union appealed the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott to its logical conclusion and we are withdrawing our lawsuit. 

Our vigilant fight on behalf of Ezekiel once again exposed the NFL’s disciplinary process as a sham and a lie. They hired several former federal prosecutors, brought in “experts” and imposed a process with the stated goal of “getting it right,” yet the management council refuses to step in and stop repeated manipulation of an already awful League-imposed system.

In truth, the NFLPA has no one to blame but themselves. They were a part of the process which gave Roger Goodell carte blanche with league discipline and it has been a disaster ever since. They helped create the monster during their last collective bargaining negotiations. However, in recognizing this failing, they may be eager to join Jerry Jones in his fight. This would be a credible ally that would make Jones seem less like a loose cannon.

History of Goodell’s success

One of the main selling point under Roger Goodell has been the increasing pie for NFL owners. Jerry Jones, specifically, has been a benefactor of Goodell’s leadership for many years.

CBS Sports: Cowboys dominate Forbes’ 2017 list of most valuable NFL franchises, Bills rank last

According to Forbes, the five most valuable franchises in the world are the Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the Patriots ($3.7 billion), the New York Yankees ($3.7 billion) along with soccer clubs Manchester United ($3.69 billion) and FC Barcelona ($3.64 billion).

 The fact that two NFL teams are at the top of the worldwide list shouldn’t come as much of a shock because the value of an NFL franchise has basically been skyrocketing since 2013. Four years ago, there was only one team worth over $2 billion — the Cowboys.

This year, 27 of the league’s 32 teams are worth over $2 billion, and three of the teams that aren’t — the Browns, Bengals, and Buccaneers — will likely hit that number in the near future.

One team that didn’t see a huge jump was the Chargers. Although the Rams got a huge boost when they moved to L.A. in 2016 — they jumped from the 28th most valuable team to the sixth most valuable — the Chargers only saw a slight increase. Since moving from San Diego, the team’s value has gone from $2.08 billion to $2.275 billion.

Ratings may tank Goodell

The NFL boycott is real and is deeply reflected in the ratings decrease. NFL owners can’t be blind to the hurt they are getting by the ratings drop, attendance decline, dip in merchandise sales, and tainted relationship with major sponsors. However, as colleague Scott Byrd would suggest, this is just the beginning. These are Goodell’s biggest threats to his continued tenure and unfortunately, they are all financially tied. A while back, I previously wrote about how the NFL could hemorrhage the bleeding.

How the NFL can stop and possibly reverse the bleeding
  1. Force Players to Stand For the National Anthem

    Seriously, this shouldn’t even be debatable at this point. Get the politics out of football. The players have angered so many fans that the rating drops are accelerating. Players disrespecting the anthem is a direct cause of fans turning them off. You can’t expect to increase ratings when players alienate fans. Regardless of how you feel about the issue, the NFL has a fiduciary duty to implement and enforce a policy to keep the politics out of football. If they want a ratings bounce, they better listen to those who boycott. Football is supposed to be American. It should be a reminder of why we love our country. When that reminder is replaced by players protesting the anthem, the brand is tarnished. The NFL has a brand issue they need to fix.

  2. End Regional Broadcasting

    In 2017, there is no reason that a Broncos fan in Miami can’t watch their team except with DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket. I grew up with that, and it’s a great service. However, people are cord-cutting. Cable is increasingly losing its firm grip on entertainment with streaming services. NFL should offer streaming on their website that has no regional broadcast restrictions. It doesn’t even have to be free. This is a way for the NFL to modernize. They are already expanding their own streaming capabilities, but the only live games you can watch on NFL.com are out of market preseason games. How useless is that? Allow people who follow a team to pay for a package to watch that team every Sunday. It’s not that hard.

  3. Written Rules for Player Discipline

    How long should a player be suspended for in domestic violence cases? The amount of time is less important than the equal standard it should be from Josh Brown to Ray Rice. The NFL needs consistency. Otherwise, these scandals are a distraction from the football.

  4. Due Process for Player Discipline

    The NFL should defer to the legal system and not their own investigating. They are obviously terrible at it. In the case of Ezekiel Elliott, they suspended him when the police dropped the case. Furthermore, in the process, the NFL ignored evidence that exonerated Elliott. This was an unnecessary legal battle and distraction that the NFL really doesn’t need. It’s been proven that Elliott’s accuser was lying, but the NFL insists on a four-game suspension. Skip the NFL investigating process, and just defer to the legal system. If police drop charges, no suspension. If acquitted, no suspension. If they plead no contest, suspension. Players need to be proven innocent. And obviously, suspend when found guilty.

  5. Stay At Home

    This one is aimed at the San Diego Chargers. Abandoning the San Diego Market to pursue the Los Angeles dream would have been a good idea, if the Rams hadn’t already done it first. Now they gave their original fanbase a free pass to either lose interest or cheer for a different team. Stupid move. It’s great when the NFL gives back to the community, but abandoning your market shows how little you truly cared. Perhaps the Raiders should stay in Oakland. In pursuit of LA, the NFL lost the St. Louis market. San Diego and St. Louis are sizable markets. They can support multiple sports teams. If anything, the Jaguars should relocate, but they are investing in England for a possible relocation across the pond in the long-term future. When franchises relocate, it can devastate a community and turn people away from the sport. It’s very possible that these relocations have contributed to ratings declines. And so this should cease. As a side note, the Las Vegas move is not a terrible idea considering the city’s space and growth. But I don’t think the Raiders should be the ones to move. To clarify, It’s the stupid relocations that must stop.

Saving Football

Much of my five ways to stop the bleeding have only been validated with time, like the Chargers’ move to LA resulting in only a small increase in valuation. The internet also poses a threat that Roger Goodell seems behind on. Time is of the essence. If the NFL doesn’t change its ways, it could lose relevance in more households perhaps losing a generation of fans if this continues for however long Goodell’s contract is extended for. Rating declines only serve to make the NFL, and by extension football, less relevant.

Luckily Jerry Jones is opposing Goodell for more reasons than just Ezekiel Elliott, although that’s huge. Also, Jerry Jones has a history of suing and winning against the NFL. He is the best chance of saving the NFL. The NFL needs to act on its fiduciary duty to end these PR nightmares. And part of acting on that duty entails the removal of Roger Goodell. Jerry Jones is championing the fight. And while he isn’t quite the hero we wanted, he is the hero we need and deserve to save the NFL from itself. Who knows what the endgame is? But it’s hard to imagine, Jerry Jones succeeding makes the NFL’s situation worse. Usurping Goodell is the first piece in saving the NFL, but far from the last.

 

Entertainment and Sports

LeSean McCoy domestic violence accusation: the “Hold My Beer” of recent NFL player scandals

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Players getting into trouble off the field is nothing new for the NFL, but the accusations levied against LeSean McCoy on Instagram tops the accusations made and found true against the likes of Ray Rice, Michael Vick, Adrian Peterson, and countless others. This follows a recent arrest of former Seattle Seahawk, Brandon Browner, being charged with attempted murder. 

Shady McCoy is publicly accused of illegal drugs, PED, animal abuse, domestic abuse, and child abuse. The seriousness of the accusations alone could endanger his career. Like any person guilty or innocent, McCoy took to denying the accusations, claiming to have had no direct contact with them in months.

But the evidence is being gathered. Police say they are investigating a home invasion of the victim’s residence. So far, McCoy has not been named a person of interest.

Furthermore TMZ reports that the victim has lawyered up and named LeSean McCoy as the orchestrater of the attack. This changes the narrative from the original IG post, but in no way lessens the severity. As of now, McCoy stands accused of sending people to do this attack.

TMZ Report:

Delicia Cordon has hired attorney Tanya Mitchell Graham — who issued a statement saying Delicia was sleeping early Tuesday morning when a man entered her Georgia home and pistol whipped her.

Graham says the assailant demanded specific items of jewelry that had been given to her by McCoy — jewelry that McCoy had previously demanded she return to him. She claims the victim also sustained injuries to her wrist when the assailant tried to rip off her bracelet.

Graham claims before the incident, McCoy “would often suggest to Ms. Cordon that she could be robbed because the jewelry was expensive.”

Graham — who’s joined by associate attorneys Demetrius Price and Kiarra Brown — never straight-up accuses McCoy of criminal activity, but strongly implies it.

For example, Graham claims the assailant entered the house with NO signs of forced entry. She also claims McCoy changed the security system at the house and did not give Cordon access to the new one.

She also claims McCoy has a documented history of having other people do his dirty work for him — and references the time he allegedly ordered other people to evict her from his home in June and remove her furniture from the house.

Graham says despite the fact Cordon and McCoy have had a relationship since 2016, he has NOT called to check in on her since the details of the violent attack went public.

Final Thoughts

LeSean McCoy doesn’t have a reputation for being a model citizen. As Smitty of Barstool Sports notes:

The odds of Shady McCoy being guilty are high. That being said, the NFL doesn’t wait for due process. Otherwise Ezekiel Elliott wouldn’t have undergone a 6 game suspension. They will have to act as this scandal is prime to escalate and disrupt the storyline of the upcoming season.

Originally published on Startup Christ.

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Entertainment and Sports

NBA players choose collusion over competition

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In every other sports league, there is competition among the franchises. The NFL has new teams rising and falling every year. Baseball is a whole new season, come October. The NHL playoffs are perhaps the most exciting competition in all of sports. In college basketball, a 16 beat a 1. Yet in opposition to its fellow sports leagues, the NBA is entirely predictable.

The offseason has brought excitement with the long-anticipated relocation of LeBron James. But him landing in Los Angeles was the guess of most pundits amateur and professional. The Lakers are now a playoff contender barring injury. But even away from the Cavs, LeBron is still no match for Golden State.

Superteams are bad for sports

Having the best players fall on one team is fine and dandy when it is natural and done over time. The New York Yankees are among the top contenders in baseball. Contrary to stereotype, they are talented because they established an excellent farm system. It is completely fair for them to end up being the best (again). If Derek Jeter’s strategy works, the Marlins will turn themselves around.

The Warriors are a different story. Yes, they drafted well and traded well. But then they sign Kevin Durant, a top player. Then they sign DaMarcus Cousins, another top player. Cousins. Both of these players shamelessly sold out for the privilege of being on a winning team. Durant joining the Warrior is the equivalent of Ovechkin joining the Penguins. But he didn’t because he cares about his legacy and not his rings. Cousins was perhaps just as bad seeing as he took a deal well below his market value even if injured.

One cannot blame the Warriors for preserving their dynasty which increased the team value 19% in the last year according to Forbes. It’s good for their business, in a league where several teams can’t break past $20 million in operating income. But the league will suffer. The NBA has largely benefited from people enjoying the ride, but it’s inescapable how anticlimactic the end is. The Warriors win. The 2019 NBA finals is already similarly boring, in that, everyone who isn’t a hopeless dreamer already knows the outcome.

The NBA needs to save the competitiveness of its league. A handful of teams now compose the NBA, whilst the others are relegated to being developmental feeding grounds. Top players aren’t interested in rivalry with each other. Rather, they prefer to join forces even to the point of destroying the competition the league was known for. An NBA ring is depreciated in its value, at least if you are a Warrior. Yet players aren’t against colluding for a piece of jewelry at the expense of their honor. This fundamental cultural flaw won’t go away on its own. The NBA should strongly consider curbing this trend either through stricter salary caps or some other creative means.

So far they’ve been content to let ESPN dictate their trajectory and competitive strategy. It seems worth it to leave the elephant unaddressed so long as there’s a raging debate between Team Jordan and the Bronsexuals. Such contentment now has James in the same conference as the Warriors making 2019 a much less exciting finals.

Originally published on StartupChrist.com

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Entertainment and Sports

The AAF is the NFL’s newest worry

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Two months ago, the NFL’s long-term demise may have been spelled by the revival of the XFL. The XFL was initially a football league in 2001, but now Vince McMahon wants to revive it. While announcements about the XFL have been dormant since January, a new player is emerging and faster. The Alliance of American Football or the AAF has been formed and will play a 2019 season the week after the Superbowl.

The AAF, in contrast, Vince McMahon and the XFL have given more concise answers to the many questions asked. Make no mistake, the AAF is a substantially more potent threat than the XFL. The AAF not only is going to begin a year earlier but also has TV contracts ready with CBS. The AAF will also stream games and incorporate fantasy football.

The biggest reason the AAF is a threat is management. The AAF is founded by Charlie Ebersol, who has worked for the NFL and sports media. He even made a documentary as to why the 2001 XFL failed. The AAF also has a number of credible football players serving as executives and advisers. Among them are Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, Jared Allen, and Justin Tuck. The AAF also has the legendary team builder and executive Bill Polian. A B-List idea with A-Team management is a recipe for success in business. This is why the AAF has garnered the backing of venture capitalist firms such Founders Fund featuring the country’s top VC, Peter Thiel ad Cherning Group.

The AAF during its announcement stated that it would fill a void where the NFL ends in February. In this void, many sports fans stop watching sports and stop participating in fantasy sports. The AAF also wants to reach the large pool of college football players who don’t wind up in the NFL. Other sports have multiple professional leagues in the NFL.

The AAF will have 8 teams, 10 games, and a two-week playoff. In eliminating injuries and maintaining excitement, the AAF is eliminating the kickoff, and will instead start the 25-yard line. For teams seeking an onside kick, will have 4th and 10 on their 35. The extra point is eliminated; teams have to go for 2. Teams will have two replays a game. To speed the game, the play clock will be 30 seconds, matching the increasing pace of the game. The AAF will also change the way players are compensated with win bonuses, stat bonuses, and fan engagement bonuses. On top of these bonuses, the league will also provide scholarships for their future off the field.

For fans, the tickets and concessions will be cheap. This is in sharp contrast to the NFL where tickets prices are rising even for mediocre teams. TV timeouts will also be done away with. Commercials will only take place during natural breaks. In April the cities will be announced. Note: they’ve already been decided, but they want us talking about it later, something that isn’t happening with the XFL.

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Takeaway

Unlike the XFL, the Alliance of American Football announced its existence with far more questions answered. While the Alliance didn’t touch on the National Anthem or criminal records, they also answered far more questions about their gameplay than Vince McMahon’s vague announcement. While the NFL has a complement in the Alliance of American Football, this alliance may in years to come be a fierce competitor. In the meantime, rather than being disruptive, Charlie Ebersol and his staff are focusing on being useful. This strategy is far more conducive to long-term success.

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