I’ve had it up the Yazoo with the antics of the NFL. It’s a non-profit organization that stands to earn about $10 billion dollars this year. It pays very little tax to anyone. The profit sharing among the team owners, while never divulged, is very healthy indeed. It seems as if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the 32 team owners that comprise are the NFL have allowed a breeding ground of thugs and miscreants.

The San Diego Union Tribune has a database of all NFL player arrests and citations since 2000. They say it’s a list of anything “more serious than speeding tickets.” Their list includes 719 records and they say it isn’t necessarily comprehensive.  Here are just a few of the most publicized NFL players that made the limelight in recent years:                                 Aaron Hernandez                                                                              Team: New England Patriots                                                          Position: Tight End                                                                                Alleged Crime: Three murder charges, armed assault and attempted murder.

Adam “Pacman” Jones                                                                     Team: Cincinnati Bengals                                                                 Position: Cornerback                                                                      Alleged Crime:  Too many incidents to list. His most well-known involves a shooting incident at a Las Vegas strip club that left one person paralyzed and two others injured. Police said Jones incited the incident. Jones pleaded no contest to a charge of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct and agreed to testify about the shooter

Michael Vick                                                                             Team: NY Jets                                                                                   Position: QB                                                                                 Crime: Convicted of running a dog fighting ring.  Served two years in prison.

Ray Rice                                                                                       Team: Baltimore Ravens                                                                 Position: RB                                                                                  Alleged Crime:  Aggravated assault of his then fiancée. Rice was cut by the Baltimore Ravens on September 8

Aldon Smith                                                                                  Team: San Francisco 49ers                                                          Position: Linebacker                                                                      Alleged Crime: Two DUI’s, possession of an assault weapon and a bomb threat at LAX. Currently serving a ten-game suspension from the NFL

Ben Roethlisberger                                                                        Team: Pittsburgh Steelers                                                            Position: Quarterback                                                                   Alleged Crime: Accused twice of sexual assault. One case was dropped and the other was settled out of court. Roethlisberger served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Oh, and let’s not forget Inflategate.

Add to the litany of the NFL’s scandals and outrageous profits the ongoing bad blood between Michael Bidwill and the City of Glendale. Bidwill has not been happy with Glendale since the University of Phoenix stadium landed in Glendale. The city has never “rolled over and played dead” for Bidwill regarding his many, oft times extreme, demands, whether they were football related or development related.

Make no mistake when it comes to the actions and decisions of the Arizona Host Committee, Bidwill is large and in charge. Jay Parry may be the current President of the Arizona Host Committee but nothing is done or a decision made without Bidwill’s knowledge and approval.

On January 25, 2015, the New York Times ran an interview with Glendale’s own Mayor Jerry Weiers. Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/sports/football/albatross-of-debt-weighs-on-super-bowl-city.html?_r=0 . In the article Weiers bemoans the fact that he has been snubbed and has not been invited to the Super Bowl despite his being the mayor of the host city. It seems he has taken a page out of former Mayor Scruggs’ play book by complaining publicly in the hope that he will get tickets just as Scruggs did in 2008. Whether it’s Scruggs or Weiers, it’s embarrassing to have one’s mayor publicly whining. If the feud had been a staring contest, Mayor Weiers blinked first.

The host committee could have provided tickets but chose not to. Oh, really? If Bidwill had said make sure the Glendale mayor is invited, Weiers would have his ticket. One can assume the host committee declined to invite Weiers so as not to be on the receiving end of a Bidwill fit. Bidwill, when asked by Channel 12 news about the Weiers ticket situation, tried desperately to ignore the question and kept trying to turn the story into a good news story for the state and the region — to no avail.  Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/12-news/2015/01/26/12-news-michael-bidwill-cardinals-glendale-jerry-weiers/22335269/ .

In Bidwill’s parting shot, when asked why Phoenix and Scottsdale were hosting most of the Super Bowl parties instead of Glendale, said that was the decision of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “They’ve landed in cities that have been extremely supportive of the hosting of this Super Bowl,” Bidwill said. He went on to say that Glendale has been a “poor partner.” Has it occurred to anyone that if Glendale had refused to participate in the bid process that landed this year’s Super Bowl, there would have been no Super Bowl in Arizona this year?

Make no mistake, sometime in the future Bidwill and the Arizona Host Committee will want to bid again. At one time it was thought that Arizona would be part of a permanent rotation of the Super Bowl among southern or warm cities. Can you imagine if this year’s Super Bowl were being played in New Jersey? After all, the northeast is only dealing with a blizzard. Flights are cancelled and public transportation is at a standstill.

Until Glendale is assured, in writing, that it will be reimbursed for its costs, just as the host cities in Texas and Florida, it has no business being a Super Bowl host. The really big, bad boy of the sports leagues and the Bidwills, instead of spite will have to learn to use some sugar…the green kind, in large denominations, please.

© Joyce Clark, 2014


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