My Candidate for NFL Commissioner

The best we could hope for.

The best we could hope for.

My wife and I have been discussing the increasingly likely replacement of Roger Goodell as commissioner of the NFL. She was initially charmed by the possibility of Condoleeza Rice assuming that office. National Review threw convincing cold water on that outcome this morning.

…who is the only name that has been floated by the Left to take some heat off the league, to help quell an increasingly politicized outrage, to be a welcomed presence and a non-contentious figure? Just a little-known, inconspicuous former secretary of state that carries no baggage with her whatsoever.

The voices on the left now toying with the notion are the same ones that would eagerly take her down from her first opening kick-off. Rice can’t even set foot on a college campus without setting off an onslaught of sit-ins, protests, and boycotts; now, the same media figures who condone these demonstrations, if not personally hurl the “war criminal” invectives with Matthew Stafford–esque zip at Rice, are going to welcome her with open arms? Come on. You can already imagine the Salon thinkpieces linking the NFL’s handling of head trauma to Rice’s treatment of Abu Zubaydah.

We already have evidence of this eventual outcome. SB Nation’s Spencer Hall quickly brought up torture and Rice’s violations of “of human decency, the Geneva Convention, and every tenet of even the loosest definition of human rights” when she was added to the College Football Playoff selection committee last fall.

Listening to political pundits talk about sports over these past few months has been insufferable enough, and sportswriters taking self-righteous positions is equally tedious. The idea of a Rice commissionership tickles these commentators’ fancy because it gives them the opportunity to link the Rice/Peterson controversy to an area they actually know something about. Ultimately, they don’t want Rice as commissioner — they want to be able to talk about her as commissioner.

In other words, Condi Rice is not going to be the replacement. No way the old boy network is going to leap from the frying pan into the fire.

Mrs. IP favors the choice of some retired coach. I disagree. The media pressure will be for some outsider coming in to clear the air. All ex-coaches are going to be suspect to the extent that they participated in whatever cultural failings the NFL is presumed to have.

The NFL is already pandering to the hard left. The hiring of three women to consult on social policies in the league — the three Furies? — and the promotion of a former Obama functionary as their leader demonstrates that an all-out assault on football itself is underway, whether the clueless Goodell administration recognizes it or not. Is this important? Yes.

Again from National Review, Andrew McCarthy‘s piece on the infiltration of sports by the progressive left:

If conservatives want to know why we are losing the culture and the country, it is important to understand that while very few kids and young adults are watching Fox News (or news programs of any kind, for that matter), they inhale sports programming. It’s ubiquitous — television, radio, the Internet. And thus equally unavoidable is sports commentary, more and more of which has less and less to do with sports. Tendentious “sports journalists,” the majority of whom are decidedly left of center, are much less guarded about their hostility to conservatives than their fellow progressives on the political beat. It is a hostility that takes for granted the chummy agreement of its viewers and is designed to make Millennials want to be part of the fun…

My purpose here is less to wade into the Rice mess than to consider how radical ideas — like the Left’s war on boys — get mainstreamed…

On Friday, after highlights of the previous night’s game between the hometown Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, ESPN’s Sports Center reported, incredulously, that many female Ravens fans proudly wore their No. 27 jerseys in homage to Rice. Although this week’s coverage made him Public Enemy No. 1, it turns out that Rice is still quite popular among fans in Baltimore. One woman, clad in her Rice jersey, explained that while she did not condone his behavior, Rice had said he was sorry and was deserving of a second chance, just like other people who have done abominable things. It was a mitigating factor, in her view, that Ms. Palmer (now Mrs. Rice) had started the fight, and that the muscular professional football player was simply retaliating…

In any event, I was surprised that ESPN gave airtime to the Rice supporters. The progressive soap-opera storyline of the Rice coverage is that our aggressive, competitive culture, which has made the NFL so popular, desensitizes men to the gravity of domestic violence; that women are uniformly outraged by this state of affairs; and that football and the men who play it must be tamed. ESPN is a prominent author of this particular narrative, so one wouldn’t expect coverage of women who dissent from it.

I should have figured, though, that the segment was just a set-up for what followed: a lengthy editorial interview with Kate Fagan. A former college basketball player, Ms. Fagan is now, yes, a sports journalist. Author of a memoir The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians, she is a staple at ESPN-W. That’s where the network focuses on women in sports and, seamlessly, on political and social matters that the Left has successfully branded “women’s issues.”

For the politically aware, listening to Kate Fagan is a lot like listening to President Obama or any other deft community organizer. She first invoked tribal politics in refusing — or at least making a show of refusing — to rebut the female Ravens fans who sympathize with Rice. That, she said, would be “pitting women against women” — a no-no. She then skillfully lowered the boom: The problem is not Rice’s cheerleaders; it is our “culture.”…

By all means read the whole piece, which explains that the intent is to extort funds from the NFL to be distributed to community organizers who can begin the process of teaching boys to be more like girls.

…it was presented as incontestable fact that (a) there was a crisis involving violence, (b) the NFL and its violent sport must be responsible for it, (c) the NFL has deep pockets, and (d) the NFL should thus be coerced to fund bien pensant activists to perform progressive social-engineering on schoolboys.

Kids who tuned in to ESPN Friday morning to see the highlights of Thursday night’s game were treated to political indoctrination masquerading as sports commentary. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what football fans were treated to during the coverage of the game itself. And it happens pretty much every day.

Conservatives complain incessantly, and not without cause, about Republican fecklessness in confronting the Obama Left’s agenda, about the news media’s becoming an adjunct of the White House press office. But Washington’s political arena is just where the score is tallied. The game is being played, and lost, in the popular culture.

Yes. The leftist sports media are not just an annoyance or a distraction. They are a new front in the war on American values and traditions.

Before we proceed, one important fact. NFL football players are arrested at a rate 13 percent of that of the general population. Think about that.

The real objective here is not to clean up the NFL, which is already almost squeaky clean. The objective is to destroy football altogether and set about eliminating masculinity from American culture.

So who should be commissioner? Another bureaucratic drone like Goodell? No. A high profile progressive from outside the NFL, who will walk in the door dedicated to the new mission of destruction — turning the NFL into the NFFL, the National Flag Football League, whose champion will play the Super Bowl against an appropriately renamed Lingerie Football League (and lose)?


To prevent that, we need our own Trojan Horse, our own Manchurian Candidate. Someone who just might pass muster in critical PC terms, and will yet save the day, the game, and the sports culture.

Her name is Tammy Bruce, pictured above. She is an avowed lesbian. She is pro-choice. She is a past president of NOW in California. She has led campaigns against sexualized violence, notably protests against the movie American Psycho.

Convinced yet? Well, maybe that’s because you don’t know that she’s a Reagan Republican, a hard line conservative on virtually every issue but abortion, an incredibly talented talk show host who occasionally substitutes for Laura Ingraham, an enemy of the feminist war on boys and men, and as she has admitted in interviews, “technically bisexual,” no particular fan of same sex marriage. Her self identification as lesbian was to make a point. As such she she belongs to the 25 percent of lesbians who are not obese and the 5 percent of lesbians who are actually beautiful.

What’s most relevant in this background? Two things. As a lesbian who has not held political office, she cannot be attacked for war crimes like Condi Rice would be. If attacks were made, the NFL could throw up its hands and say what do you want from us? How non-Old Boy Network can we get?

Second. She’s a died in the wool libertarian. One of Mrs. IP’s most persistent arguments has been that Roger Goodell brought this crisis on himself by presuming to be the disciplinarian-in-chief of the National Football League. And all appeals of his rulings are to him. Closed authoritarian loop.

Tammy Bruce has the media savvy, razor wit, eloquence, and conviction to transform the commissioner’s office into a bully pulpit rather than a star chamber. The responsibility for identifying thuggishness, punishing it appropriately, and preventing it in the first place lies with owners and coaching staffs of individual teams. The commissioner should not be a czar or pope handing down judgments on personal conduct.

She should be a talented interlocutor between and among teams, players, and sports media. She should have the insight and courage to call shenanigans on any or all of these when warranted.

The only argument of Mrs. IP I can’t counter is this: Won’t ever happen.

Why I could be so open about the reasons for nominating Tammy Bruce.

MY BAD. What’s wrong with me today? To mention the Lingerie Football League without providing necessary background? I call that shoddy research. The remedy.

The actual game begins at 21 minutes in if you want to skip Jenny McCarthy’s off color pre-game commentary.

The post-NFL name? I dunno. Maybe the LGBT Football League. Won’t be as much fun. But nothing else will be as much either when the progressives get their way, alas.

  1. Peregrine John’s avatar

    I’ve always loved Tammy Bruce. Mrs. IP is right, though: Tammy’s far too sane, could actually make things work well, and worst of all, she’s not reflexively leftist. But what a beautiful thought!


  2. Instapunk’s avatar

    Beautiful? DAMN! You just reminded me of what I forgot.

    See the Update.


  3. Ron’s avatar

    Fortunately for me, my boys prefer swords over footballs. Or prit’near any kind of ball.


    1. Instapunk’s avatar

      Made a similar decision myself. Got my varsity letter fencing saber. But then again I was never big enough to play football.


    2. Tim’s avatar

      I’m sold. Both on the candidate and why it’s impossible.

      FYI, this is why I stopped paying for cable, why I stopped watching pre-game shows, halftime shows, and other shows like Pardon the Interruption. Just can’t take it anymore. And I think goal, here, is more nefarious than turning the NFL into a flag football league. I think it’s ultimately to drive the NFL under completely and replace it with soccer. Now THAT is a horrifying thought.


    3. Instapunk’s avatar

      Anybody know how to use Facebook and Twitter to broadcast this idea? Sure, it’s not possible, but at least we might get her name into the discussion.


    4. Instapunk’s avatar

      Sorry I missed some of your comments. I was watching Lingerie Bowl III. It’s halftime now. Only two wardrobe malfunctions so far.



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