NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 21: NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell leaves NFL Annual Meetings at the Roosevelt HotelÊ on March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12 the league is conducting it's annual owners meeting in New Orleans(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Should The NFL Lockout Cost Roger Goodell His Job?

Talking Points is a daily feature highlighting the best stories of the day. Today, we begin with the NFL Lockout, and Roger Goodell's response to Monday's landmark ruling. Plus: Jim Tressel the revolutionary, Manny before he sparked a revolution, the Royal Wedding sports column we've all been waiting for, and some encouragement for Lindsay Lohan.

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Should The NFL Lockout Cost Roger Goodell His Job?

A federal district court in Minnesota ended the NFL Lockout on Monday afternoon, and while the players celebrated, by Tuesday morning, Roger Goodell had already issued a scathing response to the judgment in the Wall Street Journal.

Judge Nelson's ruling doesn't only threaten the lockout, but it threatens the league, he says. To help embellish this alternate reality, Goodell imagines a universe where all the players' demands are met. If the players win here, he suggests, it could mean the end of the NFL Draft. It would mean no salary cap, no maximum salaries for players, no league-wide benefits for players, no testing for steroids, and endless other nightmares for football fans, everywhere.

As Goodell wonders, "Is this the NFL that fans want? A league where carefully constructed rules proven to generate competitive balance—close and exciting games every Sunday and close and exciting divisional and championship contests—are cast aside? Do the players and their lawyers have so little regard for the fans that they think this really serves their interests?"

Of course, it's a classic case of scare-tactics and debate-by-distraction. The players aren't seeking an NFL without collective bargaining; they dissolved their union because the NFL left them no other option, and seeking a federal injunction is their best defense against a group of owners that have dug in their heels to squeeze the players for an extra billion dollars in profit.

But reading Goodell's response to the players' victory, I couldn't help but be amazed by the gall of the whole thing. Does he think we're all that stupid? Is Goodell really this desperate? And at some point, doesn't all this begin to affect Roger Goodell's legacy among football fans?

What the NFL owners are trying to win with the NFL Lockout is historically ambitious; no pro sports league has a better collective bargaining agreement now, and the owners want even more. And Roger Goodell's right there with them, pushing for an 18-game schedule, downplaying concussions, and acting as the mouthpiece for the players' opposition.

I understand the NFL Commissioner answers to the owners, but he's also supposed to be the torchbearer for the game, in general. And somewhere along the line, Goodell's forgotten about the second part of that equation. As a an advocate for the owners, he's been fantastic. But isn't an NFL Commissioner supposed to be more than just a glorified lobbyist to billionaires?


Likewise, if the most arrogant, insulting bargaining proposal in pro sports history ends in embarrassment for NFL owners and the league in general, shouldn't someone be held responsible?

Moving on...


Remembering Better Times... Like Before Manny Was Manny. My shameless nostalgia for Manny Ramirez has been documented elsewhere, but the New York Times took things to another level today. A writer who covered him in high school remembers Manny back then:

Manny hated being the center of attention. He just wanted to be one of the guys. That was one of the things people loved about him. He’d hit, say, two home runs and a triple for the Trojans. Then he’d go back to his block, and the men on the corner would ask how he had done.

Manny would just shrug and say, "I went 0 for 3."

Pretty awesome, right? And the slideshow that come with it are just as great. If you have a few minutes, it's worth the trip back in time to experience Manny then, before the world ever knew his name.


Jim Tressel Is A Revolutionary That Your Feeble Minds Cannot Comprehend. Because really, rather than a lying, cheating, example of everything we hate about college sports, isn't it more fun to imagine Jim Tressell as the Che Guevara of Columbus? Enter EDSBS.


Tressel: The past is the concern of tyrants, historians, and nostalgics. I and the people belong to the future. We are one and the same in this regard. I speak to you from the future. The words register in the present. By the time they are understood, you are in the past toying with them while we sail forward. Such is the way of those who follow.

Reporter: Coach, I'm sorry, could you please clarify those remarks?

Tressel: Perfect truth needs no clarification save the confusion of those who cannot understand it asking for its clarification. This team understands me well enough. So will history.

Read the rest here.


Just Because An Idea's Unique Doesn't Make It Good. Such is the case with the column that uses the Royal Wedding as a lead-in to discuss why the Brandon Marshall marriage shouldn't be discussed.

Wait, what? ... Exactly. From ESPN:

If you're not married, stop reading. You won't get it.

This Friday, William and Kate of enchanted Buckingham come together in a perfect storm of fame and fantasy and public appetite, of cliché and soaring ratings and rising circulation. Last Friday, Brandon and Michi of Miami came apart the same way.

... Michi Nogami-Marshall was arrested and charged for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after allegedly stabbing her husband Brandon, the much troubled wide receiver from the Miami Dolphins, has already launched a thousand editorials. By the end of the day it will launch ten thousand more...

...But only one of those columns will use the Royal Wedding to make us feel guilty for caring about an NFL wide receiver that got stabbed by his wife. Let's just move on.


A Shoutout To The Small Markets Everywhere. While the NBA decides what to do with the Sacramento Kings, Bill Simmons weighs in on the situation with a good look at all the factors in play here. For one thing, he makes a perfect analogy about why small markets struggle keeping superstars:

If I said to a friend, "My wife and I are going to South Beach for a few days," my friend would say, "That's awesome, where are you staying?" If I said to that same friend, "My wife and I are going to Sacramento for a few days," my friend would say, "Sacramento? Why?" Sorry, it's true.

On the other hand, he points to places like Portland as examples of what a team can mean to a small market, and it all ends on a hopeful note. With better owners and better revenue sharing, small markets can work in the NBA. Anyway, hopefully the NBA heeds his calls with Sacramento, and when it comes time to negotiate the new CBA this summer. Because even now, this still sucks.



Finally, The NBA Parody Commercials That We've All Been Waiting For. The biggest tragedy of the NBA's Encouragement commercials isn't that the ads were creepy, always confusing for viewers, and never very convincing. No, what's really sad is that they never got popular enough to generate a series of parodies. Like the Amazing Happens campaign spawned this tribute to Zach Randolph, this commercial still needs to happen, too.


Likewise, there needs to be ads warning Antoine Walker against bankruptcy, Eddy Curry about all-you-can-eat buffets, Dwyane Wade about his college sweetheart, and so, so many more.

On the bright side, at least we have this one, courtesy of Dime Magazine:

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