Typically, the question is “Are you ready for some football?” These days, as the NFL is drowning in sea of murky despair and hapless PR, that question would be, “Are you ready for some football…justice?”
It all started with Ray Rice being a despicable coward and knocking his then-fiancée smooth out in an elevator. There was Greg Hardy, who body-slammed his girlfriend onto a bed full of semi-automatic guns (because that’s what you check at the door for NFL parties). There’s Ray McDonald — who is still playing because Goodell is a dope — arrested for beating up his pregnant girlfriend. There is Adrian Peterson, who took the classy way out and left his estranged wife alone, instead opting to “whoop” and scar his 4-year-old son.
And now there’s this: a former NFL general manager says that, over his 30-year career, “hundreds and hundreds” of domestic violence incidents were simply ignored.
This is Jerry Angelo.
For three decades, he had a respected career as an NFL executive, most notably as the GM of the Chicago Bears (hence this photo by Stephen J. Carrera, AP)
Evidently during his career, he saw some things that he has kept bottled up inside. However, given the calamitous crap sandwich Roger Goodell has been forced to eat lately, Angelo was nudged to uncork that thing.
And then he called USA Today.
“I made a mistake. I was human. I was part of it. I’m not proud of it.”
Angelo, who was general manager of the Chicago Bears from 2001 to 2011 and has been out of the league since, said his typical approach after learning of a player’s involvement in a domestic violence case was to inquire, “OK, is everybody OK? Yeah. How are they doing? Good. And then we’d just move on. We’d move on.”
“We knew it was wrong,” Angelo said. “…For whatever reason, it just kind of got glossed over. I’m no psychiatrist, so I can’t really get into what that part of it is. I’m just telling you how I was. I’ve got to look at myself first. And I was part of that, but I didn’t stand alone.”
In this case, “for whatever reason” would be cash money…lots of it. If you had a job at Burger King, it would be easy to go holler at the manager about the fry guy slapping his girlfriend. But, if you are making millions of dollars in the NFL boys club, people tend to look the other way so hard that they strain their neck muscles.
“It was the pictures, it was the video. We had never seen that before. I had never seen video on domestic violence. I think that’s what got everybody’s attention.”
Well, that, and a guilty conscience. And so Angelo is telling all, much to the Bears’ chagrin. The team is predictably towing the company line:
The Bears released a statement denying any knowledge of Angelo’s assertions, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “We were surprised by Jerry’s comments and do not know what he is referring to,” the statement read.
This is the sort of PR crisis that few organizations ever face. The response is likewise one that few organizations would deliver — a colossal flop. Despite it all, Angelo stands by Goodell…if not the league he leads:
Angelo praised Goodell for his integrity — “He would never cover anything up,” he said — but said the league’s failure to obtain the video made it look like “they were just trying to cover their ass.”
Right now, there’s not a pair of jeans in the world large enough to cover an ass as big as the NFL.