A few observations regarding the events we're all sick of hearing about:
1. Social media has empowered the public to sway massive organizations where once it could not. A few years ago, the NFL wouldn't have heard the angry voices in reaction to the two game suspension it originally handed Ray Rice for punching his now wife in the face. Rice would be suiting up to play this weekend and the story would have disappeared within another week or two, or after Rice posted a 100-yard rushing performance. There have been many, many incidents of domestic violence in the NFL before Rice jacked a woman in the jaw. Where was the outcry then? It was stifled because there was no Twitter. Social media allowed millions of appalled voices to be heard. Punching a woman in the face is not okay or acceptable. The NFL and its sponsors could not ignore those voices. Now Rice, Peterson and Hardy are essentially suspended indefinitely and the NFL is re-writing its conduct policy. Social media is a powerful thing.
2. Money talks. The NFL was backpedaling a little in response to public outcry, but when the Minnesota hotel pulled its sponsorship of the Vikings after Adrian Peterson was indicted for felonious child abuse, that got the Vikings' attention real quick. Peterson was deactivated immediately. When Anheuser-Busch expressed its concern for the NFL's handling of Rice and Peterson the NFL's back-pedaling got a lot more vigorous.
3. Sports writers on Twitter, with their masses of followers, have a lot of sway. Probably too much. See No. 1 above. If the public at large has a voice, sports writers fan the flames of public opinion. The problem with that is that sports writers aren't always right. Sports writers are guys with 4-year degrees in English who watch a lot of sports and write about it. They don't necessarily share our religious beliefs or our morals, and they have no credentials in counseling or how the legal system works for that matter. What makes a sports writer qualified to be leaders of millions of people on controversial topics regarding morals and virtue? I would argue nothing, but if you look back on Michael Sam, the NFL controversies of late or the latest Jameis Winston debacle, sports writers led the charge. And more interesting than that, the institutions all caved in to the sports writers' demands. It's an interesting world that puts the sports writers in charge. Because sports is so ingrained into the fabric of our society, what happens in sports impacts all of society. Therefore, in a weird way, sports writers now run our society. I know that sounds funny, but there's an element of truth to it that is scary. I don't want to be governed by sports writers (even though I would like to be a sports writer).
4. The most offensive thing about the NFL's recent controversies and FSU's last-minute full-game suspension of Jameis Winston is that these institutions think that by caving to public pressure they can save face. They can't. Roger Goodell will always be the guy who thought that knocking out a woman with the punch of a fist isn't worth more than a 2-game suspension. The FSU administration will forever be known by everyone for believing that winning football games is more important than a rape accusation, stealing or yelling extremely offensive things at women. By kicking Rice out of the league or suspending Winston for a full game at the last minute all the NFL and FSU have shown is that they're scared of public opinion. Being scared of public opinion makes you a coward - not a leader. Fear of public opinion tells us nothing about what you really stand for. It just tells us that you're scared of losing your job. That's why many people have less faith in Roger Goodell than ever before.
Okay, I'm going to try to entertain my kids and watch college football at the same time now. Wish me luck.