In case you didn't watch last night's 1st round of the NFL Draft (and apparently a good number of you didn't), one of the bigger storylines was Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil, widely projected as one of the premier talents in the draft and a surefire top of the round pick (many projecting him to go 1st overall to the Titans), slipping all the way down to 13, where he was selected by the Miami Dolphins, because of a leaked video of Tunsil smoking marijuana out of a gas mask. In a parallel incident, Tunsil's Instagram account revealed a text he sent requesting money from Ole Miss assistant athletic director John Miller for rent and so Tunsil's mother could pay her electric bill, a violation of NCAA rules. Both of these leaks were allegedly due to hacks, but regardless some teams took him off their draft boards entirely and the slip down to 13 from potentially 1st overall could end up costing Tunsil millions in contract salary.
Not the best way to enter into a new job.
Whether or not you find a college kid smoking a little weed and asking the athletic program he helps to make insanely profitable for a little cash so his mother could keep the lights on reprehensible and worth the scrutiny is up to you; I'm not here to preach or politicize. But the bottom line is that the leaks did legitimate damage to Tunsil's career and cost him a lot of money. He'll ultimately be fine, and the Dolphins got a great prospect, but the fact remains that a player lost some serious capital last night.
Luckily for Tunsil, his new boss Roger Goodell had his back:
"I think it’s all part of what makes the draft so exciting. Clubs make decisions. Sometimes they take risks. Sometimes they do the right things. Sometimes they don’t, and we’ll see. Hopefully he is going to turn out to be a great young player."
In other words, the stress and trauma of someone trying to ruin the life, and possibly the career, of a 21-year old kid who, God forbid, had a little fun in college and wanted to make sure his mom had electricity, is a great part of why we all tune in to watch the draft. It's all part of the spectacle and the excitement. That a kid who has clearly struggled economically lost more that $7 million due to last night's events is just good TV. That is what Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, had to say about the whole thing.
Is Goodell wrong? For one of the first times ever, he actually isn't. The Tunsil situation was interesting and a compelling storyline that we paid attention to the way we pay attention to all conflict and drama in this current media landscape.
But is that even remotely the right thing to say as commissioner of the league? As this guy's new boss? Are you kidding me?
That Goodell is so unbelievably tone-deaf to the overall culture and attitude about himself and what he is doing to this sport, that he can just put that smile on and say whatever he wants and know he has complete immunity because we'll never stop watching and he keeps the cash coming in, never ceases to amaze. Just when you think you've seen it all with this guy, he out-buffoons himself. If something bad had happened to me that cost me a lot of money and my new boss said, "stuff like that sure does make life interesting!", I'd be out the door. But Goodell just marches along as if nothing ever happened. Unreal.
I'm sure that Goodell will backtrack, flip-flop, and offer a "clarifying statement" later on today or over the weekend, because that's simply what he does - says or does something stupid, sees how the public reacts, and then immediately doubles down or changes course depending on Twitter. But the fact that he even thought for a second something like this was acceptable to say, that his attitude towards Tunsil's situation was such a thinly veiled commentary on how it's good for the NFL because it keeps people watching and thus makes football profitable, is yet another item on the ever-growing list of reasons why he needs to go. The man just doesn't understand anything.
Laremy, welcome to the NFL and to the AFC East. I'm looking forward to seeing you play twice a year, and I hope that you have a great career as a professional football player. I'm sorry you had to deal with that nonsense, and I'm sorry that your boss is an incompetent boob. But you'll get through it, and may you flourish in all things going forward.
Except when you play the Patriots. Then I hope you stink.
Because that would be interesting, wouldn't it?