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All of Roger Goodell's 'Transparency' Talk Doesn't Keep Him from Covering Up What Jameis Winston Did

SourceWhen word first emerged of a potential three-game suspension for Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston coupled with a report that Winston likely won’t appeal, it felt like the result of a negotiated compromise. …

The NFL, through its in-house media operation, announced the three-game suspension … through the release of a statement from Winston. Obviously, the statement from Winston doesn’t delve into the details of what the league concluded that he did to justify the suspension.

Next came the NFL’s statement on the issue, with the specific misconduct buried at the bottom of the fourth paragraph and limited to this assertion: “touching [a female Uber driver] in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent.”

So where is the letter that the league sent to Winston explaining the basis for the punishment? You know, the multi-page letter outlining everything he did wrong, signed by an NFL executive?

Last August, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott received a six-page letter chronicling his alleged misdeeds, and it was quickly made available to the media. …

In Winston’s case, no letter has been issued or leaked, and no conference calls to discuss the details have been scheduled. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in response to the question of whether the letter will be released, “I don’t think so.”

So what’s going on here? The explanation may be simple, and obvious. This is the first NFL player suspension for sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era, and the league, the Buccaneers, and Winston realize that a detailed letter like the one Elliott received could light a fuse that blows up Winston’s entire career.

Like Kayce said yesterday, only in the NFL can a guy get suspended a year (Martavis Bryant) for taking a bong hit but three games (Winston) for sexually assault. So it’s only natural to expect that those of us who live outside the Bizarro World on Park Ave would be curious as to the thought process on this one. That the league would clue in its paying customers. You know, those people to whom justice follows the simple rule that you punish someone badly when they do something really bad and go easy on them when they do something not so bad. Treat felonies like felonies and misdemeanors like misdemeanors. You’d think this would be the perfect time to do what they’ve done in literally every other case: Explain their rationale.

But rationales require rational thinking. And if they’d applied some here, God knows they’d never shut up about it. But the silence says more than a long press release or a press conference ever could. Remember when Roger Goodell cocked up the Ray Rice attack on his wife so badly? He wasn’t about to come out and say “Look idiots. Ray is the spokesman for M&T Bank, who own the naming rights to the Ravens stadium. Steve Bisciotti takes me golfing at Augusta National. Connect the dots. Do you think I’m going to fuck up a sweet deal like that?” Instead what we got was a  presser in which the CommissionerBot was programmed to keep repeating phrases like “got it wrong” and “doing better.” And … transparency. Gobs and gobs of talk about transparency. From now on, everything was going to be out on the open. No more secrets. A fair and honest process with nothing to hide.

About that…

Which brings us, as everything does eventually, to Deflategate. What did Der Commmissar immediately do with the Colts and his own league employee Mike Kensil conspiring in a sting operation to “catch” the Patriots cheating? Lateraled the ball to Ted Wells to conduct his investigation in private. Then spent the next five months saying he couldn’t answer questions about it. While allowing his underlings to leak out any detail – true or false – that made the Patriots look guilty.

Remember how Tom Brady needed to turn over his personal phone and emails? In the name of transparency? And “collecting all the facts”? And when we saw his emails there was nothing in there more incriminating than the price of his pool cover and him saying Peyton Manning has two more years left in football (which was 100 percent accurate). How about Brady’s appeal in front of Goodell, which Dear Leader demanded to keep secret? And it was Brady’s lawyers who leaked the transcript.

And now we’ve got Mr. Transparency making goddamned sure that the franchise player of one of his ownership pals Shahid Khan doesn’t get exposed for how he grabbed the bathing suit area of a total stranger. Because God forbid we get the truth he loves to promise us. Not it if risks him damaging one of his cronies when women by the thousands start showing up to Buccaneers games in Pussy Hats. No sale. Transparency means we get to know exactly what Der Fuhrer wants us to hear. Ezekiel Elliot might have done something we can’t prove but here’s a grandstanding six page memo about how we hate violence against women. Jameis Winston admits to doing something, but what exactly it was is none of your business. Now shut up everyone and buy some officially licensed pink merchandise.