An Open Letter to Roger Goodell

By David G. Firestone

Dear Roger Goodell,

I am an NFL fan, one of millions across the country and the world. I have been following the NFL for years. I am going to ask a question that every fan should be asking you. Why do you hate the fans?

You enforce a series of rules and have made a number of very questionable rulings recently that make it clear that you do in fact, hate your fan base. Let me rephrase that, you hate the fans but love their money. Ticket prices to games are out of control. Tickets for the last row of Soldier Field are $103.54 for one seat! At those prices, a family of four would have to pay $414.16. That’s just for tickets, that does not include parking, food, beverages, and souvenirs. All totaled, it would cost a family $500 to sit so far away from the field. To put that in perspective, that same family could go to a Cubs, White Sox, Bulls AND a Blackhawks game and have money left over!

Ticket prices are skyrocketing and the value doesn’t justify the price, so the question is, why would I go to a game? The answer is I wouldn’t. For the costs of a game, it is cheaper and easier to stay home and watch…oh wait, I can’t. You enforce the blackout rule which means that if 84% of the overpriced tickets are sold, the game cannot be broadcast to the fans in the market. You have really screwed the fans in this respect, it’s too expensive to go to games, but you can’t show the game on television unless 85% of these overpriced tickets are sold!

Let’s say I get a ticket. Let’s say I take a girlfriend with me. Let’s say she wants to take her purse, which is average sized. She can’t take it in because of a ridiculous bag policy implemented in 2013. This was voted on by the The NFL Committee on Stadium Security and I’ll wager a week’s pay that there wasn’t one woman on that committee, because it was passed unanimously. I understand that security is an issue, but you went way too far. You have clearly shown that women aren’t respected as real NFL fans…I’ll get to that in a little bit.

Some of the on-field rules are designed to spite the fans as well. The dunking of a football after a touchdown, the bob and weave, and many other touchdown celebrations that the fans love have been needlessly banned. Thursday Night Football, which was a failure in all respects last year, is not only back, but there are going to be TWO games instead of one. We hate the idea, we make it fail because we hate the idea, and you give us more. You banned teams using multiple helmets over the course of a season stating your concerns about concussions, while at the same time bragging about how you want an 18 game season. In every instance, the fans have reacted negatively, and they are the reason you exist. But what does it matter what the fans want? Again, more proof you hate us, but love our money.

But if we needed anymore proof that you hate us, you gave it to us on Thursday, when you announced that Ray Rice would be suspended for two games and fined 3 checks for a domestic violence incident. Terrelle Prior got a 3 game suspension for selling memorabilia in college, Josh Gordon is in serious trouble for smoking a joint, Ben Roethlisberger got a harsher sentence for a sexual assault accusation, and you suspend Ray Rice for TWO GAMES? Jimmy Haslam conned $54 million in a customer scam, and he gets nothing. Supposedly, you are waiting for the legal system to work this case through, though I have never seen this happen in any other sport, and you didn’t do this for any one of the other cases.

You and the rest of the front office of the NFL have made it clear that you hate women. The Ray Rice incident was horrific to watch! It was the end of a domestic violence incident where he dragged her unconscious body off an elevator, took some stuff off of her, and left. Josh Gordon may lose his entire season because of marijuana, where even the government is lessening it’s grasp on the laws against it. Ray Rice beats the tar out of a woman, leaves her lying in a hallway and is suspended for TWO GAMES?

The cheerleader complaints, that they are paid poorly and are treated like crap only add to this situation. They spend all year working for $100 a game or less? They are given demeaning instructions and rules. They are basically treated like second class citizens. But then again, what should I expect from a league that takes such a lackluster position on domestic abuse? Why do you treat women like objects as opposed to human beings?

I implore you to look at the fans as an asset rather than a burden. We want to be able to come to games! We want to be respected ! We want justice when players break the rules! We want to be entertained at games! We want equality! We want to be a part of the NFL! Please, give us the respect and credit we deserve and stop screwing us over!


A concerned NFL Fan


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