Late last week, there were reports that the NFL could and would fine the Dallas Cowboys $250K because the Cowboys had 3 players suspended for 4 or more games at the start of the 2016 season. That was the first time I had heard of that provision of the NFL rules and I wondered if this was something that had always been in place – and never hit the public spotlight – or if this was a new provision of the rules as more scrutiny on player anti-social behaviors has increased. In any case, I did not try to go and od that research because I was immediately confronted with another aspect of this report:
What a feckless and meaningless punishment this is!
Annually, Forbes evaluates sporting franchises and puts a value on them. The latest estimate I can find for the Cowboys is $3.2B. Forbes also does an annual listing of the net worth of the country’s richest folks. The latest estimate I can find for Jerry Jones is $5B.
Now the NFL is going to fine someone – maybe the Cowboys and maybe Jerry Jones himself that was not clear – $250K for this violation of the rules. Nominally, one of the reasons for fines or punishments in general is to provide some measure of deterrent. The rule should be in place for a good and sufficient reason and in this case I guess you could say that it is in the NFL’s best interest to present a sociable face to the public rather than an anti-social face to the public. So, on the assumption that this issue is worthy of making a rule over, one has to consider what might or might not be a deterrent to teams or owners when it comes to breaking that rule.
Now, go back and look at those numbers. The fine of $250K is meaningless to either the Cowboys or to Jerry Jones. Consider:
The Cowboys average attendance is in the neighborhood of 75,000 folks for 8 home games every year. Assume that only 10,000 cars/vans/etc. are driven to each game and parked for the game. If the parking fee were $25, the Cowboys would take in $250K for each game simply in parking fees.
Oh, they probably get more cars driven to each game and you can be sure the average car pays more than $25 to park there…
Now if the fine is personally going to Jerry Jones instead of the Cowboys, please consider his approximate net worth of $5B and what a $250K fine might mean to him. Reducing this to numbers we may all be able to relate to, imagine that you had a bank account with 5 thousand dollars in it and you were issued a fine of 25 cents. Would that fine make you sit up and take notice and say to yourself that you better shape up, bucko, because this sort of assault on the exchequer cannot be sustained?
The fine is meaningless. Given that the fine is meaningless, there is no deterrent to the Cowboys or to Jerry Jones to do anything differently tomorrow than they did yesterday. That has to mean that this is not all that important to the NFL and that raises the question why this rule is there in the first place.
Take yourself back in time a couple of years when the Miami Dolphins were the center of attention in the football world because of the bullying allegations made by Jonathan Martin with regard to his offensive line teammates. One of the outcomes from all of that was that the Dolphins fired their OL coach, Jim Turner and one of the revelations of the investigations done in that matter revealed that Turner had purchased inflatable sex-dolls for the players as Christmas presents. Coach Turner has not been involved with football for the last couple of years; I have no idea if that was a self-imposed exile or if no team or coaching staff would get within a country mile of him. It really makes no difference.
This year, Jim Turner got a job as the OL coach at Texas A&M. Assuming that he is good at what he does as an OL coach – I have no idea if that is the case or not and really do not care – restarting his career progression at a major SEC school makes good sense. What does not make good sense is getting back in the news rather quickly and in a not-so-positive light.
Turner – and another assistant coach for the Aggies – are now suspended without pay and have been directed by the university to perform community service hours for “inappropriate comments they made at an event for female fans.”
According to reports, the comments included juvenile changes in the school fight song to “fire-up” the female fans and the lessons provided to the female fans about the game of football were laced with double-entendre and sexual innuendo to include descriptions such as:
Never bend over
You don’t want to end up on your back
Let me be clear; this is not sexual predation in any way. Let me be equally clear; this is the sort of stuff that would get junior high school boys gigging on a playground somewhere. This attempt at comedy – and I am giving them the benefit of the doubt that all they were trying to do was to be funny – is hopelessly lame and has no place in a university setting. In the realm of “Thank God for small favors”, perhaps we can be glad he did not bring any of his inflatable dolls to the event put on especially for female fans.
Memo to Coach Turner – and the other suspended assistant coach: If you want to do edgy comedy, get out of the football business. If you want to be in the football business, drop the edgy comedy.
Finally, here is a comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
“Hockey Hall of Fame finally inducted Eric Lindros, out of the NHL since 2007, after passing him over six times. Must have had a hell of a retirement year!”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………