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Opening Arguments

Highlight reel

During any hot story, people will use the buzz generated as an opportunity to trot out a pet theory. This is my favorite from this week: NFL is in tatters, and only Condi Rice can save it!

Condoleezza Rice made a startling admission to the New York Times in 2002. The then-national security adviser to President George W. Bush said it was “absolutely right” that she wanted to be commissioner of the National Football League. This was no joke. Rice was serious, but she wanted it to be known that she wouldn’t want to do it “before Paul Tagliabue is ready to step down.”

Well, Tagliabue is long gone and his successor Roger Goodell has made a mess of it. Time for the former secretary of state with an intense love of the game to step in and save the NFL.

We’d all seen the chilling video back in February of Baltimore Raven Ray Rice (no relation to Condi) dragging his unconscious fiancee Janay Palmer off an Atlantic City casino elevator after knocking her out with one punch. For this disgusting display of domestic violence, Goodell slapped Rice with a weak two-game suspension. Last month, Goodell unveiled a new domestic violence policy with tougher penalties. “I didn’t get it right,” Goodell admitted at the announcement.

Personally, I think her talents would be better used by yanking Lurch out of the State Department and putting her back in. She loves the game and probably understands it better than Goodell does:

Rice really loves football, especially because of its similarities to military strategy. “I really consider myself a student of the game,” Rice told the Times in that 2002 interview. “I find the strategy and tactics absolutely fascinating.” And in talking about why she coveted the gridiron gig, the foreign policy expert who served two presidents and was provost of Stanford University said, “I think it would be a very interesting job because I actually think football, with all due respect to baseball, is a kind of national pastime that brings people together across social lines, across racial lines. And I think it’s an important American institution.”

She probably would have kicked Rice's butt out a long time agot, too. That's the thing that's so hard to understand about this story. Everybody knew that Rice was guilty of assault, whether they saw the inside-the-elevator video or not. All that video did was make explicit something a lot of people apparently wanted to push into the background. I agree with the comment from this guy:

The NFL chiefs are going to walk away from this stressing a very important lesson to the league: Don't get caught on tape.