I don’t understand is this culture we’ve created where when part of an institution messes up, the CEO/President/whatever is expected to resign. If an IPO is a bust or a company fails, okay that’s on the head of the company, but with all the scandals surrounding the NFL, it doesn’t make any sense for the media to hound Roger Goodell to step down. The logic is essentially that because you were standing next to the person who got struck by lightning, you are responsible.
At which alchemical moment of transformation did Roger Goodell assume culpability for the inhuman behavior of various members of independent, multimillion dollar franchises? He’s the face that has to soothe the tension and protect the brand. Is that it? We have to sacrifice him for the good of the brand!Think about the reasoning behind that: We don’t mind a good old fashioned witch hunt so long as it protects gargantuan financial institutions and our own unsubstantiated sense of self-righteousness. Oleaginous mother fucker though he may be, Roger Goodell has little to do with violence that is made almost unavoidable by the conditions these players must maintain to succeed. He was just the one standing there when the curtain was pulled back.
After the individual responsibility of the players involved, the first person we should hold accountable is not some arbitrary figurehead of leadership but ourselves, the fans, the people who support and pay the institutions that enable these kinds of things to happen. You can’t consolidate or stave off blame in cultural crises which are too big to lay at any one person’s feet. We’re the ones who love watching monolithic human beings barbarically pummel each other into early onset dementia each week. We’re the ones who fetishize their masculine prowess to such a testosterone laden point that they could snap at any moment. We’re the ones who sweep their immoral behavior under the rug because their value to the franchise outweighs the suffering of others. The NFL provides an institutional framework for this, but none of it can exist without the financial expenditure of the fans, especially the asshats who can’t tell you a headline from last week but know the name, jersey number, and stats of half the NFL.
A similar thing happened with the celebrity nude photo leaks. The same media that played a role in circulating and popularizing the photos turned around the next day and condemned the whole thing as if they hadn’t been the ones feeding the fire in the first place. And then, even more despicably, many columnists and public personalities feigned moral outrage as a means of propping themselves on top of the humiliation of the people involved. These opportunistic shrews and scoundrels should be ashamed to be so sanctimonious with their noses so deep in the shit. “The ‘hacker’ was the terrible human being.” Yeah what he did was wrong, but you jumped in the same boat as him the moment you began grandstanding. And similarly, everyone who looked at, circulated, and talked about the photos took on a degree of culpability in doing so.
What we’re supposed to take away from this is that we are not responsible for our own depravity. There will always be someone to take the fall so long as we remain in our arm chairs guzzling Bud Light, hazily paying attention to the commercials. But our escapism comes at the price of other people’s suffering and so long as we remain content to avoid our own responsibility in the matter, we will never rise to topple the authority of the architects of our unjust system. We will never question the violence at the heart of it all. But we will keep buying our way into complacency. I guess that’s how they intended it. See you on the unemployment line, Roger Goodell!