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Commissioner Roger Goodell has had several missteps in recent years, including the handling of the Ray Rice case. / Adam Hunger, USA TODAY Sports

The bottom line is all that matters to Roger Goodell and his bosses.

Goodell feigns concern for domestic violence victims, yet it takes a gossip website airing a sickening video of Ray Rice knocking his fiancée out cold for the Baltimore Ravens and NFL to do what should have been done months ago. Goodell feigns concern for the health of current and former players, yet the haggling continues over the worth of men dying from the ravages of brain disease. Goodell feigns concern for alcohol and drug abuse, yet does little until the courts step in.

And the owners happily go along with all of it.

"The way he has handled this situation himself, coming out with the mea culpa in his statement a couple weeks ago, or 10 days ago, and setting a very clear policy of how we conduct ourselves in the NFL, I thought was excellent," New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said of Goodell on CBS This Morning on Tuesday.

Yes, so long as those annual revenues keep climbing toward Goodell's $25 billion goal, the NFL will continue to sell its soul. And Goodell will broker the deal without blinking an eye.

The Rice video has horrified the country, and rightfully so. It's never acceptable to hit a partner, and the callous disregard with which Rice treats Janay Palmer, the mother of his young child and now his wife, is stomach turning.

So, too, is Goodell's handling of the whole affair. The video first aired Monday morning on TMZ, yet it took Goodell until Tuesday night to address it publicly -- first to CBS, which conveniently happens to be broadcasting Thursday night's Steelers-Ravens game. We needn't have held our breath, because Goodell essentially repeated the statement the league had issued Monday, that the NFL had requested to see the video and been rebuffed.

"We asked for it on multiple occasions," Goodell repeated in a telephone interview with USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday night. "We asked law enforcement and they were not willing to provide it. I think they were under some legal requirements not to provide it, as I understand it."

Please. If the NFL didn't see the tape, or at least get a blow-by-blow description of it, it's because it didn't want to.

This, remember, is a league with heavy connections to law enforcement at all levels -- federal, state and local -- and it worked closely with New Jersey officials before last season's Super Bowl. We're supposed to believe it couldn't get the videotape when TMZ somehow could?

Goodell throwing Rice under the bus was priceless, too. Asked why he suspended the running back indefinitely Monday after previously banning him for two games, Goodell told USA TODAY Sports that he hadn't gotten the full story from Rice.

"What we saw was new evidence yesterday that was not consistent with what was described when we met with Ray and his representatives," Goodell said.

Imagine that. A man who displayed such little regard for his fiancee -- and the law -- having little regard for the truth.

As disappointing as Goodell and the NFL's handling of the Rice case is, however, it shouldn't come as a surprise. Earlier this year, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban warned that the NFL had gotten "greedy," predicting an "implosion" in the next 10 years.

"When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way," Cuban said in March. "I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule No. 1 of business."

Cuban was referring to the league expanding its TV schedule, with games now on Sunday and Thursday nights. But he easily could have been talking about Goodell and the league itself.

According to the NFL's own tax returns, the commissioner earned more than $85 million just from 2010 to 2012.

For what, exactly?

A lockout that threatened the start of the 2011 season. A concussion crisis that shows no signs of ending. Replacement refs who botched two games and bungled numerous other calls. Punishments for Bountygate, in which the New Orleans Saints gave bonuses for taking out opposing players, so severe even his predecessor criticized them.

Hardly a glowing track record. But Goodell serves at the pleasure of the owners, and they're too busy counting their money to worry. Or care.

Revenues have jumped from about $8 billion in 2010 to more than $9 billion in 2012, the most recent year for which the NFL's tax returns are available. Franchises are worth an average of $1.43 billion, according to Forbes, a 23 % increase from a year ago and the highest in the 17 years the magazine has tracked team finances.

TV contracts have skyrocketed, as has global interest in the game. Find an arena for a Los Angeles team or, better yet, put a franchise in London, and it'll take a supercomputer to keep track of all the NFL's money.

Just remember that there is always a price to pay. And if Goodell continues to operate as if he's untouchable, even the NFL won't have enough money to foot the bill.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Armour: Goodell shows again that NFL has sold its soul

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