He’s no longer a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but safety Ryan Clark remains a member of the Roger Goodell Watchdog Group.
On the Tuesday morning edition of “First Take”, Clark, who signed with the Washington Redskins during the offseason, was critical of the way that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has handled Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who was arrested back in March for allegedly operating a vehicle while intoxicated, but yet to be disciplined by the league.
“Right now, if Jim Irsay is going to represent this league, represent the Indianapolis Colts, going to be on TV at the owners meetings, trying to bring a Super Bowl to Indianapolis after what he’s done? It shows the hypocrisy of the NFL and also Roger Goodell in the way that he deals with players and the way he deals for the people he works for,” Clark said.
“He’s always said, ‘Well, I don’t work for the owners.’ That’s not true. Because in the CBA negotiations, you were sitting with the owners.”
Goodell was reportedly asked about Irsay’s situation this week while in Atlanta, GA for the owners’ meetings and the commissioner said, “There have been no charges. So the answer is, until we have more information or more facts, we will let it play out.”
That response didn’t sit well with Clark, who quickly pointed out that his former teammate, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, was suspended by Goodell in April of 2010 for six games less than two months after he was accused of sexual misconduct at a nightclub in a Georgia college town. Roethlisberger was ultimately never charged with any crime.
“So when has having enough information been what Roger Goodell waits for to make these decisions?” Clark said. “When does a charge necessarily warrant the penalty? We’ve seen in so many cases, Roger Goodell being judge and jury when it comes to players.
“I was on a team with a player that was never actually charged. There were accusations and allegations, but he was never actually charged, nor arrested.”
Clark pointed to Irsay’s history of substance abuse and the fact that a large sum of money and prescription drugs that weren’t in his name were found in his possession when he was pulled over and arrested as reasons why Goodell should have already made a ruling on the Colts owner.
“What more information do we need than these aren’t your prescription pills? You’re obviously under the influence. You have $29k. There would be no questions asked if this was a player,” he said.
Clark, who was elected to the NFLPA’s Executive Committee back in March, certainly makes a strong argument and it certainly hits home to him being as was on a team that suffered losing its starting quarterback for four games due to a rush of judgment by the commissioner. Goodell could have and should have waited several more weeks for the police in Georgia to wrap up their investigation into the accusations against Roethlisberger before issuing a punishment. The fact that the Steelers quarterback was never arrested or charged with a crime, still makes Goodell look like a fool.
It will be interesting to see how Goodell handles Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after it was reported on Tuesday that he will be allowed to enter a pre-trial intervention program which should prevent criminal charges for the alleged assault of his wife in a casino elevator back in February. It’s already been three months since that incident happened and unlike with Roethlisberger’s alleged incident, there’s actually some pretty damning video footage associated with the Rice incident.
I hope Redskins fans get used to Clark being on ESPN.