[SCENE: Interior, NFL Headquarters. Uneaten pizzas litter the tables as men in suits nervously check their blackberries for updates on the DOW, emails from their assistants, and missives from their mistresses. The room is silent save the clicking from their outdated keyboards and the nearly imperceptible wheezing emanating from the larger of the employees, sweat silently scurrying down their foreheads and nestling in their jowls.]
/DOOR FLIES OPEN
Gentlemen, please be seated. And when I’m done talking, you may all have some of the congealed pizza.
[CHORUS OF “THANK YOU, SIR” FOLLOWS]
We have another situation. In the course of upholding our most sacred obligation, defending the shield against all threats textile and otherwise, we fined William Gay for wearing the wrong colored cleats in honor of his mother, who was killed in a domestic violence incident. We are being accused of hypocrisy given the emphasis we’ve placed on domestic violence over the last year or so. Now, we have managed to weather the controversy with Cam Heyward’s uniform violation, but we cannot be lenient on William Gay. I mean, we’re on the same side as Colin Cowherd on the Heyward fine, which is vindicating, and the Gay violation (:snickers:) is even more egregious! Gentlemen, he wore PURPLE CLEATS. Obviously he was making a not so subtle statement about the integrity of the league following the Ray Rice matter. Our integrity–mine in particular–is beyond reproach!
[CHORUS OF “SIR, OF COURSE, SIR!”]
We need to hold strong and enforce this uniform violation fine, and any other righteous fine for any player who believes that he can break the rules just because his mom died due to a cause we market that the NFL cares about! That kind of arrogance from the serfs will not be tolerated! We must crush their insolence to protect the shield! Is everyone with me?
[CHORUS OF “SIR, YES, SIR!”]
Excellent, but I thought I heard something in the distance.
[SOFTLY, A LOW “BOOOOOO” CRESCENDOS FROM THE WINDOW]
Who dares to boo the Ginger Hammer?!
[“BOOOOOOO” GROWS LOUDER]
That’s it, I’ve had enough of this insubordination. Everyone out, and no pizza for any of you!
[EVERYONE BUT GOODELL LEAVES, AND NO SHIT, SOMEONE NEEDS TO CHECK OUT THIS BOOOOOOing]
Guess I’ll go look and see if that noise is coming from the window over there…
/WINDOW FLIES OPEN
Boo! Are you deaf and stupid? I’ve been booing since Wednesday.
Who the hell are you?
Don’t care about me in life or death, do you asshole? I’m the ghost of Deangelo Williams’s mom, Sandra Hill. With Halloween drawing nigh and you still being an insensitive taintsniffer, I’m here to haunt you and show you the error of your ways. You’re probably not going to learn a lesson since you were born with a silver spoon lodged firmly in your colon, but my son keeps paying your fines, and you should be reminded that there is another way.
There is no other way! The shield and our profits must be protected at all costs. I’m sorry that you died of….what was it again?
Breast cancer you useless shard of grundle cheese! You know, the thing that kills over 40,000 American women every year that you pretend to care about each October. Look, you’re going to get visited by some more ghosts. So watch the fuck out, and try and learn something.
/GHOST FLIES BACK OUT THE WINDOW
Whew, that was creepy. Good thing she’s gone and I can just go back to counting my money and, based on my facial expression, taking a huge shit.
[A NEW “BOOOOOOOOOO” RISES FROM OUTSIDE]
/DIFFERENT WINDOW FLIES OPEN
Boo, bitch. I’m the ghost of football past, Ironhead Heyward. As a ghost, I know you already talked about my son honoring my memory and you being a douchenozzle about it. But I’m here to show you an alternate present. One where I don’t get brain cancer and die at 39. No, this reality is one where I am alive but ravaged by CTE from years of, you know, earning the nickname Ironhead. Then my son would wear “CTE KILLED MY DAD” on his eye black, and what the fuck would you do about it then, Mr. Commissioner?
Fine him for a uniform violation, obviously.
Shit, you really don’t get it, do you? Maybe another ghost can get through to you, I don’t have time for this BS.
/IRONHEAD GHOST FLIES OUT THE WINDOW, DRAGS FOUR OLD TIMEY PACKERS DEFENDERS WITH HIM OUT SAID WINDOW
/WINDOW FLIES OPEN
Hey, Ginga Commish, BOO! Before you ask, I’m Brandon Marshall, the ghost of football present, and I’m not dead, I’m just using the term “ghost” ironically because I’m the non-Von Miller football hipster. You may also remember me from when you decided green shoes for mental health awareness merited a $10,500 fine. Maybe you missed it, but earlier this week, I publicly expressed concern about the Cowboys, and by extension the entire NFL, in failing Greg Hardy by ignoring his challenges off the field because he contributes on it. This is the NFL over which you preside right now–one where the NFL treats it players like commodities, ignoring the physical, psychological, and financial challenges that abound as long as the money flows in for you and the owners. But we are real people. We’re paying a mortal price for playing this game, and you can’t enable bad behavior for the talented players while coming down hard on others and trying to gloss over all it with a thin veneer of PR that even your most die-hard fans reject as they guiltily consume a product they both love and loathe simultaneously. You have the power to change this, Commissioner Goodell. Stop fighting battles over eye black, pink undershirts, and purple shoes. Focus instead on repairing the integrity of how the NFL relates to its players and fans. This is America’s greatest game. Give it the respect it deserves, and start with the participants on the field. If you treat us like human beings, we will respond in kind, and the fans will respond.
Oh, screw this, I’m outta here. At least 1-3 of us have turned our lives around!
/BMarsh flies out window
Heh, that was weird that bulked up Urkel stopped bye.
[In the distance, a strained female voice rises to a forlorn BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO]
/WINDOW FLIES OPEN
Booo-ow! I guess that’s better than an elevator door flying open. Mr. Commissioner, I am Janay Rice, née Palmer. I am the ghost of football future.
But you mean ghost the way Jets’ Urkel used it, right?
No, Commissioner, I mean that in the future where your behavior continues unabated, I’m dead. I apologize for depressing you and for my role in my death, but under your watch, people weren’t allowed to raise awareness of domestic abuse. Between that signal to William Gay and the message sent by you and your owners by standing behind Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald, Bruce Miller, Josh McNary, Junior Gallette…
I get the point, Janay.
Do you, Commissioner? Because the list goes on. My blood is on your hands. And I apologize for my role in staining your hands. But for real, this is the future you are creating for football by being upset when someone modifies a uniform for a cause but not giving a shit when there is a real problem in your league. There are countless men in your employ who beat women, and you’re fine with it when it’s not on tape. But when someone takes a public stand against domestic violence, they are punished for violating your uniform code. That callous bullshit reinforces that any player that is good enough can be protected no matter what they do. As a result, nothing changes, and women like me die. What do you think of that, Mr. Commissioner?
/Ghost Janay flies back out the window
Wow, am I really that big of an asshole? Am I really to blame for all these ails? The owners always tell me what a good job I’m doing, that I’m the best Senator’s son to ever protect the shield. But maybe, just maybe it’s time for me to take responsibility.
[Goodell takes out a length of rope, steps onto a bench, and removes a small Swiss army knife with “CEG” emblazoned on it. He carves something into the support beam in the middle of the conference room, loops the rope around his neck, and steps off of his bench, fighting against the spasms until the fight and life both subside, leaving a dangling ginger shell.]
/DOOR FLIES OPEN
Aw, crap. Time to Weekend at Bernie’s this doofus.
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