Misguided Arrows

March 17th, 2020

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The NFL naysayers are out in full force.

Pardon Roger Goodell for thinking he can’t do anything right at this point, at least in the minds of his detractors. The league’s decision to proceed with free agency as scheduled has triggered a misguided flurry of criticism.

And while the NFL has rightfully been ripped for some of its decisions during Goodell’s reign as commissioner, the nation’s most popular sports league doesn’t deserve the current scorn directed its way.

Safe selling, explains The Sage of Tampa Bay sports.

I have yet to hear a legitimate health concern about conducting the free-agency period during a coronavirus pandemic that has touched everyone’s lives.

Does anyone believe Tom Brady is going to fly commercial to Tampa if the Bucs want to give him a physical? He’ll hop on a private jet paid for by the Glazers and be examined in a closed setting.

Agents and general managers converse all the time over the phone and those talks will continue and intensify in the next few weeks while deals get made.

No major health concerns here. Wash your hands, keep your distance and sign on the dotted line. Should teams be in a hurry to show off their new additions in a crowded setting at their facility?


That’s a risk. That can wait.

These health issues are manufactured, so in their place, a new phrase has emerged to fuel all this wrath: bad optics.

Unworthy Of The Naughty List

According to this hackneyed theory, it’s just not right to announce players changing teams for lots of cash during a national crisis. The money is so good and the optics are so bad.

You want bad optics? Try this one.

Keanu Reeves made $250 million for starring in “The Matrix” trilogy.

The average annual salary for a Florida public school teacher is $48,168. Add in the fact that Reeves can’t act and we’re overflowing in bad optics. But that’s the way of the world — you’re worth what someone is willing to pay you.

This “bad optics” line is a last resort when you’ve got nothing better to hurl at the NFL shield. If there was no coronavirus virus yet the stock market plunged 30 percent in a week, should the NFL stop doing business?

Has Goodell and his associates made mistakes? Plenty.

They botched the Ray Rice investigation and didn’t handle the Jameis Winston probe in a timely, professional manner. They’ve gone way too long with a 4-game exhibition schedule that no one wants, except for those few players still on the bubble in late August.

In 2012, during a labor impasse with officials, the NFL thought it could get away with using replacement refs at the start of the regular season. The NFL thought wrong. It was a debacle that should have been avoided.

No hate, no hugs, writes Ira Kaufman.

Those are all credible beefs leveled fairly at the league hierarchy, but this latest broadside sounds sanctimonious and manufactured. The league isn’t saying it’s business as usual. If the draft is held in late April, it will be a subdued event — without crowds.

That’s smart. That’s responsible. That’s the right call.

Listening Clearly

But barring health concerns, there was no overriding reason to delay the start of a new league year and usher in free agency. Goodell shouldn’t take a bow for this decision, but he shouldn’t have to defend himself, either.

If Tampa Bay signs a free agent or two on Wednesday, that should not be viewed as irresponsible behavior. It shouldn’t mean the organization is tone deaf.

All it means is this franchise has heard its fan base, loud and clear.

Click on Ira’s nose to start shopping at Bill Currie Ford, Tampa’s first family of Ford for the past 60 years.

21 Responses to “Misguided Arrows”

  1. WorstFans Says:

    Reeves is a lot better than most actors just sayin bruh. Unfortunately half the bucs fans will be upset come the end of this QB lottery.

  2. Swampbuc Says:

    One of your best, Ira.

    That was spot on. Pinpoint.

  3. Rod Munch Says:

    I don’t listen to talk radio since it bores me to death – and I really don’t read many sports sites except for this since it’s been a bit busy lately. The only place I’ve seen any “backlash” is from PFT, who always complain about everything, and always makes everyone a victim of the NFL. It’s just the ambulance chaser mentality that Florro that he can never get away from.

    There is no reason that FA can’t go on because 0.0013% of the population has a virus, of which 99.4% will be OK. Yes, it’s serious, blah blah blah…

  4. Buczilla Says:

    Good article Ira. The NFL is a distraction and it’s nice to have distractions to let your mind wander away from everyday life once in awhile.

  5. Pete I Says:

    Florio’s health takes are even more useless than his legal takes, and the medidiot was a lawyer.

    His screeching and optics nonesense is almost to much to read.

    Spot on Ira…I had at least something if interest to watxh today…

  6. shame Says:

    Of all the entitled rich people you chose to go at John Wick. Good luck Ira! It’s been fun.

  7. WestChap Says:

    We need the distraction. Thank you NFL for not canceling something that need not be affected by pandemic pandemonium.

  8. Clean House Says:

    This Free Agency has been a welcome distraction to help me not go insane from all of this stressful terrible stuff. It’s a small part of my usual routine that I can do from my phone or computer. Thanks NFL!!!!

  9. J Says:

    IRA, ya don’t know jack about Reeves or the art and craft of acting, stay in your sports lane bro or maybe do some actual research. Reeves is the largest giver to charity tensile town has ever seen and he’s a great humanitarian. He’s given more than half of his 360 mill earnings away and he can act to boot.

  10. #1 Pick QB 2 Cent Brain Says:

    While Keanu is an awful actor who makes semi entertaining movies for those that like senseless action movies Ira is right you are only worth what someone is willing to pay you.

    Which looks like not much for Jameis…

  11. Hethrew 30 Says:

    The health national emergency is not overblown. and considering the size and scope of what this all is, the federal government and local governments along with the private sector are doing pretty well. Think of the impact of a major hurricane actually coming to Florida and multiply that worldwide. The govenment response is not overblown, and many working class people and particularly the elderly and sick will be badly hurt. The only real issue is people need to try to avoid panic, and the media should avoid fomenting that. So while the government is being serious and stern, and rightuflly so, the NFL is just fine in doing what they are doing. This will likely not peak for several weeks and doing business as normal as is safe makes sense. Ira is right. Mike Florio is an idiot. So are those worried about optics instead of hard nosed actions.

  12. Hodad Says:

    Somethings got to kill ya. Whether it’s a car wreck, heart attack, cancer, the Grim Reaper comes in many forms, this is just one other. Be careful, but don’t hide in a closet. What good is life if it’s not worth living? NFL offseason is all we got sports wise. Don’t take that away.

  13. Bucsfanman Says:

    I, for one, am enjoying this little distraction from all the doom and gloom. Keep up the good work Mr. Goodell!

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    No legitimate health reason to delay……exactly…

    If Florida can hold it’s primary today……NFL FA is minimal compared to that.

  15. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    Ira taking up for the NFL…minus the laundry list of their many botches towards the end of the article. I like it. I also like “John Wick”…so I agree to disagree there. Don Rickles is probably more of Ira’s cup of tea…and I respect that. The free agency period remaining intact is not a case of tone deafness. Teams knew going in who they coveted. The 2nd and 3rd wave guys will sign in due time like they always do. Pushing the start back would have caused even more chaos/uncertainty.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    @Rod … “There is no reason that FA can’t go on because 0.0013% of the population has a virus, of which 99.4% will be OK. Yes, it’s serious, blah blah blah…”

    No, not blah blah blah Rod. That’s exactly the kind of attitude that can cause this current COVID-19 situation to turn into an out-of-control pandemic. Yes the elderly are being impacted the most (by far) in terms of the death statistics, but everyone is impacted in one way or another. Some much more seriously than others. We can beat this, but not if people downplay the threat that it represents.

  17. Big O Says:

    No contract is worth the risk

  18. adam Says:

    Lay off Keanu, he’s a national treasure!!

  19. NPRSageBoy. Says:

    Great column as always, Ira.

    I do, however, have a question:

    Can John Wick play QB?

    Peace, out

  20. Mister Negative Nancy Says:

    I’m actually quite grateful to the NFL that in these bad times they give us entertainment and distraction for a bit. It’s not like there’s any sports to watch. People need something.

  21. John Sinclear Says:

    I see no reason why a free agent should be barred from hopping on a private jet and going to a team facility, if all parties are willing participants. Team facilities are probably the medically safest places to meet, barring meeting in a hospital.

    It’s Goodell playing “God-ell” – Again !!