“An Abdication Of Responsibility”

June 26th, 2020

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In its hour of crisis, the NFL has apparently decided to punt.

According to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, the NFL is likely to refrain from setting a league-wide policy regarding fan turnout this fall.

“Attendance will be a state-by-state, county-by-county thing,” an unnamed source told Kaplan. “It will not be a one size fits all.”

Given the fluid nature of the ongoing pandemic, that plan could change in the coming weeks, even before players report to team facilities for training camp in a month. But for right now, the league’s decision makers on Park Avenue are in no mood to make a decision.

Roger Goodell and his think tank would rather pawn off any attendance policy on local authorities. At first glance, this seems to be a logical stance because COVID-19 rates vary widely from state to state, and even within counties in the same state.

Ira wants a firm stance on attendance from Roger Goodell

But what about the NFL’s oft-stated commitment to competitive balance?

Let’s assume you’re a fan of the Houston Texans. Your favorite team kicks off the NFL regular season Sept. 10 at Arrowhead against the defending champion Chiefs. Noting the prevailing coronavirus data in Missouri, Kansas City officials could allow for a full stadium.

Ten days later, when the Texans play their home opener against the Ravens, let’s assume Houston’s COVID numbers are still soaring. At that point, Harris County officials would feel pressure to limit or possibly eliminate fan attendance completely at NRG Stadium.

That’s not a level playing field … not even close.

In a league which closely monitors stadium signage, grass height and the length of players’ socks to ensure uniformity, this dereliction of duty won’t fly. The NFL shield is supposed to shield the league from charges of bias in favor of particular franchises.

Whether the NFL decides to play all 256 games without any fans in the house is the league’s prerogative — but at least it’s a policy.

Should the NFL decree a maximum of 50 percent of stadium capacity for each team. That’s a policy.

Shifting the onus to local authorities isn’t a policy. It’s an abdication of responsibility.

Who knows what this punk move would mean for Raymond James Stadium?

Let’s remember that Gov. Ron DeSantis publicly courted sports leagues to re-open in Florida, welcoming the NBA to Orlando with open arms and an open checkbook.

What home field advantage?

It’s hard to imagine Florida officials clamping down on thousands of Buc supporters eager to see their team play in person, especially with all the enthusiasm regarding Tom Brady and the 2020 season.

Maybe it’s a moot point because the Bucs haven’t fared well at home since 2009 — with no restrictions on crowd size.

These are extraordinary circumstances for all of us. There are difficult decisions to be made at the crossroads of public health and economic prosperity, but America’s most popular and lucrative sport is expected to lead by example.

Right or wrong, make a call. Don’t wimp out. You’re the National Football League.

Set some guidelines. Grow a pair.

Don’t punt.

Enjoy Mike Alstott’s interview earlier this month on the Ira Kaufman Podcast.

Bill Currie Ford
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Ira Kaufman’s column is presented by Bill Currie Ford, where stunning offers and 0% interest rates await you. Click on Ira to visit BillCurrieFord.com. GM Sean Sullivan will help you personally in every way he can.

37 Responses to ““An Abdication Of Responsibility””

  1. Hawk Says:

    If Tampa city council decides that there will be *no* fans in the stands, this will work in the Bucs’ favor. They play much better when they think it’s not a ‘home’ game.

  2. Travis Aldrin Says:

    How is it wimping out to allow local policies to dictate? Wimping out would be to have the flagship sports league in the USA completely cower. Can’t we just all make our own decisions about whether we take the risk to participate in public life? Why do we need a one size fits all policy imposed by a large governing body? This is why we have issues. We punt our own personal responsibility to our “higher powers” and then wonder why we have such an entitled and irresponsible society.

  3. TampaTown Says:

    There are a million scenarios. I’m over talking about it.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Why leave it up to the possibility of one Governor or Mayor dictating how the entire league acts?

    Lets say, for example the Mayor of Detroit declares that there can be no fans in the stands for Lions games…….then the entire NFL would have to follow suit….

    No thanks……

  5. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    Frankly, leaving stadiums to follow local policy IS a guideline. It would be totally unfair to cities who are filling stadiums to tell them that they have to lose money to match wonky SJW policies of jackboot officials in other cities.

  6. The sad truth Says:

    Shifting the onus to local authorities isn’t a policy. It’s an abdication of responsibility……

    Ahh NFL is taking the ol’ US Government route.

  7. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    Ira, let’s be real. The shield may have punted now. They won’t punt in the Fall, if there’s a season. It will be either fans or no fans throughout the entire league.

  8. Ship Thief Says:

    Thanks for the article.
    Good to see someone actually using their head when the speak!

  9. Durango 95 Says:

    Or how about we forget about this nanny state mentality and for those that want to go to the game can assume the risk on their own and make decisions as adults rather than looking for a decree to be handed down from some “all knowing” overlord.

    The death rate amongst those that are not of 75+ or have comorbidities is essentially none existent. You literally have a greater chance of being struck by lightning. By and large those that are not amongst the high risk groups generally don’t know when they’ve even contracted the Wuhan Flu . They might get the sniffles and feel under the weather for a few days. But nothing more. Wake the hell up people!

    Regardless, all decisions whether it be football or government should always be local.

  10. Leighroy Says:

    It’s the 2nd quarter in this game, heck yes you punt the decision for now.

    In February no one was as “concerned” as they are now. Now, its June and (meaningful) games don’t start until September. The policy in September could be different than December too for that matter.

    If FL and TX can teach us anything, it’s that no one can predict where the next hotspot might be or whether anyone is truly out of the woods yet.

  11. Ship Thief Says:


    It’s hard to keep up with everyone’s tantrums on this site.

    That “all knowing overlord” sounds terrifying!

    Who are you even talking about?

    I want to avoid that guy!


    Are you saying you are against fascism?

  12. Ship Thief Says:


    One gets used to it (sorta) after awhile.

  13. Don_RyJo(e) Says:

    This policy makes no sense. So thousands of fans of a team located in a heavy-hit state (coronavirus) can flock to attend an away game at the stadium of a home team in a state lucky enough to be spared (few cases) without any limitations…and nobody sees a problem with this? I know the NFL prides itself on it’s parity, but geez…

  14. Bucsfanman Says:

    Leadership starts at the top. The NFL is just doing what everybody else is because they’re afraid to make a decision.
    It’s a direct reflection of the need for optics over actual substance.
    Why would anyone be surprised by this?!

  15. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Can’t imagine fans being kept out of stadiums in Green Bay or Buffalo

  16. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    Ok Joe, at least you wiped out the comments by those on the other side as well as mine. “Kumbaya my Lord, Kumbaya”

  17. ModHairKen Says:

    I’m bored with it already. You don’t want to go, don’t go. Ira, stop whining.

  18. Ship Thief Says:

    Only the boring get bored.

  19. adam from ny Says:

    it’s punting season…

    but getting closer and closer everyday to making a league wide call…

    best bet is to go every last step to pulling off the football season with covid19 running wild…

    it can possibly happen…


    keep the stands empty…

    focus on everything to keep players and team personnel healthy..

    and have a tv seen football season…

    #CovidIsInControl #ItsAyeCovidWorld

  20. adam from ny Says:

    by the way it looks like ndog joined tjmaxxcon…

    they hopped in a canoe and have paddled down the river

  21. jb Says:

    Travis, well said. Ira and Joes, alwaya a good read but in my opinion, no way this is a punk move. Life ain’t always fair and good luck in finding that perfectly level playing field. I wanna see some football no matter what condition the field is in.

  22. Ship Thief Says:

    Good riddance ndog and tmax!

  23. DBS Says:

    Well at least you can tell the people that sit around and listen to Limbaugh and the rest of the political garbage all day.

  24. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I’ve pretty much already lost my enthusiasm for the 2020 season.

    Ira’s piece strikes on what has bothered or concerned me from the beginning…competitive balance.

    There’s the simple luck involved in the Covid lottery. You can do things to mitigate the risk but not eliminate. It’s a virtual certainty that some players will get it during the season.

    If it was as simple as putting that guy in quarantine for two weeks and then bringing him back…but what if he infected three more and they…you can see where this could go downhill quickly.

    What if TB12 gets the Covid? Is that impossible. What if it’s Mahomes the week before the playoffs begin and the Chiefs have to try and defend their SB without their best player for two weeks?

    In my mind this season already has a giant ASTERISK next to it. It’s just hard to make it count in my mind. Any title would have that asterisk.

  25. Sport Says:

    Whiners Whine.
    Doers Do.

    In BA I Trust!

  26. Seminole Bill Says:

    It would be foolish for the NFL to allow fans in the stands this year; make this a TV season only. Here in Florida, it is hot in September-October. Wearing a mask may stop the spread but those masks will only stay on for one quarter at best until people flock to the air conditioning or shaded areas to cool off. Then, off come the masks.

  27. mark2001 Says:

    Seminole..it is already 95 and hasn’t touched the virus. So what is “hot”? 120 degrees.

    So these kind of decisions only make it more likely we won’t see a complete season. Hate to see the wheels fall off the cart this season, but Over 40000 new cases daily, and setting new American records daily. But then, I guess when the teams do what they choose, you can’t blame it on the league office if this season does fall apart. And that is the point…this decision leaves the blame on the owners. Abdication of responsibility. Ira is on the money..again.

  28. Stanglassman Says:

    This is like Dad saying ‘ask Mom’ when he already knows Mom is going to say no but doesn’t want to be the bad guy. No city in their right mind would be so irresponsible to allow their citizens to attend College or NFL games this year. That is if there is a season at all.

  29. mark2001 Says:

    Stan…pretty accurate…but further..it is about accepting responsibility. If things go south, the plan is to blame the owners for making poor decisions, not the league office.

  30. Steven007 Says:

    I wonder where Munch is, preaching to us all that the heat and humidity will stop the virus in its tracks…

  31. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    adam from ny Says:
    “By the way it looks like ndog joined tjmaxxcon… They hopped in a canoe and have paddled down the river.”

    At least a 3-man canoe, because DB55 is also missing in action.

  32. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    DBS Says:
    “Well at least you can tell the people that sit around and listen to Limbaugh and the rest of the political garbage all day.”

    People who spend more time worrying about the future, than keeping up with the latest “important” music craze.

  33. Jon Says:

    I’m tired of all the mask wearing , virtue signaling bs that keeps being thrown around. Bottom line, play the games. Let people come who want to. Personally I dont think they should even test. I doubt the tests are accurate. Magically I think youd simply have a season. If someone gets sick they dont play etc. My guess is zero of them die or get hospitalized. and life goes on. Instead we will hear every dramatic case about someone testing positive, fear mongering bs. Sick of it, the media and the thing. 21.5 million people and supposedly 100k cases…..realistically I’d bet it’s not even half that.

  34. Cobraboy Says:

    @Jon: can you imagine if EVERY seasonal flu case was tracked with the same tenacity and hysteria as the fear porn producers are doing with CV19?

  35. unbelievable Says:

    We we always knew Goodell was gutless. No surprise there.

    People still comparing in to the flu huh? Flu averages about 20 – 30k deaths per year in this country. Covid is already over 120k in just a few months.

    Pull your collective heads out of your collective a$$es and just wear a dang mask when you’re inside. It ain’t that hard, and no it’s not infringing on your freedoms either.

  36. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    “People still comparing in to the flu huh? Flu averages about 20 – 30k deaths per year in this country. Covid is already over 120k in just a few months.”


    And yet, even though the population has remained constant, total numbers of deaths year-over-year have not changed. A brand new disease killing everyne should result in increased deaths over average.

    It’s almost as if they are taking death numbers out of columns A and C, and just sticking them in column X.

  37. D1 Says:


    “It’s almost as if they are taking death numbers out of columns A and C, and just sticking them in column X.”

    – That’s 100% correct!

    Column C . 371 covid 19 deaths last week .