The Tale of Two Commissioners

The Tale of Two Commissioners

~Amy Lignor

When it comes to the ‘bug guns’ in the world of sports, there are two men that make the headlines for many things – right and wrong decisions, as far as the public is concerned. Goodell is the heavyweight in the NFL. This is a man who always seems to be facing controversy – especially with players in the NFL getting into trouble…trouble that causes them to earn everything from suspensions to financial penalties.


090201-F-7552L-008Goodell is a strong, tough cookie who never seems to get angry about what people have to say. He stands firm on his decisions, even though his suspensions haven’t worked very well, considering this past summer seems to have been one of the worst for the players, who decided to do everything from drink and drive to beat up their girlfriends (…and get away with it, by the way). Goodell is the one in the proverbial ‘hot seat’. Of course, if you want to be the top guy, you have to take it. Ask the President, if you don’t believe me.


The other infamous ‘Commish’ is in the news because he is headed to ‘freedom.’ He is now stepping away from the baseball limelight and can soon not have to hear the words ‘Pete Rose’, or deal with a sport that (like the NFL), is experiencing far worse issues than it used to in the good ole’ days.


Bud Selig is saying so long. Holding a media conference in Cincinnati in order to take questions, he offered up a knowing smile to the reporters in the standing-room-only space. He told them that he could “probably guess some of Bud_Selig_on_October_31,_2010the questions” that were coming…especially the same question that has haunted him since 1989.


The name ‘Pete Rose’ is like a tarp wrapped round Selig’s form. And in Cincinnati on Friday, with his retirement a given, the reporter asked: “How do you think this ends with Pete Rose?”


Everyone knows (or should) that Rose was banned for life from the sport he loved back in 1989 because of illegal betting. Seems quite tame, considering the charges that are being brought against people in sports nowadays.


Sections of Selig’s answer…, “The man was a great player and had a great history…he was a great hitter,” followed by, “But, you know, there are a lot of things in life that happen that the commissioner, or any of us, wish hadn’t happened. I was particularly close to Bart Giamatti, one of the best friends I ever had in the world.” (Giamatti was the man who sent Rose packing after the six-month investigation into the gambling charges…and then passed away of a massive heart attack shortly thereafter.)


But no matter what curveball was thrown at Selig, it became quickly apparent to one and all that the situation with Rose – the eternal banishment of the star – would stay just as is when Selig leaves the power of ‘Commish’ behind.


Selig had to deal with the more emotional side of the question, considering the city he was standing in at the time. He was questioned as to whether showing compassion and forgiveness by offering Rose a pardon before he left ‘office’ would give him a huge positive check on his historical resume. Again, Selig made it plain that he would not be a ‘judge’ when it came to that scenario.


Yet, no matter what the fans are looking for, and no matter if the right thing back in 1989 still stands as being the right thing in 2014 – Selig will stick to doing what he was always trained to do. In other words, fans should know that a retirement by the “Commish” is not going to matter in this case. He is doing what’s in the best interest of the sport, and to Selig that is for Pete Rose to remain banned from baseball.


Perhaps Selig should give a call to Goodell offering his assistance. Roger looks like he needs some lately, especially as he allows some players to stay on the gridiron when they have broken more rules (and laws) than Pete Rose ever thought of.




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