Of course I don’t suppose Mr. Goodell has time to read my response to his declaration to the US District Court, District of New Jersey of 8/10/2012 which is included in the ‘Preseason’ section of the book by Brian Tuohy, A Season In the Abyss – but I’m going to write it anyway in hopes that someone will read it and perhaps get a message to him, that his arguments in defense of the NFL’s integrity and against legalization of sports betting in the state of NJ are, in my opinion, flawed.

Dear Mr. Goodell,

It might have been last year I sent a copy of my diploma from Boston University, which I received in 2009 granting me a master’s degree in criminal justice.  In addition to the copy of my diploma I had shared a copy of a certification in recognition of successful completion of advanced threat assessment management, which I received in April 2004.  That’s how far back I’ve been a passionate advocate in support of human rights and against misuse of power.  In particular I work to help educate and use various mediums to do so.  For example, I work as a substitute teacher in the public schools in the state of New Jersey, have tutored in Drug Court to help adult offenders prepare for their GED exams, and I have sat on a board that oversees cases where children have been removed from their homes.

The reason I am writing you is to address your declaration made to the US District Court, District of New Jersey on 8/10/2012 wherein you discussed the NFL’s opposition to legalization of sports betting in the state of New Jersey.  I guess you could say I am an interested party partly because I am a resident of the state, care about its future, and also because I have worked very hard toward obtaining a doctorate degree in public policy administration with a specialization in law.  I had reached the point where I had my Chair appointed but then Hurricane Sandy came and reeked havoc on the town where I live and well let’s just say I’m picking up the pieces, and for now my dissertation is on hold.

Not having completed my PhD work does not prohibit me from knowing all there is to know to make a good case for advocating for certain laws though.  In fact, I would suggest that I am as capable as most who work in the capacity of lobbying for legalization of certain matters.  My undergrad GPA was a 4.0, 3.98 at Boston University, and if I remember correctly I was equally astute while working toward my PhD.  One of my favorite classes, which I am quite sure I aced, was Landmark Supreme Court Cases.

So anyway about your declaration, I’m very confused.  I believe you when you say that your most important responsibility “is maintaining the integrity of professional football, and preserving public confidence in the NFL.”  However, I do not agree with most of the other comments you made.  I will do my very best to provide a clear and concise response to your statement.  I hope you will give my thoughts consideration.

You said: “The NFL is the most popular and widely recognized professional football league in the United States.  The great popularity of NFL football, and the goodwill it has achieved with its fans and the public as a whole, is rooted in the integrity of the game itself.”

My thoughts:  I am wondering why you believe this to be the case.  Are you saying that people value football because of the integrity of the game above all else?  In other words, are you suggesting that people think the game is fair?  With all that’s happened between the NFL and its players, allegations of cheating, horrible officiating, suspicions of racial tension, domestic violence, eye gauging and intentional hits, how can you honestly say that the “great popularity” is rooted in the integrity of the game itself?  Again, do you actually think that people believe the games are fair?

You said: “NFL stands for clean, healthy competition and rewards hard work, dedication, and honest effort.  Maintaining these values and the highest integrity of the game of professional football is a critical aspect of preserving the NFL’s goodwill”

My thoughts:  Do you truly think that those who work hard, are dedicated and demonstrate an honest effort are what matters most to the NFL?

You said: “… NFL owners and players have worked diligently since the league’s inception nearly ninety years ago to protect the NFL’s integrity and maintain the public’s confidence in the league.”

My thoughts: Do you truly think the public has confidence in the league?  Based on what information do you make that conclusion?

You said: “The spread of sports betting, including the introduction of sports betting as proposed by the state of New Jersey, threatens to damage irreparably the integrity of, and public confidence in, NFL football.

My thoughts: Why?  What makes you think that the people of New Jersey or elsewhere would change their opinion of the NFL because sports betting just so happen to become legal in the state?  Maybe the people of New Jersey and elsewhere might actually think you care about the state’s economy and the welfare of the people.

You said: “An increase in state-promoted sports betting would wrongly and unfairly engender suspicion and cynicism toward every on-the-field NFL event that affects the betting line.”

My thoughts:  Do you truly think that most people do not already question the integrity of the NFL as respects to every on-the-field event that affects the betting line?  Do you realize how much money is bet regardless of whether sports betting are legal?  Most people I talk to already think the NFL games are fixed.  Truly I do not think that legalized sports betting in the state of New Jersey is going to alter their opinions one bit.

You said,” If gambling is freely permitted on sporting events, normal incidents of the game such as bad snaps, dropped passes, turnovers, penalties, and play calling inevitably will fuel speculation, distrust and accusations of point-shaving or game fixing.  I am aware that in the past, betting scandals related to legal sports betting have occurred in the United States and foreign countries.”

My thoughts:  Again, do you truly think that people do not already think this about bad snaps, dropped passes etc.?  Sports betting takes place regardless of the legality and people already think it’s fixed.

You said: “The new sports gambling scheme that New Jersey proposed would also greatly increase the likelihood that the allegiance of certain fans will be turned from teams, players and high-level athletic competition toward an interest first and foremost in winning a bet.”

My thoughts:  Why?  Perhaps there would be greater interest in the games and people might not necessarily bet on their favorite teams as opposed to games they care less about and/or pick an over or prop bet.  With the league promoting fantasy sports the way it does, and with various players showing how they might opt to root for certain teams [see recent McDonald’s commercial with Mike Dikta or Jerry Rice] how can you say that sports betting would have any impact on fans’ choice of favorite teams when in reality the league itself is causing division by incorporating fantasy games.

There’s more but the game’s on so I’ll close with just one final comment.  As far as your thoughts on how the NFL cannot be compensated for damages for the harm that sports gambling poses to the goodwill, character and integrity of NFL football, and the fundamental bonds of loyalty and devotion between fans and teams that the league seeks to maintain…” I wonder if you ever thought about the damages women cannot be compensated for due to the lack of character and integrity the NFL has demonstrated so many times when it fails to honor them by allowing players to make disparaging remarks in misogynistic manners without any regard for the empathy of victims of domestic violence and their families?  I also wonder if you ever realize just how many students in the state of New Jersey and elsewhere actually look up to the NFL and the players and look to follow in their footsteps?  Yet the league contradicts itself by allowing for energy into arguments such as stopping the state of New Jersey to have its own people to decide what’s best for them, and fails to realize its own contribution to the public’s perception of the lack of integrity of the NFL.


Michelle aka @SportSXMichelle on Twitter