Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - It's a specious and ill-informed argument but the end game reaches the proper landing point.
That's enough for most but it shouldn't be.
If you fire up the Google machine to gauge reaction to Roger Goodell's two- game suspension of Ray Rice for domestic abuse, you might see accusations like the NFL thinks smoking weed or abusing Adderall is worse than knocking your then-fiancee and now wife out cold before dragging her unconscious body off an Atlantic City casino elevator.
Talk about hyperbole.
To those who understand the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement, that's as empty as it gets. To those who don't -- like the casual football fan -- it's an uneducated, albeit, understandable thought process.
Most fans have neither the time nor the interest to wade through the league's cumbersome substance-abuse, PED and personal-conduct policies but they're quite different, at least when it comes to doling out punishment.
What's the media's excuse for not comprehending that?
The comparisons of behavior inundating the news cycle show either a fundamental lack of understanding regarding the codes, or a far more sinister desire to play a shell game in order to further an ends-justify-the-means ideology.
Kill Goodell all you want for his lenient handling of Rice -- but at least point out weed and speed penalties were collectively bargained and are far more clearly defined with little wiggle room, save for an appeals process heavily slanted in the league's favor that will occasionally knock a suspension down.
Conversely, punishment under the personal-conduct policy is strictly under the auspices of the commissioner with little to no actual structure.
There is no doubt Goodell should have been much harsher on Rice and he is a victim of his own lack of consistency and common sense when it comes to incidents like this, although you probably won't be hearing that from many of his players who often complain about his perceived iron-fisted, tyrannical regime.
Ironically, this is the Goodell the players actually want, an "even-handed" arbiter who perhaps took into account Rice's reputation as "one of the good guys," a narrative that should have gone up in smoke on that February night in the Revel Hotel and Casino.
This time, it's the national media that is taking the potshots at Goodell, lobbing barb after barb at the "embattled" commissioner. In some cases they know their needles are somewhat unfair, and in far too many others they don't realize just how unprofessional a take, without doing the proper research, can be.
It's hard to feel sorry for Goodell, though. He knows better than most that all the casual observer can see is Daryl Washington getting popped for a year for having a weed problem versus Rice getting two games for knocking his girl unconscious.
It's an admittedly absurd notion, but one you should at least put the proper caveats on, if you really want to be fair-minded and point out hypocrisy in the right way.
Credibility only lends credence to a position. Knowingly hiding behind distortions in an effort to come off holier than thou is why so many Americans no longer trust the media.