10 Questions With Richard Justice
8. The Teflon League
Posted On 05.17, 2013
RCS: The Texans recently got busted for running illegal contact drills, but it didn't make much news. It was also recently reported that Dana Stubblefield is helping authorities investigate steroids in the NFL, but that didn't make much news either. In the context of the baseball steroid situation, you wrote, "That's the thing about cheating. When you're caught cheating one time, you're a cheat for all time."
How is it possible that the NFL remains the Teflon league when it comes to these things?
Justice: Commissioner Selig rails about baseball being held to a different standard. I tell him he should be flattered. I think baseball's numbers are sacred to fans--61, 714, 755, 56. Football has nothing comparable. What steroids did was ruin the record book--and those numbers.
Football is less personal. Players wear helmets. You don't really know them. I think many baseball fans feel like they know Ryan Howard and Joe Torre and Manny. Also, the NFL is a dirty business. We've had so many stories of disabling injuries and numbing injuries that people are almost immune to it. The NFL is sold on bigger, faster, stronger, hard hits, big collisions. When you hear enough about players being rushed back onto the field so they can be cut, it no longer has an impact.