Government Doesn't Solve Problems
The House Oversight committee house decided there's a problem and they need to Fix it. Some of you might be aware that the NFL has been investigating claims of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment in the Washington football team organization. I believe the investigation has been ongoing for over a year with at least 630,000 emails and almost as many documents being reviewed by league officials. so far the only outcome has been the leaking of a handful of those emails in which the Las Vegas Raiders head coach, Jon Gruden, made some offensive statements. He has been terminated from his position and must wear the scarlet letter for the rest of his life, even though some of those comments were taken out of context and did not mean what people thought they meant.
Once again we have politicians and some in our society deciding that government is the problem solver for the solution that we need to redress wrongs that we might have suffered. it appears that many of the politicians and people complaining to them think the investigation is taking too long and that they might be covering up evidence that would implicate not just front office staff but the owner of the football team. It seems to me that when you're looking at over 1,000,000 documents and having to conduct multiple interviews it's going to take awhile. I would think we definitely want the truth to be told.
But Congress is never wont to pass up an opportunity to make a high profile splash and then do nothing. The individuals making the complaints that they might have suffered have the ability to file a civil lawsuit and proceed with discovery. Those documents would have to be turned over by the Washington football team and the NFL to the plaintiffs who have a right to see them. The fact that they're going to Congress tells me that there is an ulterior motive.
Many people do not like the way the league is run. The NFL like other sports leagues, has an antitrust exemption. Unlike other industries or markets, the teams actually benefit from having their business structure set up in this manner. You may not like how some of the players act when they disrespect our flag, but the NFL is the most successful American sports franchise in history. The players and the teams as well as the league make a lot of money because there is a competitive balance. Not everyone likes what goes into creating that business model but no business model is perfect. If the goal is to present a product that people want to see and will pay good money to watch, the NFL has succeeded wildly.
I think this is more about wielding power. There are many politicians and critics of the NFL that don't like their success and would like to see them lose their antitrust exemption. They believe this would make it much easier for other teams or leagues to field competitive products which would benefit everyone. The truth is that other leagues have been formed and have not been able to compete. Some of them were run by very successful people coming from the NFL but they were underfunded. They had a chance but they weren't ready to start and it cost them. Other leagues have tried to use gimmicks to compete with the NFL and that did not work either. The fact is we love to watch individuals compete at the highest level against other individuals and teams that are competing at a similar level. In sports there is a very small percentage of athletes in any endeavor that can compete at the level the spectator demands. Creating more teams or leagues would just water down the product and lose interest. The NFL would then become Major League Baseball, which has seen its national appeal dwindle to almost nothing and become a league that appeals to regional loyalties.
But I digress, we have to stop looking at the government as the problem solver. The government can set some rules and put systems in place, such as the judicial system, that allows us to redress wrongs against others. We don't need federal action to make changes. You may recall I said the same thing about college sports when they began moving towards paying college athletes. Let the people involved work it out themselves. And if you can't agree then it either doesn't happen or someone splits off and you have multiple organizations doing it the way each of them wants. This fosters innovation and competitiveness, and survival of the fittest. It puts the consumer more in charge rather than the government. Although it does seem that we the consumers, no matter whether it's football or politics, have forgotten that we are the ultimate authority.