What I admire about the National Football League is the constant pace of innovation. Instant replay. The zone blitz. The Wildcat offense. And now, at long last, standards for NFL owners.
This last one was invented just last week, when the league pressured a group trying to buy the St. Louis Rams to drop conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh from its ranks for what NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called "divisive" and "negative" commentary. "We are all held to a higher standard here," Goodell added.
Presumably Goodell was using the phrase higher standard with a certain flexibility, since the NFL counts any number of rapists, cokeheads and serial dog-torturers among its players. But let's be fair: Those are players. There are a very limited number of guys who can thread a ball 50 yards downfield through two defensive backs to a wide receiver, so you don't want to set the behavioral bar too high.
But Goodell has apparently realized that the world is full of half-wit millionaires willing to spend a fortune in order to hang around locker rooms sniffing jocks, so the league can afford to be somewhat choosy. Here's a list of directives from the NFL office governing the future behavior of owners:Interference: How Organized Crime Influences Professional Football
Compare that to I'm Real, a song recorded in 2001 by another new Dolphins part-owner, Jennifer Lopez. It used the N-word so wantonly (not to mention a word for lady parts that will get you slapped if you speak it outside a locker room) that it led to a boycott of her album, serious enough that JLo went on the Today show to defend herself. Calling use of the N-word racist was "really absurd," Lopez said. I guess the NFL agrees.