All three commissioners of the NFL, MLB, and NBA are having an unexpected and very challenging summer. Roger Goodell has to make a decision about Michael Vick that will appease some and isolate others. Bud Selig’s noncommittal stance on whether or not he will attend Barry Bond’s games as he tries to break the record is in headlines across the sports world. And David Stern has to reinvent the image of NBA basketball to assure that there will be no betting by a referee anymore. Let’s put in order from bad to worst where each commissioner stands.
Bad- Bud Selig
Of course the steroids issue is still a big problem that Bud Selig has taken criticism for in how he did not address the problem earlier in his reign as commissioner and discipline the perpetrators. Also, his weak and quiet stance on how to handle Barry Bond’s chase of Hank Aaron’s home run record has hurt his image as well. However, the steroids issue has been around for many years now and still baseball has been going on strong with high attendance in the ball parks and now that Selig has forced Jason Giambi to discuss his past use of steroids may help show Selig as a leader in the battle to take steroids out of the game.
Already faced with the Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson situations, Roger Goodell faces his biggest challenge with the Michael Vick dogfighting incident. Goodell suspended Pacman Jones an entire season before he was found guilty by the law. Now, Goodell has to decide whether or not to do the same with Vick. If he does suspend the superstar Vick, fans will argue that he was found guilty before proven innocent. If he doesn’t suspend Vick, others will argue that Vick was given “superstar treatment” and PETA will be marching on his door steps every day. It’s a lose-lose situation for Goodell.
In a league where the referees whistle matters so much, the recent news of Tim Donaghy betting on games that he refereed in is the worst possible news for the NBA. Every play-offs and finals, there are questionable calls that raise suspicion from fans and players alike. Before this incident, David Stern could argue about the integrity of the referees in his sport and how each referee honestly tries to call the game properly. Every questionable call from now on will be scrutinized by the players, the fans, and the media alike and David Stern has a long way in convincing them that a missed call was incidental and not intentional.