Rob Walton and Greg Penner may be having second thoughts about what they’re about to get themselves into.
When the league’s owners meet next week in Minnesota to approve the purchase of the Broncos by the Wal-Mart heir and his son-in-law, Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to “read the riot act” to all owners regarding tampering and tanking, in the aftermath of the suspension imposed Tuesday on Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
As previously mentioned, the league gave Ross a pass on tanking, even though he apparently engaged in at least attempted tanking. Per the source, Goodell regards the issue as being very important, given the legalization of sports wagering. The next person who does it, if there is one, will get it a lot worse, the source predicts.
Ross should have gotten it a lot worse, frankly. He tried to tank. He did precisely what a multi-billionaire would do to send a message to those who hope to continue working for him, without having to actually order the proverbial code red. (Also known as the favorite phrase of Myles Simmons: “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”) And, because Flores not only refused to go along but also documented the owner’s efforts to pressure him to lose games in order to win improved draft position, Flores became persona non grata.
The source also predicted that the league will be much more rigorous on tampering. The problem with tampering is that the NFL lacks the resources to properly enforce the rules. It happens all the time, for that very reason. And it’s easy to think Ross wouldn’t have been scrutinized for it at all if the league weren’t already poking around on the tanking issue.
Thus, if the league tries to scare teams straight as to tampering, it likely won’t last for long. And folks will be more careful about it, more discreet. In time, it’ll go back to being rampant and reckless.