Institutional Incompetence:  A Parallel Case Between Roger Goodell and Hillary Clinton

Institutional Incompetence: A Parallel Case Between Roger Goodell and Hillary Clinton


As the leaves began to turn and the weather became cooler, countless Americans turned to one of our greatest fall traditions—spending the weekends watching football. The outset of this particular football season, however, was marred by controversies off the field. Following a riveting slate of Week 1 games in the NFL—a week that was surely lucrative for the league’s commissioner—video footage surfaced of former Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancé in an elevator. The incident, which happened seven months prior, was reviewed by the commissioner, Roger Goodell, who then administered Rice a two game suspension. Following the release of the footage, the Ravens released Rice and the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely.

What’s interesting about the second suspension is that it seemed to be fueled by outrage from social media and the press as opposed to the egregious act that occurred.   Commissioner Goodell, still, steadfastly denies himself or anyone in the league’s front office having seen the tape before it went public although sources indicate this to be false.

The takeaway from this situation here has three components. The first is that Goodell might be extremely overmatched and incompetent. Secondly, Goodell could very well be a part of a large-scale cover up. Lastly, the commissioner’s seat is scorching in large part because of the public’s reaction to his blatant wrongdoings.

Two years prior to this September scandal that has dominated the airwaves, the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked. The assault killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. While the Ray Rice controversy—horrible enough in its own right—did not yield the death of four Americans, there are parallels to be drawn between these two situations.

First, Roger Goodell’s bungling of the Rice suspension proved his incompetence. As the head of an extremely powerful organization, Goodell (according to his own accounts) failed to retrieve a copy of the Ray Rice video that TMZ obtained with ease. His initial two game suspension of Rice, administered while aware of the events that occurred in the elevator, further demonstrate his inability to do his job. Former Secretary of State and prohibitive favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination Hillary Clinton displayed similar negligence in the time leading up to the Benghazi attack. Despite repeatedly receiving direct cables asking for beefed up security, a report from House GOP leaders shows that Clinton and the Department of State actually cut funding for security at the compound. Make no mistake that Roger Goodell’s shortcomings in his position mirror Hillary Clinton’s more so than anyone else; however, it is important to note that the ineptitude of the Obama administration ought to be held accountable for the attacks to some degree.

Where some claim Roger Goodell’s incompetency led to the botching of the Ray Rice situation, others believe Goodell actually knew the gravity of the situation but engaged in a cover up after the fact. Similarly, Hillary Clinton’s questionable decisions leading up to the Benghazi attack are only rivaled by her decisions in the aftermath. Several weeks ago, Raymond Maxwell, a former State Department deputy assistant secretary, claims to have walked in on Clinton aides scrubbing documents that could be damaging to the 2016 presidential frontrunner before handing them over to the Accountability Review Board. Additionally, Maxwell seems to have been scapegoated for lapses in security leading up the attacks that he asserts were actually due to higher-up officials.

The similarities between Goodell and Clinton end at the public’s reaction. For Goodell, some believe he was grossly negligent and inept in handling the Ray Rice situation. Others hold that Goodell was fully capable yet covered his tracks once he realized the punishment administered by him did not fit the crime. Regardless of which (if not both, to some extent) is actually the case, these seem to be the only reasonable explanations, and, as a result, many have clamored for Goodell’s resignation.

Likewise, Clinton displayed inexplicable decision making leading up to the attack that killed four Americans. For those who hold Clinton’s incompetency did not lead to this attack, there is still a substantial belief that the former Secretary of State is covering her tracks for some sort of damaging evidence. Like Goodell, the only logical way to analyze Clinton’s role in this attack comes back to either an improper handling of the situation itself or a cover up in its aftermath. However, when it comes to the killing of four Americans, as opposed to an admittedly horrific instance of domestic violence, the attitude of many reflects the famous words of Hillary Clinton who howled in front of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

While those on the left point to rehashing the Benghazi attack as political posturing, probing this issue is much bigger than that. As the House Select Committee on Benghazi kicks off their hearings, it is crucial for the American people to have some answers as to why four of their fellow citizens were killed—particularly if the person responsible intends to become our Commander-in-chief. When Goodell’s mishandling of a situation came to light, people were calling for his job. When a U.S. Ambassador and three others died under Clinton’s watch as Secretary of State, the public seemed to move right along. Maybe Hillary’s incompetency led to security lapses. Perhaps she orchestrated a cover up of the situation. Regardless, there seems to still be a lot of unanswered questions. Where there is smoke, there is fire, and it is about time the public held Hillary Clinton’s feet to the fire.

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About author

Sameer Fraser

Sameer is a senior from Bowling Green, KY double majoring in Neuroscience and Political Science. He is involved in RUF and has recently started a new organization on campus, Timmy Global Health, where he serves as the Vice President. A lifelong Vanderbilt fan, he also serves as a committee member for both VPB Vandy Fanatics and Senior Class Fund. Though he has spent most of his summers volunteering at local hospitals, Sameer spent the summers of 2013 and 2014 as an intern for US Senator Rand Paul. While maintaining a high level interest in many arenas of politics, Sameer is most interested in healthcare policy and immigration policy with a growing interest in foreign policy

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