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19
sep
2014
The NFL's Record of Shame

88 assaults, 85 incidents of domestic violence, 38 gun arrests, 82 drug charges, 202 DUIs, 10 sexual assaults and that's not all. 730 total criminal charges since 2000, 14 years and counting, ranging from multiple murders to breaking and entering. What are these statistics? you may ask. Good question. They're the current NFL line up on player arrests.

After my posting last week about Ray Rice, I received a lot of email, evenly split between those agreeing and those disagreeing with me (it turns out I, too, made it more about Roger Goodell than Rice). But those disagreeing were much more incensed. So I did a little more research about Mr. Goodell and the NFL, and I stumbled upon the statistic above. I was absolutely shocked. It's incomprehensible to me that NFL players have such a high incidence of run-ins with the law.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not changing my position from last week about Mr. Goodell in thinking the evaluation of his job performance in running the NFL is not up to us but rather to the team owners who employ him.

The 32 NFL teams are reported to be worth on average $1.5 billion each (yes, billion), for a combined value of $48 billion. That makes the collective net worth of the NFL greater than many Fortune 500 companies. Each of those teams has a roster of 53 players, for a total of just under 1,700. We have 1,300 people in 23 offices at Marcum, so while we might not compare to the NFL in market value, we are roughly in the same ballpark on size and scope.

So now that I've established that Marcum and the NFL are very similar operations - OK, let's be realistic; they probably have a better TV deal and more lucrative sponsorships than we do - they certainly beat us hands down on criminal charges, 730-0 (so far as I am aware). I can't imagine keeping my job if our culture or values tolerated even one domestic violence incident, or sexual assault, or murder. Without our honesty and integrity, we have nothing.

So, while I believe it really is a matter between the billionaire owners of the NFL franchises and Mr. Goodell, I must say that I think the NFL needs to look itself in the mirror and re-evaluate its tolerance of unacceptable player conduct. I know if I permitted an environment at Marcum even remotely close to what's been tolerated by the NFL, I'd most likely be calling Roger for a job.

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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

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