By Tim Lacy, AFRO Columnist
Although I am a fan of the NFL they constantly find ways to tick me off. Readers of this space are probably tired of hearing my opinion of Commissioner Roger Goodell, and oddly enough he enters into this conversation.
My peeve with the NFL at the moment covers my concern of their snub of Ken Stabler as being eligible for payment of money to players suffering from advanced CTE. This is a brain disease that attacks ex footballers in later life. The fact that Stabler’s condition was discovered after his death is just another loophole for the NFL to screw him. The expectation was that Stabler’s family would receive the compensation despite his death. Not so. The NFL seized this loophole as another opportunity to sock it to the “Snake.”
Ken “The Snake” Stabler played for the Oakland Raiders through the 1970’s. During this time, he managed to bring home a Super Bowl Trophy and some fond memories for fans all over Football Land. Kenny was a character. He would sometimes show up at the Stadium before a game with a woman on each arm. It was said that he would study the play book by the light of a jukebox in a honky tonk and show up at game time with a little red in his eyes and fire in his heart. Ken set the tone for left handed quarterbacks and paved the way for undersized guys playing the game.
Ken was one of three characters who played every Sunday and won the fan’s hearts. The other two being Paul Hornug of the Lombardi era Packers and Joe Namath of the Jets. When the Jets beat the Colts on Namath’s guarantee, a lot of people had to lie down and put a cold compress on their heads.
The NFL found a way to show dislike for the Raiders by denying the presentation of a Gold Jacket and a ring as the standard prize for Hall of Fame inductees. This time the coveted loophole was enacted once more. Ken was inducted a year after he died. Since they waited 32 years to “honor” him it seems they should have found a way to apologize instead of finding a way to screw him. All it takes is a phone call from the Commish to right this wrong, but consider the source.
NFL commissioners have been anti Raiders supporters because of the code former owner Al Davis lived by, “Just win baby, just win!” Al packed up his team and moved to LA leaving the NFL powers with egg on their collective faces. Anyone connected to “Raider Nation” was automatically looked upon as a leper.
The proof of this anti Raider feeling towards the Raiders comes out of the mouths of the talking heads. Their constant excuse for not voting a player into the HoF is, “He didn’t win a championship”. Well, Jim Plunkett has two Super Bowl Rings but has been ignored for HoF Honors. Now he is relegated to his pain medication and a life of educating youth on the perils of football.