The vagaries of fame: For NFL commish, teen tennis star

Teen tennis sensation CiCi Bellis. Photograph by John Togasaki

Teen tennis sensation CiCi Bellis. Photograph by John Togasaki

In the Gee, Ya Think? Department, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has decided that perhaps he was a tad too lenient in the recent Ray Rice domestic abuse case.

Now those who commit assault of any kind, battery or an act of domestic violence will be suspended for six games without pay. A second offense will result in at least a year suspension. 

Clearly, Goodell has seen the handwriting on the wall, and no, I don’t mean the evil of Baltimore Raven Ray Rice dragging his fiancée (now wife) Janay Palmer unconscious out of an Atlantic City elevator after beating her or the blame-the-victim farce of the Ravens’ press conference, in which Palmer also apologized for her role in the incident.

No, the penmanship Goodell has seen in his mind is on all those credit card receipts for season tickets. With fans up in arms over the assault, Goodell can’t afford a defection, no matter how popular football is. So let’s not hand the NFL any humanitarian awards just yet.

In other gridiron news, Michael Sam – the first openly gay NFL player – has survived the latest round of cuts on the St. Louis Rams and is confident he’ll make the team.

Meanwhile, CiCi Bellis wasn’t as lucky. The 15-year-old was the big talk of the US Open for becoming the youngest female to win a match there since Anna Kournikova in 1996. But no sooner did CiCi’s run begin than it ended, reinforcing the notion that tennis is no longer a kids’ game in this the power era. 

CiCi is learning what Goodell has realized: When it comes to success, especially in sports, it’s easy come and just as easy go.