Little Napoleon

By on September 11, 2014



The following is a narrative about a tiny little man. Although small in stature, his ego is matched by none. He rules over a legion of men sculpted like warriors that could each crush him with a single blow. His empire is unmatched in power and is beloved by many. He judges with an iron fist; his power absolute. And one day, just like all dictators before him, he will lose his grasp on his kingdom. If the cards fall our way, that day will be soon.

Roger Goodell inherited the keys to his kingdom from King Tagliabue in 2006. At the time of his inheritance, the kingdom had never seen such power, prosperity, and popularity. The young knight studied under King Tagliabue since 1987, and nuzzled close to the teet of his king in hopes of one day assuming leadership. He would not be disappointed. When King Tagliabue announced he was stepping down from his heavy crown, Goodell did everything in his power to garner support for his ownership of the kingdom. All of the nobles and wise men of the kingdom were called upon to select a new leader. At first, no consensus could be reached. But the little snake whispered in the ears of the nobles and wise men, and after five rounds of voting, they elected him king. Apparently, they weren’t so wise.

As new king, Goodell’s active duty began on September 1, 2006. While his first year was seemingly uneventful, behind closed doors, an evil plan was being hatched. He sat and waited. He schemed and observed. But most importantly, he waited for the kingdom to start to crumble. Swooping in as the fearless savior, he promised to strike down the actions of evil doers, and to protect the shield of his kingdom. He allowed criminals such as Pacman of Tennessee and Sir Henry of Cincinnati to reveal themselves and their evil ways. His solution: to institute a personal conduct policy, in which there would be no trial or jury. He was to serve as king and executioner, his power absolute. There would be neither rhyme nor reason to the punishments he would hand down. No questions could be asked, no appeals would be heard. If appeals were filed, they went through him. King Goodell’s power was unparalleled, he only need answer to himself. There was to be no system of checks and balances. Not only did he install his system of time served for wrong-doing, but also imposed unreasonable fines and taxes to warriors for actions he deemed unruly. Often times, the citizens of his kingdom did not even know they were doing wrong, as they were only doing what generations of citizens before them had done. As time went on more punishments were handed down. King Goodell was not only the judge, be he too was the jury.

Whispers were uttered around the kingdom that the ruler’s power had become too absolute. There were no boundaries to the power he enjoyed. No one could voice their opinion, and no one could curb his greed. But as these observations were being voiced among the citizens, winds of change began to blow. The rich nobles did not want to share their riches. They lied and deceived, claiming they were not making a profit, but rather were losing money. The warriors of the kingdom knew they were being deceived, and demanded proper compensation. The division of profit was out of whack, and now it needed fixed. So in 2011, while under noble King Goodell’s reign, the kingdom was momentarily splintered. There would be finger pointing. There would be harsh words. There would be strife. And citizens outside their kingdom that looked to them for entertainment would be disappointed. All the while, the all-powerful and all-knowing king did nothing but sit on the sidelines and wait for a peace accord to be reached. He did nothing to facilitate peace. He did not lead. He merely allowed anarchy to rule, until the two sides could no longer afford to keep knives at each other’s throats. When the dust settled, almost all of the kingdom’s problems were solved. Money would be shared in a fair manner. Warriors would be allowed to decide which troops they wanted to fight with, and in which city they would call home. The nobles were allowed to maximize their collective income, and share it amongst themselves, however they saw fit. But alarmingly, the one problem that went unsolved was the extent of King Goodell’s power.

Blinded by money, the nobles and warriors of the kingdom had made a massive oversight. How could they allow this injustice to continue? How could it not even be addressed while their kingdom stood still? Regardless of how it happened, they were now stuck with their agreement for a decade. A full ten years of Goodell’s iron fist would continue to fall upon them. Now, they were still impotent to stop his unfair judgments and saw even more comedy at his hand. In 2012, King Goodell oversaw the suspension of the contracts of his law enforcement agents. The men, who were hired to oversee the safety of the kingdom’s warriors, and maintained fair practices on the field of battle, were replaced by inexperienced men. The situation became one of folly and satire. Suddenly, the powerful kingdom was becoming the butt of jokes around the surrounding villages. The warriors did not find the situation nearly as funny. So after weeks of blundering decisions, the warriors issued a bold and sturdy statement to its nobles. I paraphrase:

“It is lost on us as to how you allow a king to cavalierly issue punishments and fines in the name of warrior health and safety, yet permit the wholesale removal of the officials that you trained and entrusted to maintain that very health and safety”.

Once the gaffes were leaving a black mark upon the shield that King Goodell cared so much about protecting, he swooped in and played the hero. He stood on his podium high and told its citizens they deserved better than second rate law enforcement. He cared. And dammit, he was going to facilitate change. No matter the cost, he was going to restore order to the kingdom.

Thus, we are now in modern times. Things aren’t much different than in 2011 or 2012. The slices of pie are being shared. The original law enforcement agents are back on the field of battle. And Little Napoleon sits high upon his horse, handing out his uneven and nonsensical judgments. He demands that the kingdom be run his way, and its borders be expanded. Los Angeles and London must be conquered. More revenue streams must be tapped. And his authority is never to be questioned. If he decides that smoking marijuana is more egregious than beating a woman in public, so be it. If he decides that repeat substance abuse is better dealt with by banishment rather than treatment, so be it. And if his disciplinary decisions obviously target minorities more so than nobles and others like them, look the other way and accept it. He is all powerful. He is the god of the empire.

But one thing history has taught us is, every monarch must fall. The weight of their ego is usually the noose from which they hang themselves. And the writing is on the wall. Calls for Little Napoleon’s head are growing louder. Groups that see his hypocrisy are making their voices heard. His lies are no longer being accepted as absolute truth. Denial of lies does not truth make. One can no longer advocate the actions of an arrogant little prick in the name of entertainment. So when does Goodell’s banishment to Saint Helena take place? Do the people wait for him to step down? Or do they demand it? If they do demand it, how long before they take real action? And if the people are successful in forcing a change or a coup so to speak, with whom do they replace Goodell? The answer to that question is as important as any, because the last thing this kingdom wants is another tiny little man with an ego matched by none.

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