National Football League

An Open Letter to Roger Goodell

CC: Sen. Claire McCaskill, D, Missouri

June 2, 2014

Dear Mr. Goodell:

I understand that you’re quite busy these days, what with trying to reduce the number of concussions in the NFL, dealing with the new prescription drug lawsuit filed by former players and having to deflect all of the inflammatory comments made by DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA. I also understand your need to deal in a reasonable and fair manner with Congress (I’ve cc’d Missouri Democratic senator Claire McCaskill on this letter, too) to preserve the NFL’s protections afforded by that fine institution.

But I have a problem that I feel must be addressed. On a daily basis, in watching your own NFL Network and ESPN, in reading USA Today and various internet sites, in listening to sports radio, I am barraged with insults. You see, Mr. Goodell, I’m a rather large man. When I was a kid, my mom called me “big-boned,” and throughout my life I’ve been bigger than most men my age.

Roger Goodell
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

So when I hear the term New York “Giants,” I cringe. Why must the NFL, and society in general, use this slur against me and other large people? How can you, as commissioner of the league, allow the use of a name that is an affront to all people like me? Oh, sure, the Mara and Tisch families can claim that the name came from the New York baseball Giants, who named their team because of all the giant buildings in the city. But times have changed. We are a politically correct culture. The point is, in our society we must protect the feelings of all peoples, regardless of race, creed, religion and size. I am appalled that in 2014, you would allow such an obvious slur to be propagated by your league so that you can sell more merchandise and maintain a brand.

What would happen if the team were called the New York Midgets? Think you could get away with that? New York Fatties? New York Anorexics? Oh, sure, but New York Giants is OK. Right.

While we’re at it, we’re thrilled that our local team has a new defensive coordinator in Gregg Williams, the former DC for the New Orleans Saints. But in my dictionary, a Saint is defined as someone who displays a “certain, exceptional holiness of life.” Are you telling me that a guy who allegedly pays someone to hurt someone else can be called a Saint? What kind of holiness of life is that? Are you working from the Mafia handbook? You’re a fan. You know that Ken Stabler spent his last three years in pro football with the Saints. I can tell you, the Snake was not that pure.

All real Saints are dismayed to have that nickname applied to them. Heck, we had Kyle Turley here when he played. He was a Saint? No, Mr. Goodell, we’ve found another nickname with which you’re going to have problems.

Perhaps the greatest travesty is the one in New England. You are aware that George Washington, our first President, was, like you, one of the great leaders ever. Yes, George Washington, who led Patriot troops into battle to fight for our initial freedom, our independence as Americans. As you may have heard in grade school, when George was six years old, his father gave him a small hatchet. While wandering the family garden swinging the hatchet, little George cut into the bark of his father’s cherry tree, and the tree eventually died.

His father asked everyone in the house what happened to the tree and, when little George entered the kitchen, his father asked, “Do you know who killed my little cherry tree in the garden?” A stunned George Washington paused and replied, “I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot tell a lie! I did cut it with my little hatchet.”

So our greatest American patriot can’t tell a lie, but your team named the Patriots has a verified cheater and liar named Bill Belichick at the helm, and you allow the franchise to maintain that nickname? Have you thought about this one, Mr. Goodell? Every patriot – Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams – would be outraged that a team so bereft of honesty would have the honor of carrying that nickname.

As an aside, the St. Louis Rams went about five years and rarely collided with anything. Evidently, all real Rams were incensed to learn that a team was named after them.

I appreciate you taking the time to hear my complaints. I haven’t heard any other real, valid complaints about team nicknames, but I thought the indignity was egregious enough that you should know how me and people like me feel.

I’ll save my complaints about you legislating the violence I loved in the game out of the NFL. As I mentioned, I realize there are more pressing issues for you than the violence, like the insulting nicknames I mentioned.

Have a great day, and we hope to see you here in St. Louis in 2014. Don’t hesitate to email me at if you have any questions about this note.

Best regards,

Randy Karraker

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