Sympathy for Goodell. Worst Rolling Stones song ever.
It's hard to dredge up even an ounce of sympathy for an overmatched, arrogant commissioner who has botched several major decisions already, including suspending Ray Rice for only two games despite an enormous amount of available evidence that he punched his wife in an elevator.
I'll say this: He was stuck with a terrible conundrum regarding Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Go soft on the Patriots, and the league would see him as being soft on his friend Robert Kraft, the Patriots owner.
Go hard on Brady and the team, and take the risk of tainting a Super Bowl championship and the career of perhaps the best quarterback ever.
I don't think highly of Goodell, but I think he came close to getting this as right as it could be gotten.
The million-buck fine? Negligle in the world of Kraft and the NFL, but impressive to casual fans. The fourth-round draft pick? Again negligible. The first-round draft pick? That's a serious penalty. The four-game suspension for a Hall of Fame quarterback? That's the most serious of all.
Goodell could have made it two games and made his point. Anything longer than four games would have been seen as an overreach. If four games isn't exactly right, it's in the right ballpark, and that's better than Goodell usually does.