Quick, what do Adolf Hitler, Jimmy Carter, and Ben Bernanke have in common? If you said “they all have four syllables in their names” that’s an oddly specific, borderline OCD answer. Get that checked out. If you said “because they all were involved in the systematic execution of several million people” that’s wrong because only one of them did that. What these three men have in common, as well as Mark Zuckerberg, Charles Lindberg, and YOU is they were all named “Person of the Year” by Time magazine.
Since 1927, Time has done a yearly profile of the most newsworthy person or people who has done the most to influence the year’s events, be it for better or for worse. That last part is important because it might alarm you to known an American publication has awarded “Person of the Year” to Hitler, Josef Stalin, Richard Nixon (twice), and ehhhcckk…Ted Turner.
This week, Time announced their finalists for 2014. Among the names is a mixture of prominent politicians, influential leaders, and those who lobby for reform. Also, Taylor Swift is a finalist, and that makes me super excited.
Among the names, in addition to T-swizzle, are Russian President Vladimir Putin, Apple CEO Tim Cook, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani, and, I kid you not, the Ferguson protesters.
As you can see, there’s definitely some provocative names among this list. Putin is always in the news, this time because he wanted to kick a bunch of Ukrainians in the throat for coming too close to his yard. Tim Cook is a notable figure, not only because this year he’s launched the new iPhone, as well as the Apple Watch and Apple Pay, but because he is openly gay. Barzani is the president of a region of a country that is bent on destroying ISIS, while also advocating for independence. And the Ferguson protestors, depending on your views of things, are either a symbol of the “struggle”, spitting in the faces of the police who brutalize them, who are still breaking laws, destroying property, putting lives in danger, and looting tv’s, or a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the lower-class communities, who are still breaking laws, destroying property, putting lives in danger, and looting tv’s.
But those aren’t the only names in addition to T-sweezy. Because lo and behold, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell somehow found his name on the list. With Goodell, they could say “his relentless marketing, financial know-how, and business savvy decisions have further distanced the National Football League as the most premier, lucrative sports league on earth.” Or, you could say “his insistence on clouding the effects of trauma sustained by his employees, coupled with his shady ‘breast-cancer awareness’ month and his very loose and erroneous system of punishment where he serves as judge, jury, and executioner are an absolute laugh-riot joke in the realm of American business ventures.”
You see, it’s been a busy season for Goodell. First, star wide receiver Josh Gordon had a rough offseason, in which he tested positive for marijuana use, his first positive test in an alleged 50 attempts. Despite only registering enough THC comparable to the contact high one might receive from making eye contact with Wiz Khalifa, Goodell hit Gordon with a season-long suspension. A few months later, Ray Rice was videotaped knocking his wife out like a confused Rocky Balboa, to which Goodell swiftly issued a harsh, stern two-game suspension. Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald, two other players accused of domestic violence were quickly suspended for zero games, and McDonald has played in every game this season (edit: He wasn’t convicted, but still).
The player’s union have said the current discipline system is “not fair” and “kinda sucks” while also claiming Goodell “isn’t qualified to be the only one dealing out punishments” and “he needs to go eat a big, soggy bag of rotten horse urine.” Goodell has responded by saying “too bad”, “deal with it, nerds”, and presumably “#YOLO.”
Goodell is the commissioner of a league that earned over $9 billion in revenue last season. If the NFL were a country, it’s GDP would rank 137th in the world. The current 137, Laos, has less stringent marijuana laws, while maintaining an equally impressive record of human rights violations. Obviously, this makes Goodell a very powerful man, but the Person of the Year?
I’m not a writer for Time. But from my understanding, it seems as if past recipients of Person of the Year have done something that’s…eh hem..mattered. I love the NFL, but NOTHING that league does is worthy of worldwide praise, and the NFL has done NOTHING to influence society. Not to say the players haven’t. Ndamakong Suh, arguably the dirtiest, meanest player in the NFL still goes to visit sick kids in the hospital and plants tree in front of churches. That’s more than someone like Goodell could ever claim.
So it kind of sucks that a guy who’s main jobs are “how long should I suspend this guy” or “how do I lie about this scientific, imperial evidence to make sure people keep thinking this league is safe” is mentioned as one of the most influential and important people in the world. Even when Hitler won person of the year in 1938 it was just after he finished up unifying Germany and Austria. Yeah, it was part of his trademark cartoonish villainy, but at least it mattered on a grand scale. Even Taylor Swift, whose place on the finalists of Person of the Year seems satirical, at best, has been fighting for artists to receive more royalties from Spotify, a digital music service. So little, innocent, “Teardrops on My Guitar” Taylor Swift is fighting for the rights of entertainers.
And what’s Goodell doing? Figuring out how exactly to punish someone for taking too much Adderal.