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Whatever the reason or the explanation, the serious criminal charges filed against Texans limited partner Javier Loya went undisclosed for nearly three months. Assuming the team and the league knew about the situation (they claim they did), when should the situation have been disclosed?

It’s an intriguing philosophical question. Is it proper for a team and the league to say nothing, opting instead to wait for the media to ask a question? (Media not owned and operated by the team or the league, that is.) Or should there be an affirmative disclosure of the pending charges?

In this case, the situation was concealed. The NFL’s statement makes it clear that the league knew from the outset — and that the league acted on it.

“The club promptly notified the league of the serious pending charges against Mr. Loya after they were filed,” the league said. “Mr. Loya has not been permitted to participate in any league or club activity during this process. He is no longer on any league committees.”

In other words, the league took action in response to the situation, essentially suspending Loya from any further NFL involvement. Shouldn’t that be the point at which the league discloses that which inevitably will be discovered and reported?

It all goes back to the question of whether owners are held to a “higher standard” than players. The real question is whether they’re even held to the same standard.

When the league takes action against a player facing criminal charges, the NFL announces it. Why should it not be announced when it happens as to an owner?

Obviously, the goal here was to delay the negative news item for as long as possible. But did the team and the league think that Loya’s case would progress through the criminal justice system without anyone ever realizing?

Maybe that was the objective, if the team and the league truly knew about the situation from its inception. Regardless, given the intense attention given to the NFL and the public money that teams routinely jostle from taxpayers, the league should be expected to disclose when action is taken against an owner in response to an off-field situation.

The league doesn’t do it because there’s no one to force the league to do it. It all goes back to the absence of oversight. Sooner or later, someone is going to realize that the most popular sport in America — a venture that can gather 6.3 million people on average for three hours of glorified football practice — desperately needs an agency or some other body that is making sure things are being handled legally, properly, and fairly.

The NFL’s only way to avoid this inevitability is to take actions aimed at creating the impression that oversight isn’t needed. Currently, that’s not happening.



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