What is the price of losing your integrity?
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league's owners are being challenged to answer that question on Tuesday after replacement referees affirmed the controversial, last-second touchdown that gave the Seattle Seahawks the win over the Green Bay Packers in Monday night's game.
While the call might have shifted up to a $1 billion for gamblers worldwide, there has been little actual cost to the league using replacement referees. Television ratings remain robust and attendance hasn't been impacted while the league continues to negotiate with the referees' union.
But just because it isn't easy to pin down an actual cost doesn't mean the league hasn't hurt itself.
"The reason why the NFL and other major sports are so popular is because major league sports are seen as a legitimate competition in which strategy and talent will win out and will not be undermined in any way," said Adam Galinsky, the Kaplan Professor of Ethics and Decisions in Management at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. "Legitimacy is what makes people consider the NFL a sport and wrestling an entertainment vehicle..."
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