Here is your laugh for the day. Two members of Congress have asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell if he will remove draft picks from teams who fail to effectively address the issue of domestic violence and sexual abuse in the league. Do they truly believe that Goodell will take action which would affect the owners? That is a good one.
Let’s look at the history of Goodell’s failures. He lied to fans and the American public claiming that he didn’t know what happened inside that New Jersey elevator before the second surveillance tape surfaced. He was attempting to protect his good friend and supporter Baltimore Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti. Next; he failed to take action before the AFC Championship Game this year although he had been informed of the suspicion of under-inflated balls used by the New England Patriots nearly a week before kickoff. Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, is his biggest supporter and the reason he made $44 million in 2014.
With the exception of punishing players for substance abuse on on-field violations, Goodell has proven himself to be all rhetoric and no substance. He has made broad statements regarding domestic violence, now let’s see if he takes action.
Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat from Hawaii, and Representative Jackie Speier, Democrat from California addressed a letter to the commissioner Tuesday. They asked him why no mention of removing draft picks was included in his statement last month. In the case of other team violations this has been standard practice.
Many fans and sports reporters not associated with the NFL League Office are asking reasonable questions. A recent poll showed that Goodell has a favorability rating with fans of 18 percent; almost as low as that of Congress. Aaron Rodgers reportedly made $22 million in 2014; Goodell’s income was twice that. This is proof that Goodell does not work for the players or the fans; his only loyalty is to the owners, and they to him because of increasing revenues.
I am not in denial that the NFL is a major corporation; an enormous money-making machine. However, when money becomes the only goal, the product deteriorates, and consumers lose interest.
It would be the decision of the owners to remove Goodell from power. Greed will never allow it, and Goodell will never resign. Where would he find another job which paid him tens of millions of dollars and he could be a dictator?
Goodell can’t handle confrontation, and fumbles his words when faced with the truth. He wasn’t prepared when a reporter was doing her job, and questioning his actions regarding an investigation.
CNN’s Rachel Nichols asked the question when she confronted the Commissioner if it is a conflict of interest when the League, which is Goodell, hires investigators to uncover alleged violations by NFL teams when he is paid by the team’s owners. He was at a loss for words until he apparently made an effort to interject humor. He said that someone has to pay them and that he didn’t believe she wanted to, so the League would take care of it.
Eric Winston is the president of the NFL Players Association. He put the issue of Goodell’s failure in a nutshell. He said that the monetary success of the league is not indicative of a successful Commissioner. The he said that ‘a two-year-old would be successful in Goodell’s capacity; the NFL’s profitability is unquestionable.’
Did anyone notice the ‘boos’ when Goodell presented the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl XLIX?
Commentary by James Turnage