Bimbo Banter

The Case for Roger Goodell

  • Crisis
  • September 19, 2014
  • by Merrie Spaeth

Roger goodell

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell proved why he should continue as football’s commissioner in his press conference today. After a steady drumbeat of calls for his resignation from publicity-worthy voices such as lawyer Gloria Allred, the predictable question was, “Have you considered resigning?” Goodell responded, “I have not. I’m focused on doing my job.” He made clear during the press conference that he is serious when he says things will be different, that he and the league will be accountable and that he had a set of specific policies he intends to implement.

As people called for Goodell’s resignation since the second  Ray Rice video came to light, it’s wise to remember the Commissioner has to work with a number of audiences, not just the owners and the players but the legal and regulatory thicket, union bargaining rules and the requirement of due process. If he proposed these changes a year ago, he would have been ignored, disregarded and unsuccessful. He seized the moment to propel the league forward. It is sad that he had to wait for sensational and tragic events to justify it, and he certainly stumbled badly when he said he hadn’t seen the second video.

One of the issues he did not deal with in today’s press conference, but which will be crucial to the successful implementation of the policies announced today, is to retrace the steps that kept the second video from him – since I believe he was being truthful. Somebody, probably more than one, saw the video, consulted with higher-ups, probably in the legal department, who agreed that the commissioner should not see it so he has plausible deniability. Instead of deniability, he garnered ridicule. Tracing those steps and making sure all the internal audiences know that business will be done differently will be just as big a task as the newly-established standards on domestic violence and broader behavior, but it’s even more important.

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