It's open season on Roger Goodell.
It's a fitting choice of wording, as each situation highlights the tone deafness of Goodell's reign as commissioner.
12 members of Congress sent Goodell a letter seeking "the highest level of transparency" in the investigation conducted by Robert Mueller III.
That the query is being overseen by a pair of NFL owners puts its legitimacy into some question.
Here's what's being written about Goodell:
Don Banks (SI) thinks whatever was left of Goodell's credibility is now gone:
The choices remain either incompetence or negligence, and either way, Goodell is responsible for the abysmal failure that took place in the league’s flawed investigation. It happened on his watch, and under his leadership.
And those are the rules, right? Because how is this substantially different than the charge Goodell—with righteous indignation—levied against Saints head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis two years ago in the team’s bounty scandal? As you recall, ignorance wasn’t accepted as a defense when Payton and Loomis claimed they weren’t aware of what renegade defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was up to in his meeting room, with his bounty pool nonsense.
Goodell’s tough-guy stance was, If you didn’t know exactly what was going on in your program, that’s no excuse. You should have known. Case closed. Punishment dispensed.
Michael Rosenberg (SI) disagrees with Banks regarding Goodell's job security:
Look, this is basic crisis management: When others are going to flog you, flog yourself first. Be contrite. Show remorse. Admit you don’t know everything and are determined to find out what happened. Goodell commissioned a 144-page report on Richie Incognito. He should have announced something similar this week. A humbler Goodell would have done that and survived, but a humbler Goodell wouldn’t be Goodell.
Peter King (MMQB) says the league's skyrocketing revenues translate to job security for Goodell:
The public and media can think the league lied. But in terms of Goodell’s status as commissioner, the question is whether the owners have lost confidence in him. And in taking the temperature of owners or owners’ reps Wednesday night, I got this sense: Goodell has so much goodwill in the bank in their eyes that there’s no way—without definitive proof that the commissioner lied—they’d throw him, and his $44 million annual compensation, to the wolves. The goodwill includes a collective bargaining agreement with the players association through 2020 and lucrative TV contracts that pay each team about $150 million per year.
But as Dan Wetzel (Yahoo!) notes, humility doesn't exactly come easily for Goodell, if at all:
Some humility would have helped. He could've then sat tight and waited for Sunday's kickoffs to distract everyone.
Humility, however, has never been Goodell's strong suit. What we got was traditional Roger, seen as arrogant and aloof, the son of a U.S. senator who can hardly be bothered by criticism of his actions or genius.
Well, that veneer of capability is gone, at least with most of the public. Goodell's word means nothing, he's being mocked by the hour on TMZ, and the only thing that can save him is if he isn't caught in more discrepancies.
We're supposed to believe that in 157 minutes, after business hours on a Wednesday on the East Coast, the NFL managed to talk to every person who could have possibly received the video at its headquarters, everyone at its NFL Films office in New Jersey and everyone at the NFL Network near Los Angeles, which the TMZ report claims? That it knows without any doubt that nobody saw it? That a reputable news organization just made it all up? The NFL headquarters has 475 employees alone, TMZ said. And the league managed to figure out in 157 minutes that not a one of them saw the video.
If the NFL had worked that efficiently and quickly on the Rice investigation, maybe we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.
Mike Florio (PFT) isn't sure that Goodell can govern effectively moving forward:
This case will stick permanently to Goodell, making it difficult for him to credibly levy punishment for any and all infractions for which players, coaches, owners, and/or teams are disciplined in the future.
The better model could be for the Commissioner (whoever it may be) to be the good cop, with a top-level lieutenant serving as the bad cop. And if/when the bad cop becomes anything other than squeaky clean, a new bad cop will be hired.
Michael Powell (NY Times) says the NFL's selective cognition is one of its many circus acts:
Norah O’Donnell asked the obvious follow-up of the commissioner in the interview: What was ambiguous about the first video, available since February, which showed an elevator door opening at an Atlantic City casino and Janay Palmer, who is now Rice’s wife, lying there, out cold? Rice tried to drag her out, before giving up in disgust.
“That was the result that we saw,” Goodell replied. “We did not know what led up to that.”
So ambiguity curls up like a cat around the foot of intentional ignorance.
The Atlantic City police report, it is worth recalling, stated that Rice struck his fiancée with his hand, “rendering her unconscious.” Perhaps the passive language threw Goodell off. But logic dictates that Rice knocked her out.
It's apparent to Kevin Acee (UTSD) that the NFL will never prioritize human welfare over revenue:
Whatever the truth is, it’s as impossible to defend the NFL as it is to defend Ray Rice.
However this current crisis at 345 Park Avenue plays out, the truth we can’t get past is that the league doesn’t care about people, at least not unless it has to or unless caring affects the ability to make more money.
Danger Guerrero (KSK) presents an idea more worthy of consideration than at first blush:
I think we should replace him with a pineapple in a top hat.
Unquestionably, the best outcome of the Rice case is that domestic violence awareness is on the rise.
Sidespin looks back at Goodell's handling of domestic violence as commissioner. Sadly, several former Broncos play a starring role on the list, with wideout Brandon Marshall the most frequent offender.
Mark Kiszla is proud that current Bronco Terrance Knighton had the guts to speak out rather than just support Rice.
As for Goodell's whereabouts when the elevator video was allegedly sent to NFL headquarters? He was at the Masters.
The Niners suspended (excellent) broadcaster Ted Robinson over some awful victim-blaming comments. Of course, this is the same franchise whose coach claims to have no tolerance for domestic violence, but last week started Ray McDonald, who was arrested for having allegedly beaten the hell out of his pregnant fiancee.
Pete Carroll claims his views on domestic violence have been forever altered by the Rice video, but the guy's own assistant head coach is none other than Tom Cable.
Inexplicably, the Worldwide Leader continues to trot Stephen A. Smith out to
discuss rant about domestic violence.