Roger Goodell last summer called the conduct of Washington’s football team leaders “odious.” Last week, Goodell’s League called Jon Gruden’s racist email about Players’ Association chief DeMaurice Smith “obnoxious,” just before Gruden was allowed to coach one of the final games. Raiders – a decision that was, you guessed it, heinous.
The NFL can blame Las Vegas owner Mark Davis for allowing his man to lead a squad that included many African-American players and an openly gay player, Carl Nassib, while the league was in possession of the e- Gruden’s homophobic and misogynistic mails that were about to be exposed. But Goodell is the keeper of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, not Davis. The fact that Nassib needed to take a personal day away from his team on Wednesday should make the league terribly proud.
Now there are calls for Goodell to post all 650,000 emails uncovered in the Washington Workplace Environment Investigation, and not just those disclosed with the apparent aim of destroying a career, Gruden’s, that deserved to be destroyed. Maybe 650,000 is too big a request. Goodell should at least task investigator Beth Wilkinson with posting the emails relevant to the NFL’s finding that Washington’s culture was toxic, abusive, predatory, you name it for female employees.
But of course the commissioner will not. During his 15 years in office, Goodell has proven that he has little interest in finding the absolute truth and sharing it with his loyal clientele. He’s only looking for the most convenient truth, a story that will get him out of this and bring him back to making a lot of money for Daniel Snyder (sort of still the WTF owner of the WFT), the other 31 owners and , of course, himself. .
On the day in August 2006 when Goodell was elected successor to Paul Tagliabue, Snyder was among the owners to publicly congratulate the new manager. Seven years later, Goodell wrote to 10 members of Congress in support of Snyder’s desire to retain the team name “Redskins”, calling the name “a unifying force that represents strength, courage, pride and respect”. Eight years later, Goodell gave the billionaire a pass in the form of a $ 10 million fine despite the gruesome findings of an investigation imposed on the commissioner by the Washington Post reports.
Goodell will do anything to protect the owners, the people who made this privilege of son of Bronxville richer than the wealthiest NFL players, and opened the doors to Augusta National membership and associated benefits. In 2017, Goodell reportedly asked those owners for a new contract that included nearly $ 50 million in annual salary, lifetime use of a private jet, and lifetime insurance coverage for his entire family. The commissioner wanted the ultimate deal guaranteed in a league that only guarantees most players physical pain and a misstep once the injuries accumulate.
If Goodell was judged as players are judged, on performance he would have been excluded from the squad at least half a dozen times. Most of his mistakes weren’t forced and made in the name of protecting one owner, multiple owners, and sometimes even a player while often trying to sidestep the absolute truth.
He had the evidence of the Patriots’ Spygate destroyed, to protect Benefactor Robert Kraft and the League’s premier franchise, then went too far in Deflategate to satisfy any owners enraged by his Spygate moves. He did not want to participate in the search for this very accessible video of Ray Rice’s elevator and then was hammered by a former federal judge who did not accept the commissioner’s claim that Rice had misled him on what had happened in that casino elevator, citing Goodell for “abuse of discretion. He went too far in the Saints’ Bountygate case, and then was hammered home by his own appointed appellate judge, Tagliabue, who canceled the player suspensions of his successor.
Pressed by the growing evidence that football is dangerous to your health, especially your brain health, Goodell actually replied, “There is a risk in life. There is a risk in sitting on the sofa. The commissioner never accepted what Colin Kaepernick and others were defending (or kneeling), then only turned the court around and admitted the league was wrong “for not listening to NFL players sooner. When he felt he had no choice but to mention Kaepernick’s name). His friend, civil rights activist Harry Edwards, compared Goodell’s sudden support for African-American players and their just causes to “Dracula pledging to donate regularly to the blood bank.”
Now, longtime businessman Goodell wants you to believe that not only should a written account of the Washington investigation not be released; there was never a need for a paper trail in the first place. While his personal conduct policy says owners are held to a higher standard than players, Goodell made sure Wilkinson’s report on Snyder’s cultivation was never printed. It will also try to ensure that these emails stay out of public view.
There is only one word for this kind of NFL leadership. Odious.