NFL Commissioner: “I Got It Wrong”
NFL Commissioner: “I Got It Wrong”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in full-out damage control mode today as he gave a press conference in New York City, saying that he “got it wrong and I’m sorry for that” in the Ray Rice domestic violence case, where he initially only suspended Rice for two games.
In vowing to fix matters, while still covering himself from absolute responsibility by pointing at the legal system, Goodell formally announced that former FBI director Robert Muller has been hired to investigate how the Ray Rice case was handled by the NFL (and will presumably answer how the commissioner can claim that he never saw the second video of the actual beating when law enforcement confirmed that they turned it over to the NFL, though he still firmly asserts that no one in the NFL’s office knew about the video prior to its appearance on TMZ’s website). Goodell announced, “We will get our house in order first.”
He also announced that the NFL would “help to create change” by partnering with two groups, the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. “Partnering” in this case means “money.” Goodell also said that the newly hired experts (otherwise known as “women“) will be in charge of planning new “training programs” for teams. There will also be a new conduct committee established to streamline discipline for players on a more consistent basis, with the goal of having this new committee and new conduct standards completely in place by the next Super Bowl in 2015.
“We strongly condemn and will punish behavior that is totally unacceptable,” Goodell promised.
And no, he will not be resigning, claiming that it never even occurred to him to do that.
So, just to recap, Goodell admits that he screwed up, refuses to believe that the video was available to his office, is throwing money at domestic violence charities, hired women to create new sensitivity training programs that everyone will have to participate in (which I’m sure the players’ union is just thrilled about), and will just wait for former director Muller to tell him who to fire for the Ray Rice screwup.
Other than exposing himself to the press to answer the same questions again and again for an hour (and dealing with one nutcase from the Howard Stern show who decided to get a few seconds of camera time), Goodell has done nothing new but give money to charity and order everyone to sensitivity training. New rules will be made, eventually, but there will be a nice and slow process so no one will hear about them except via press release. There will be no more big press conferences unless a giant bombshell gets uncovered. Goodell desperately wants this to go away, and he is hoping that this mea culpa will be enough to get the press off his back.
The only potentially good thing that could come out of this is that if he follows through, Goodell may be on the way to ending the entitled culture that has surrounded NFL players and made them untouchable. But he will have to follow through with every single case that comes to light, not pick and choose. And it will not be enough to hide behind the legal system and wait for indictments or charges to be handed down.
More than a few players are going to need to have their careers stripped from them in order for this to sink in, and that will be a better deterrent than “sensitivity training.”
Let’s hope Goodell has the stones to actually follow through when the next assault case comes to light.