SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Roger Goodell wasn’t holding just a press conference. He was appealing to the public, to the fans, and to the owners to give him a second chance.
Goodell has lined the owner’s pockets with enough money to build Levi’s Stadium several times over. In doing so, he has lined his own. From them, he gets a free pass. From everyone else? It’s time for Goodell to walk the Green Mile.
The NFL commissioner promised transparency during a press conference that was anything but transparent. His answer as to why the NFL could not get its hands on the Ray Rice elevator tape while TMZ could was loaded with excuses such as “relying on law enforcement and not wanting to interfere with a criminal investigation.” Really?
The TMZ reporter asked one more question.
Q: Mr. Commissioner we found out by one phone call. You have a whole legal department. Can you explain that?
A: I can’t explain how you got the information. Only you can do that.
The problem with the entire charade was the videotape. That darned videotape. Even the staunchest Goodell defender cannot defend the commissioner’s position that the league either had not seen or chose not to see the harrowing moments of Ray Rice knocking out his fiancée, an almost laughable proposition given the league’s insurmountable treasure of resources. Credibility was checked at the door.
Oh, he had the stock answers alright. “Unfortunately, over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong. That starts with me,” he said in his opening remarks. But it was a room filled with skepticism and mistrust.
Even the investigation in the league’s handling of the Ray Rice case is raising eyebrows because the law firm directed to handle the investigation, WilmerHale, has represented the NFL in the past. Former FBI director Robert Mueller, a partner at WilmerHale, is conducting the investigation. Check out this exchange between Goodell and a reporter.
Q: Why hire someone with even the appearance of impropriety and how do you expect us to accept everything?
A: I respectfully disagree. You are questioning the integrity of the director of the FBI. Yes, that firm has represented us in the past. They have also been on the other side in litigation against the NFL. So this is a highly respected individual, the longest serving director in the FBI.
Yes, how dare you question to the integrity of our buddy!
Goodell vowed to get it right. He said the NFL will establish a conduct committee and part of its responsibilities would be determine how the league takes a stance against violent acts without jeopardizing due process.
But who is in charge of the conduct of the commissioner?
See you on TV.