Thursday, July 21, 2016
Why Goodell Is The Deflategate Loser
Two pieces in the wake of Tom Brady's decision to hand off the suit against the NFL to the NFLPA warrant a look. The first examines how Roger Goodell actually conducts player discipline hearings - and what it shows is Goodell is a demagogue with zero honesty and no desire to do anything but punish players for its own demented sake. Lawyer Peter Ginsberg notes that Goodell looks for reaffirmation of his view - "It's very difficult to have a genuine, authentic disagreement with Roger" - and writer Tim Rohan notes Goodell takes personal offense when a player defends himself to him.
It's a pattern noted in the past by sports law professor Jeffrey Standen and by writer Sally Jenkins. Jenkins comes out firing yet again by noting that the myth of Goodell having more power now than before is false - "vain NFL owners" publicly won't admit they made a mistake electing him commissioner but privately have been working to undermine him, between negotiating with the NFLPA on a new personal conduct policy and already starting to declaw Goodell with the hiring of Tod Leiweke as league CCO and ex-White House press flak Joe Lockhart (who reports to Leiweke rather than Goodell) as VP of Communications. Indeed, the July 19 Monday Morning Quarterback story by Jenny Vrentas - "The Goodell Decade" - serves mostly as a mawkish disinformation piece to press the myth of Goodell as more powerful than ever.
The owners have already started cleaning up after him. Standen noted it took some five votes in 2006 before they agreed to elect him Commissioner. It clearly is a sign that they now quietly feel they were wrong.