SBD/Issue 192/Leagues & Governing Bodies

HBO's Gumbel Praises Roger Goodell For Leadership Qualities

Goodell Defines Leadership
In Sports For Gumbel
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is the only leader of the four major pro team sports that "seems to understand the concept" of leadership and "not run from it," according to HBO's Bryant Gumbel. The final segment of HBO's "Real Sports" last night was devoted to the concept of leadership in sports. Gumbel said, "In 1964, Justice Potter Stewart famously said he couldn't define pornography, but he knew it when he saw it. Well the same could be said for leadership in that it defies easy definition." Gumbel: "Unlike his predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, who couldn't lead a two-man parade, Goodell seems determined to not only lead the NFL, but redefine the nature of its character. His conduits to do so right now are a pair of troubled wide receivers named Donte Stallworth and Plaxico Burress, both of whom would seem to have successfully circumvented the judicial process." Gumbel added, "Thankfully, Goodell seems determined to act where the judicial will not" ("Real Sports," HBO, 6/23).

TOO HARSH ON TAGLIABUE? PRO FOOTBALL TALK’s Mike Florio wrote Gumbel’s characterization of Tagliabue’s leadership skills "seems to be unfair” even though “many of the current problems with which Goodell is wrestling were created and/or ignored by Tagliabue” (, 6/23).'s Kenny Fang wrote, “I like this particular commentary although I feel Bryant’s words on Tagliabue are a bit harsh” (, 6/23).

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