SBD/April 27, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Lockout Watch, Day 47: Goodell Reiterates Negotiations Over Litigation

Goodell says he is concerned litigation could hurt future of NFL
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday again stressed his belief that the “way the new collective bargaining agreement is going to be reached is through a comprehensive and full negotiation” and not litigation. Referring to U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson’s decision to lift the lockout, Goodell said, “We need to see what the judge's rulings are. We obviously are going to pursue all our legal remedies. But it's really not about the litigation. It's about the future of the game.” He said the league wants to "make sure we protect the game, make sure our game continues to grow." Goodell: "There are a lot of things in the litigation that concerns me about the future of the game, and I've been very clear about that: The challenges to the draft, the challenges to free agency restriction, all of those things threaten what we have built and that everybody loves." Goodell noted he is "extremely concerned" the players' litigation could affect the future of the game (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 4/26). Goodell also appeared on NFL Network and reiterated that he does not believe “litigation is ultimately going to lead to any conclusion here” (“NFL Total Access,” NFL Network, 4/26).

READING BETWEEN THE LINES
: CBSSPORTS.com's Gregg Doyel wrote under the header, "Goodell Plays Us For Fools In Letter To WSJ." With Goodell's op-ed for the Wall Street Journal yesterday, "all he did was muddy the waters." Doyel: "Instead of lifting the level of discourse in this conversation, Goodell sent it toppling from the gutter, where it already was, to whatever level lies beneath the gutter." He added, "What Goodell did in that letter was use the union's words against the union, which isn't necessarily a dirty tactic -- but it is in this case, because he's using the union's words against the union ... when he knows full well that those words aren't realistic in the first place" (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/26). ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski writes Goodell's "latest propaganda effort is as smooth as driveway gravel." Wojciechowski: "It feels more calculated than sincere. It feels spinny" (ESPN.com, 4/27). In K.C., Sam Mellinger wrote, "Goodell's Chicken Little routine comes across as condescending, patronizing, insulting, and perhaps even dishonest. The spin and leaps in logic made [in the] editorial are big enough to erode credibility in the matter" (KCSTAR.com, 4/26).

PLACING BLAME: In DC, Sally Jenkins writes under the header, "NFL Owners Are Wrong, And Don't Get It." The owners "don't get it, and haven't from the beginning," but they "better get it fast, or the entire structure of the league may come down around their ears." Jenkins: "They had no right to lock out the players, they are in violation of antitrust law, and what's more they are repeat, recidivist offenders. They are guilty as charged, and this is the trouble with their hope for relief on appeal. ... The owners have now placed themselves in the ludicrous legal position of arguing strenuously against free market principles before conservative judges" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/27). In Minneapolis, Jim Souhan writes, "In the court of public opinion, this battle should already be over. The NFL players ... have whipped the owners" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/27).

IN OVER HIS HEAD? SI.com's Joe Posnanski wrote, "While watching this NFL labor mess ... it has occurred to me that Roger Goodell might [be] about 20,000 leagues over his head. It has occurred to me that while Bud Selig is destined to be underestimated because of the way he carries himself, that Roger Goodell is destined to be overestimated for exactly the same reason." Posnanski wrote Goodell's op-ed yesterday "screamed of desperation and, frankly, it felt a bit incompetent, too. If Bud Selig ever wrote a column like that, people would be pulling out their torches and pitchforks" (SI.com, 4/26).
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