SBD/May 10, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Lockout Watch, Day 60: Goodell Contacts Fan Who Complained About Call

Goodell taking brunt of criticism from players, fans during lockout
Roger Goodell yesterday called a Colts blogger who had complained about the NFL commissioner’s conference call with Colts ticket holders last week, and the two had a “one-on-one phone chat," according to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. Blogger Nate Dunlevy, who lives and works in Argentina, said he and Goodell spoke for “roughly ten minutes.” Dunlevy on his blog recounts, “I found Mr. Goodell to be patient, straightforward and direct. He directly challenged some of my assertions with fact claims that I simply could not verify in the moment. He presented himself in a calm, caring, and concerned way.” Dunlevy asked questions “about the league's TV deals and court losses and wanted to know if the commissioner had any regrets about the way the NFL has handled things during the labor impasse." He noted that the correspondence with Goodell started last Friday, when NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy "got his information" (ESPN.com, 5/9). ESPN.com's Kuharsky wrote Goodell "deserves credit for his accessibility." It is an "easy conversation to avoid, but it’s a smart one to take on and while it creates beneficial PR, I feel sure it’s not strictly about PR." Kuharsky: "Good times or bad, the fact that he’s willing to connect with fans rather than sit in an Ivory Tower is a good thing" (ESPN.com, 5/9).

PICKING ON THE WRONG GUY? CBSSPORTS.com's Pete Prisco wrote, "Why has Roger Goodell become enemy No. 1? Why do fans boo him during draft night? Why do players rip him constantly, sometimes maliciously? I just don't get it." Goodell works for the owners, so "any venom directed at him is misguided." Goodell "has influence, but he doesn't have a vote." Prisco: "We haven't heard one venomous thing slung in the direction of an owner by a named player or not. It's Goodell this, Goodell that. ... I just wish I understood the nastiness coming at him since he is nothing more than a point man for the 32 men who truly are on the opposite side of the players" (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/9). SI.com's Peter King wrote, "I remember similar anger directed at Pete Rozelle in 1987, the last time games were lost in NFL history due to a job action. There will be more, and when there's a solution, it'll go away. That's labor strife, anywhere, in any walk of life" (SI.com, 5/9).
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