Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 25 No. 172
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Rice Video Raises Questions About Goodell's Trustworthiness, Competence, Job Security

Criticism continues to come in with regard to how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handled the domestic-abuse case involving RB Ray Rice and the backlash has led to questions about his future as the league's top exec. ESPN.com's Jason Whitlock writes under the header, "Roger Goodell's Epic Failure." Goodell's response to the Rice situation represents "incompetence at a confidence-shaking level." During his tenure, Goodell has taken on "the role as czar of discipline -- rather than delegating it -- as a way of promoting his own brand." Goodell "created this mess a long time ago." Whitlock: "He should soon follow Ray Rice in looking for a new line of work" (ESPN.com, 9/9). ESPN N.Y.'s Ian O'Connor wrote Goodell "has forever lost his moral authority to lead." He "isn't going to resign, and the owners aren't going to fire him." Goodell "needs to understand he has committed a personal foul against his legacy that is as permanent as pro football's standing as America's most popular sport." The Rice videos "will haunt" Goodell (ESPNNY.com, 9/8). In DC, Sally Jenkins writes it has "always been obvious" that Goodell "is an unduly vain commissioner, and a self-serving one with his eye on some further prize." But it has "never been more apparent" that he "obfuscates and evades on tough issues unless they are convenient for him, that his convictions are highly selective and so is his enforcement" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/9). Also in DC, Mike Wise writes the fallout from the Rice episode "has moved beyond Rice’s criminal behavior and onto Goodell’s overall fitness to do his job." If the NFL "were a democracy, Goodell would be voted out of office." It is "beyond comprehension how the NFL fumbled this so badly." Wise: "Roger Goodell is not a leader of men. He’s an overpaid, tone-deaf functionary whose power now needs to be checked. He needs to go" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/9).

MORE CRITICISM OF GOODELL: In Las Vegas, Ed Graney writes the resolutions to the "countless unanswered questions" to the Rice incident "could lead to a historic shakeup in the NFL" (REVIEW-JOURNAL, 9/9). In DC, Jonathan Capehart wrote confidence in Goodell's leadership "ought to be in tatters." He asserted former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has "an intense love of the game," should "step in and save the NFL" by succeeding Goodell (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/8). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes the Rice situation is "only the latest fiasco engineered by Goodell, whose very competence as a leader has to be called into question now" (N.Y. POST, 9/9).  In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy asks, "How did so many organizations fail, and what would have happened if the new video never surfaced?" The handling of the Rice situation "may go down as Goodell's defining moment" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/9). CBSSPORTS.com's Gregg Doyel wrote NFL owners "should demand the answer" to the question of "what Goodell knew, and when did he know it." They should do so "with the transparency that has been lacking throughout this grotesque affair" (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/8). SPORTING NEWS' David Steele wrote "leadership breakdowns of this magnitude ought to give NFL fans pause." It also "should make them wish they could get a commissioner with as solid a moral compass as the NBA has" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 9/8). In S.F., Scott Ostler writes Goodell and the NFL "have to take the lead here" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/9).

OWNER DEFENDS GOODELL: Patriots Owner Robert Kraft today appeared live in-studio with co-host Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning." Rose said, "Some are looking at this and saying in fact this is a tough, defining moment for the NFL and you are part of the NFL." Kraft responded, "I think anyone that witnessed that video yesterday has to be outraged and really disgusted to see someone associated with us doing something like that. Anyone who's a real man doesn't hit a woman." Kraft: "I know our commissioner has taken some heat. I just want to say that I spoke with him yesterday when this came out, not knowing what was going to happen and knowing I was coming on here.  He had no knowledge of this video. The way he's handled this situation himself, coming out with a mea culpa and the statement a couple weeks ago ... and setting a very clear policy how we conduct ourselves in the NFL, I thought was excellent and anyone who's second-guessing that doesn't know him." Kraft said despite the criticism facing the league and Ravens, "the good news is, people did the right thing." Kraft: "I don't think he'll play another NFL game. I'll be shocked that some team would pick him up" ("CBS This Morning," 9/9).

IS THIS THE END FOR ROGER? A K.C. STAR editorial states Goodell "wrote his own pink slip with his inexcusable handling" of the Rice case. NFL owners "should fire Goodell for how poorly he served their multibillion-dollar industry" (K.C. STAR, 9/9). In Tampa, Tom Jones wrote "this ugly mess should end Roger Goodell's tenure" (TAMPABAY.com, 9/8). In L.A., Vincent Bonsignore writes "if it turns out Goodell saw it beforehand, he should be shown the door" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/9). SI.com's Michael Rosenberg wrote Goodell "needs to just admit he messed up, say he has learned from it and promise that he won’t make the same mistake again." There can be "no excuses, no blame-shifting." Then he can "turn his eyes to ... his biggest test as commissioner," Panthers DE Greg Hardy, who in July was found guilty of assaulting his former girlfriend (SI.com, 9/8). In Memphis, Geoff Calkins writes Goodell "will also pay a heavy price" for his response to the Rice incident. His "mishandling of this incident will become the symbol of his erratic approach to discipline, and it will be the reason Goodell will not have a long tenure" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 9/9). CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto wrote Goodell "can never escape" Rice. The situation is "as much his legacy as concussions, and record revenues, and the 24/7/52 football cycle" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 9/8). ESPN’s Keith Olbermann said Goodell “must resign and if he will not do so NFL owners must fire him,” along with Senior VP/Labor Policy Adolpho Birch and Exec VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash. Olbermann: “Goodell’s existence, who he is, what he has turned the NFL Commissioner’s office into is now symbolized by Ray Rice’s brutal left hand striking Janay Palmer and striking her again. Mr. Goodell is an enabler of men who beat women. His position within the National Football League is no longer tenable” (“Olbermann,” ESPN2, 9/8).

TRUST ISSUES: FORBES' Patrick Rishe wrote under the header, "Roger Goodell Must Be Held Responsible If NFL Lied About Ray Rice Investigation" (FORBES.com, 9/8). In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes Goodell's indefinite suspension of Rice might have come "too late." If a coverup is confirmed, he "should lose the public's faith, his owners' good will, and ultimately his job" (L.A. TIMES, 9/9). In Chicago, Rick Morrissey writes the Rice situation "has blown up" in Goodell's face. He "continues to look like a man protecting women-beaters." Morrissey: "Pathetic" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/9). Also in Chicago, Rick Telander asks of Goodell, "Why should we believe him about anything? When should he be held accountable for his failures?" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/9). In St. Louis, Bryan Burwell writes Goodell "has revealed himself to be an insincere, PR-motivated tough guy." The Rice video "is the latest evidence that there is good reason to question his motives in everything he does, everything he says" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISTPATCH, 9/9). TIME's Sean Gregory wrote people "can backtrack all they want." The NFL's popularity and profits "can keep ballooning." But the Rice case "drives something home: Don’t go trusting the NFL" (TIME.com, 9/8). N.Y. TIMES columnist William Rhoden: "If we find out that Roger Goodell knew about this video, and saw it, you really have to start thinking about impeachment because this is beyond unacceptable" ("CBS This Morning," 9/9). In St. Paul, Tom Powers writes "from this point forward, don't believe anything coming from the NFL offices with regard to Rice. It's all lies" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 9/9).