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Volume 24 No. 178

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The NFL's looming contract extension with Commissioner Roger Goodell would see his "base salary more than double," though it is unclear "whether his total compensation will increase," according to a source cited by Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. The league "declined to say whether the commissioner’s contract would be extended." Goodell’s compensation is "decided by the compensation committee," led by Falcons Owner Arthur Blank. By extending Goodell’s contract through '24, the owners have decided that he is the "best person to negotiate" a new CBA (N.Y. TIMES, 8/22).

BUSINESS IS BOOMING: In Boston, Ben Volin writes Goodell has been "good for business" since becoming commissioner in '06, and that is enough for the 32 owners who "pull the strings, no matter how one-sided his investigations are or how many draft picks he docks from teams." Goodell has been "good for business, and he is here to stay, whether the fans and players like it or not" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/22). The L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke said Goodell “has earned every penny” of his extension. He made the owners $14B last year, $1B "more than the year before.” Plaschke: "You may not like how he runs the league, you may not like his discipline actions. Owners love him. He’s earned his money.” The Colorado Springs Gazette's Woody Paige noted Goodell “has been a great CEO," and the owners are "happy, except for a couple of examples." The Dallas Morning News' Tim Cowlishaw noted players "think he’s been a little out of control.” However, if someone makes "big money for the owners, you get them big TV contracts, you get them new stadiums and you have labor peace … you’re going to get extended” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 8/21). In Toronto, John Kryk writes if fans are wondering why owners are trying to secure Goodell for another five years, it is because of "all the money Rodge has made them" (TORONTO SUN, 8/22).

BETTER OFF NOW THAN EVER BEFORE: FS1's Colin Cowherd said, "It is the old Ronald Reagan line: ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ Ratings, relocation, revenue, and they just signed a couple years ago a 10-year CBA that is viewed as overwhelmingly in favor of the owner. Owners right now are real happy." FS1's Seth Joyner: "As long as he is producing the way the 32 owners want him to produce, they don't care what everybody else thinks” (“Speak for Yourself,” FS1, 8/21). ESPN's Jemele Hill noted Goodell has been "great for the bottom line, and that is all (owners) care about." Hill: "Look at the number of teams that have moved. You have the Raiders moving to Vegas, and that’s putting billions in people's pockets. Everybody's value is up." ESPN’s Michael Smith: “He is not in the business of making players happy, he is not in the business of making friends. He is in the business of making money, and business is a-booming" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/21).

EARNING HIS MONEY: ESPN's Adam Schefter said despite having issues with two prominent owners in the Patriots' Robert Kraft and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones, Goodell is being extended because the “league is making more money, the popularity is greater than ever before." Schefter: "You can say that has nothing to do with Roger, that's fine. The fact of the matter is he's the CEO of a large company here where the values are booming, the money's rolling in and he's at the head of it" ("NFL Live," ESPN2, 8/21).'s Ray Ratto wrote the owners "sent the message that, whatever the state of his petty feuds with allegedly powerful owners" like Kraft and Jones, they are "unwilling to overturn the car to spite the roadway." For all the criticism Goodell takes -- and "maybe because he’s the one who takes it rather than his 32 bosses -- he keeps his real constituency content, if not necessarily happy" (, 8/21). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said the extension is deserved because Goodell is the “whipping boy for the owners.” ESPN's Tony Kornheiser: “The owners sit back and they say, ‘You know what? We are not being booed. That guy’s being booed’” (“PTI,” ESPN, 8/21).

Twelve Browns players last night staged the NFL's "largest" protest around the national anthem seen over the past two seasons by "kneeling in a circle on the sideline" before the team's preseason game against the Giants, according to Marla Ridenour of the AKRON BEACON JOURNAL. Five others players  "stood with the group with a hand on a teammate’s shoulder." Browns LB Christian Kirksey: "We were praying over the country, praying over things that are going on and we tried to do it as respectfully as possible. We respect everything that happens with people in the military, we respect all of that. We felt it was the right time to do that."  Browns S Jabrill Peppers: "There’s too much hate in the world and we just wanted to come together as men." Ridenour notes the "majority of the participants were African-American," but TE Seth DeValve was among those kneeling and P Britton Colquitt "stood behind them, looking up and pointing to the sky." Ridenour reports DeValve is the "first white NFL player to actively participate" in a protest during the anthem. DeValve: "I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there’s things in this country that still need to change" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 8/22). THE ATHLETIC's Tom Reed reports it "didn’t appear any members" of the Giants participated in any protest (, 8/22).

TEAM GAME: DeValve said that recent events in Charlottesville had "a lot to do with the decision." But DeValve, whose wife is African-American, added, "I myself will be raising children that don't look like me, and I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now."'s Pat McManamon noted Browns coach Hue Jackson this past week "stood by his players' right to make a statement, provided it was peaceful and he had advance notice." Jackson following the game said, "We respect our players; we respect the flag. Those guys came to me and talked to me about it before they ever made a decision" (, 8/21). A team spokesperson said in a statement at halftime, "We feel it's important for our team to join in this great tradition and special moment of recognition, at the same time we also respect the great liberties afforded by our country, including the freedom of personal expression" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/22). YAHOO SPORTS' Frank Schwab wrote, "It was a scene unlike any other we’ve seen so far for the anthem" (, 8/21). 

HIJACKING THE NARRATIVE: TNT's Charles Barkley said the media has "hijacked the story" about the on-field demonstrations. He said, "We spend all our time talking about who is standing, who is not standing, who’s the good guy, who’s the bad guy. ... We don't talk about the issues anymore, and that is the thing that disappoints me the most. When is last time we talked about why the guys are actually kneeling or holding up their fists?" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 8/22). The Browns' demonstration came after several similar moments over the weekend, including Raiders QB Derek Carr putting a hand on LB Khalil Mack during the anthem. NBC Sports Bay Area's Ray Ratto said, "A lot of people are going to look at Derek Carr and Khalil Mack and go, ‘Oh, this is the NFL showing that players get along.’ Well, that's not what the issue is about. They're going to turn this into what they want the issue to be, that football builds togetherness. No, this is about young men who see a crisis in the country and need to do something within the framework of their jobs, and this is as close as they're going to get unless they want to say something afterward or before” (“The Happy Hour,” NBCS Bay Area, 8/21). 

TIME TO END THE SILENCE: Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins, who plans to raise his fist throughout the season, said part of the "frustration from the guys that are speaking up" is that they might be labeled as locker room distractions. He said the "amount of silence from players, coaches, GMs and ownership about these issues" gives off a "false perception to the public that people don't care about it." Jenkins: "We have these conversations daily, and guys in the locker room are frustrated and want to figure out ways to help. This does obviously counter those arguments that these are things guys care about, white and black, and hopefully we can continue to use our platforms to change that and hopefully more guys speak up” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 8/21). ESPN’s Herm Edwards said he would be in favor of teams meeting "as an organization" to talk about "why these players feel like they need to have a silent protest." That would ensure all members of the franchise know "why these guys are not standing up for the national anthem." Edwards: "We are getting this thing all twisted like it’s a football thing. This is no football thing. This is an American thing" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/22).

Driver Kyle Busch is "exactly what NASCAR needs, a driver willing to don the black who is not only unafraid to be booed, but actively encourages the venom," according to Jordan Bianchi of SB NATION. Busch is the sport's "most loathed" driver, and he is not "going to change." After winning Saturday's Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Busch climbed "atop his No. 18 Toyota with a broom, where he proceeded to sweep the roof." Busch won the Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races at BMS for the weekend. After jumping down from his car, he "mocked those loudly booing him by placing his fingers in his ears to block out the jeers before waving three fingers in the air to signify how many races he had won." Busch being NASCAR’s No. 1 villain is not a "recent occurrence." It has "long been the case thanks to his dominance on the track accompanied with sometimes boorish behavior off it." Busch’s "superiority and unabashed willingness to voice his displeasure when things don’t go his way have ensured that many fans aren’t enamored" with the '15 Cup Series champion (, 8/21).'s Dustin Long wrote under the header, "Love Him Or Hate Him, Kyle Busch Is What NASCAR needs." Busch is "part superstar, part showman." Long: "The good guy to his fans, Busch also can be cast as the villain to the rest of the fanbase. He’s accepted that role, embraced it and learned how to egg on the haters in the stands and the trolls on social media" (, 8/21).'s Dave Caldwell wrote, "NASCAR could use more bad guys! Or more guys like Kyle Busch, anyway." NASCAR is "blending in a group of young drivers" and with the "exception of the colorful Ryan Blaney, they all kind of seem the same: gentlemanly, polite -- and bland." Maybe they "think they have to be nice to each other to promote a sport that needs help" (, 8/21).

KEEPING QUIET: The AP's Jenna Fryer wrote under the header, "NASCAR Needs To Speak Up Amid U.S. Turmoil." The sport cannot "sit on the sidelines and simply watch." NASCAR "lost the luxury of staying above the fray two years ago" when Chair & CEO Brian France "said he didn't want Confederate flags at racetracks anymore." Fryer noted last year, France "openly endorsed" then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump at a Georgia rally. On stage with him that day were "several active NASCAR drivers, and although France was later adamant his presidential endorsement was personal, it was too late to alter the optics that NASCAR leadership is aligned with Trump." France has "said nothing as his family business rolls into its final stretch of the summer." There were "dozens of Confederate flags flying at the campgrounds last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway." The Saturday night race was "in part sponsored by the National Rifle Association." Fryer: "So like it or not, NASCAR and its alliances do cross into the political arena. Because of that, and the waters France has already entered, the sanctioning body doesn't get a pass in a time of unrest" (AP, 8/21). The BOSTON GLOBE this week examined the "divide over" President Trump among NASCAR fans.