NFL Spokesperson Joe Lockhart Leaving League After Two Years
NFL Exec VP/Communications JOE LOCKHART is stepping down after two years on the job and the league has hired Korn Ferry to conduct a search for his replacement. He will stay on through Super Bowl LII. Lockhart in a note to his staff wrote he is leaving to spend time commentating on politics and to teach. He also has young children. Lockhart, who was a former Clinton White House press secretary, has been a lightning rod for some owners who feel the league has become too political, especially in its tolerant reaction to players kneeling to protest injustice during the national anthem. Cowboys Owner JERRY JONES last year took aim at NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL and his contract renewal. That effort failed, but those close to him said he would set his eyes on what he considered bloat at the league office. It is unclear if Lockhart’s resignation is at all tied to that, but he is not expected to be the last senior member of Goodell’s staff to depart (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer). In DC, Mark Maske noted it is "not immediately clear what the NFL will do to replace him." Sources said that Lockhart was "not being forced out," but his exit comes after a "turbulent" season in '17 (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/18).
STEERING THE CONVERSATION: AXIOS' Mike Allen cites sources as saying that Lockhart "came in to shake things up during a time when the outside world was as much a part of the conversation in the pro football world as what happened on the field." Lockhart during his time began a "conference call with NFL beat writers that often drives conversation in the sport." The 35-40 reporters on the call would often live-tweet what was being said, getting the NFL's "point of view out to dozens of TV and social media pundits" (AXIOS.com, 1/19).