The NFL in wake of the Kareem Hunt assault video "doubled down on its policy of refusing to pay for footage or other evidence when investigating off-field conduct," according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. Speaking at the owners meeting in Irving, NFL Special Counsel for Conduct Todd Jones said that the league "did not want to buy surveillance videos from public places or residences because it could prompt people to try to take compromising videos of players or officials with the intent of selling it to the NFL, or to try to sell doctored videos." Jones: "To become mercenary and pay for video opens up a Pandora’s box of all kinds of opportunities and things that may come to us." Belson notes TMZ initially published the Hunt video late last month, which "again put the NFL on the defensive over its handling of cases involving players accused of assault and domestic abuse, and it provided another reminder of the limits of the league’s investigatory powers and its failures in policing its players’ off-field conduct." While it is "unclear how TMZ obtained the video of Hunt’s attack, the league cited its policy of not paying for such evidence as the reason it was unable do the same" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/13). Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, the Chair of the Conduct Committee, added, “We are not a law enforcement organization, so we do not have subpoena power. We do not have arrest power, anything along those lines. (We) can only take so many steps and when a private organization that may have video, that may have the evidence does not want to cooperate with us it makes it very difficult" (Daniel Kaplan, THE DAILY).
STANDING THEIR GROUND: USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell wrote the NFL yesterday expressed a "solid principle," as paying for video would be "encouraging people in some, if not many cases, to break the law by stealing from employers." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said of trying to obtain information on player behavior, "We’re not going to do it by corrupting people, by trying to bribe people. That’s not what we do." Bell notes when it comes to the NFL and investigations into personal conduct, there is "not much choice in eschewing a pay-per-view pattern." Bell: "It’s just that the risk includes the embarrassments such as Hunt's case" (USA TODAY, 12/13). Jones yesterday added that the investigation into Hunt’s actions "remains open, and the league likely will interview him in the coming weeks, although Jones suggested that the approval of the players’ union will be required for such an interview to take place" (NEWSDAY, 12/13).
The NFL made a few "tweaks to the Rooney Rule" that conceivably "adds teeth to its policy -- and maybe reduces the possibility of sham interviews -- for requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching and general manager vacancies," according to Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY. Revisions include "mandating that teams interview candidates from outside their organizations, including those deemed viable by the league’s career development advisory panel, maintaining complete records pertaining to the process that must be turned over to the league upon request and a requirement that final decision-makers participate in the interviews for every candidate" (USA TODAY, 12/13). NFL Network's Judy Battista reported the changes in the rule come "undoubtedly in response to the Oakland Raiders' hiring situation with Jon Gruden last year" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 12/12). NFL Exec VP & Chief HR Officer Robert Gulliver said, "We are excited about building on the very successful foundation the Rooney rule has laid out. It was really done in the spirit of continuous improvement and enhancement." He added, "If there is no compliance, there will be discipline" (Daniel Kaplan, THE DAILY).
FALLING SHORT: BLEACHER REPORT's Mike Freeman noted when Ravens GM & Exec VP Ozzie Newsome retires at the end of this season, the Dolphins' Chris Grier will be the only African-American GM "remaining in the NFL." The league office has "noticed the dwindling numbers and is concerned," and it is setting up to be a "huge topic in the coming months." The NFL has "tried to make the league more diverse." In some ways, it has "succeeded," but in this instance, it is "failing" (BLEACHERREPORT.com, 12/12). THE UNDEFEATED's Jason Reid wrote for a league with 32 teams that "continues to emphasize its supposed commitment to diversity in management, that’s an awful look." The NFL is an "overwhelmingly African-American league in which almost 70 percent of the players are black." The league’s message about it "being all-in on inclusion is seriously undercut by, well, the facts." The Raiders firing GM Reggie McKenzie this week "merely provides the latest reminder" (THEUNDEFATED.com, 12/12).
The NFL announced that the Jaguars, Rams, Chargers, Raiders and Buccaneers "will host international games" in '19, according to ESPN.com. Dates and opponents "will be announced at a later date." The league "will play four games in London and one in Mexico City next season" (ESPN.com, 12/12). In Tampa, Rick Stroud notes as part of the Bucs' bid to host Super Bowl LV in '21, the team "had to agree to forfeit a home game within five years of that announcement." The Bucs are 0-2 in London, losing games played there in '09 and '11 (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/13). In Green Bay, Richard Ryman writes the Packers' chances of playing in an international game as an away team in '19 "are low." Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy has said that the team is "willing to play internationally, but they will not give up a home game to do so." So far, no opponent "has yet wanted to give up hosting" the Packers in their own stadium "because of the likelihood of a sellout" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 12/13).