NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to the press for the first time in 10 days in a Friday afternoon press conference, apologizing for the league’s handling of domestic abuse that made sponsors call for corrective action and fans call for the commissioner’s resignation.
In his statement, Goodell said:
Unfortunately, over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong. That starts with me. I said this before back on Aug. 28, and I’ll say it again now. I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter, and I’m sorry for that. I got it wrong on a number of levels, from the process that I lead, to the decision that I reached. But now I will get it right and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that.
The NFL’s answer
Goodell said action, not just words, are needed in order to answer to recent events. He then announced the following five initiatives:
1. An internal investigation Former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III will oversee an independent investigation into how the league handled the Rice domestic violence situation.
2. A new conduct committee. Goodell announced a new committee that will help set domestic abuse and sexual assault policies within the league.
3. Education, advocacy, and training. The league is currently revamping its education program and NFL personnel will begin participating in education and training sessions regarding domestic abuse and sexual assault within the next month.
4. New partnerships. The NFL has partnered with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the Sexual Violence Resource Center.
5. New NFL personal conduct policy. The NFL will create a new policy regarding personal conduct in the areas of domestic abuse, sexual assault, firearm possession, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Although the initiatives Goodell delivered seemed positive, some reporters and fans said it was too little, too late.
To begin, he didn’t do himself any favors with the robotic way he delivered his statement:
For an issue as sensitive as domestic violence, it’s amazing how uninterested Goodell comes across. No passion at all. Don’t believe a word.
— Hazels (@APHaseltine) September 19, 2014
Goodell also earned backlash for avoiding reporters’ questions and being vague:
Because the Q wasn’t in his PR handbook. RT @WillMcAvoyACN: Goodell did not answer her question, and still has not answered her question.
— Devon Heinen (@DevonHeinen) September 19, 2014
Roger Goodell: Domestic violence is wrong. Next, the sky is blue.
— Jenny Boyle (@bornready1977) September 19, 2014
For many critics, the only acceptable action from Goodell is to step down.
I get to keep my job because I acknowledged my mistake #GoodellLogic
— Robb Jeffries (@robbjeffries) September 19, 2014
Goodell said he hasn’t considered resigning. He maintained that both he and the league were busy fixing mistakes made, and there is much work to be done.
Many listeners didn’t buy it.
Anyone that thought Uncle Rog would resign doesn’t get it. He’s getting paid $44 mil and NFL makes more money than God. He’s “good.”
— Michael Cronin (@TMichaelCronin) September 19, 2014
Even NFL players called for Goodell’s resignation, including Myles White, wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers.
So is Roger Goodell going to Resign or No? If not then we don’t got anything to talk about
— Myles White (@M_White03) September 19, 2014
Some fans took to making Photoshops of Goodell as Pinnochio and Richard Nixon:
— Stephon Johnson (@StephonJohnson8) September 19, 2014
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) September 19, 2014
Goodell pledged to make good on his promises when asked what sponsors want.
“They want to see us make that difference, and it’s up to us to deliver on that. They’re not looking for talk. They want to see action.”
And so do the fans, who will hold him to his word and be first to pounce if Goodell falters.