Unethical Quote Of The Week: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell


“We certainly didn’t know what was on the tape.”

Beleaguered NFL Commish Roger Goodell, telling CBS that although the league had suspended and fined Ray Rice for knocking out his now-wife in a hotel elevator, as he had admitted in court, it had no idea that a videotape of Rice knocking out Janay Palmer (now Rice) in the elevator would show him actually knocking her out in the elevator.

On the old Ethics Scoreboard, Goodell would be a slam dunk David Manning Liar of the Month, telling a lie that he can’t possibly think anyone with two IQ points to rub together could accept at face value. How else are we to take this idiotic, deceitful statement, other than as an idiotic, deceitful statement? If the NFL didn’t know that’s what the video would show, why did Goodell suspend Rice in the first place? If it accepted the fact that Rice cold-cocked a woman, what else could the tape have possibly shown?

I know I’ve already posted on this, but I feel like I’m losing my mind. The NFL reacts as if the video was a surprise. The media acts as if the video really added new information (“The NFL must have seen it!” Who cares? The NFL had to know what was on it, whether it saw the tape or not! What else could it possibly have shown? The tape, if anything, was arguably exculpatory, as it showed Palmer rushing him in an attempted assault.) And the argument suddenly becomes “Did the NFL know what was on the tape?” That’s ridiculous! Can’t everyone see how ridiculous that is? Can’t everyone see that the NFL isn’t reacting to new information, but only trying to repair its own image?


12 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Week: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

  1. I see it Jack, and we’re in complete agreement. The NFL is full of it, and Roger Goodell really needs to consider a new line of work. Setting aside the incident for a moment, Ray Rice (to my knowledge) didn’t attempt to cover up what he did. He told the truth from the beginning, and in doing so, was not treated by the NFL OR the legal system in what many consider a harsh manner. It really isn’t the job of the NFL to decide how much he or anyone should suffer for a given offense. They certainly have a right to punish. And, if done with enough thought and sensitivity, you won’t get widespread criticism. But Goodell has failed so miserably precisely because he focused soleley on what he thought would benefit the league and the Ravens, versus what would benefit Ray Rice. If he truly cared, or hired someone to evaluate the situation more fully, he never would have handed out a 2 game suspension to begin with. And we wouldn’t be here because the tape wouldn’t matter. Now, the NFL is grasping at straws in an attempt to make it seem like they give shit about anything other than protecting their brand. They don’t, and their actions, not just in this case, clearly show us this. Unfortunately, they still look better than the NCAA, who I think is the worst, organization in sports….

  2. From a PR standpoint Roger Goodell should have simply stated:

    From the outset I felt we had enough evidence to suspend Rice. In retrospect we only assumed that he had hit Janay when we saw Ray dragging her out of the elevator. We should have gotten the tape to confirm our assumptions because we could have been wrong. We came to the same conclusion that many who saw the video did and did not feel we needed to see what transpired within the elevator to know that an act of violence had been taken by a player against his wife. The tape of what transpired in the elevator confirmed our assumptions but would not have altered the punishment levied by the NFL. Domestic violence will not be tolerated in the league.
    I have admitted that my initial decision to suspend Rice was far too lenient, especially in light of longer suspensions we issue for far less serious offenses. That is why I changed my decision to that of an indefinite suspension.

      • Agreed. I forgot to consider that when I wrote my comment. Unfortunately I believe that he would have been castrated had he not upped the penalty. Once he erred, he should have stuck by his original penalty.

        I should change the last line to read:

        While I cannot ethically impose any harsher sanction on Mr. Rice than has been levied already, future incidents by any player, coach, or employee of the NFL will result in an immediate indefinite suspension. The future of Mr. Rice’s relationship with the Ravens or any of the companies that he is affiliated with is their decision and not that of the NFL.

  3. Now that Goodell has said domestic violence will not be tolerated and that he was wrong when doling out the first punishment AND has set the precedent that players may be punished more than once for the same violation, does Goodell have an obligation to reinvestigate all matters of domestic violence?

    • No. Just as we do not want legislators passing new laws and regulations making a given behavior illegal and then prosecuting and imposing sanctions for instances when it was not. While it may seem obvious that such behavior is wrong would you punish your child for something you tolerated before but no longer tolerate, nor would you punish him/her twice for the same infraction if it were a known infraction. Because in our ever growing intolerant world, what is ok today may be verboten tomorrow. Such as the name Redskins. Should Dan Snyder be forced by the NFL, some time in the future to sell his team, because the majority feels that the name is racially offensive?

      The only thing Goodell did wrong was to change his punishment as a result of public outcry and then trying to spin the new decision to up the punishment with irrational reasoning.

      I am not convinced that the NFL has a duty to anyone but the shareholders to impose any sanction on a player when the conduct hurts the NFL brand. Any error in judgment on his part is for the stockholders to determine. Consumers have the ability to vote with their dollars and feet.

      Imagine the state of our economy if all violations of law resulted in immediate dismissal from employment. If no elected official is subject to immediate removal without due process for a crime then no other employee should be as well.

      • Sports is too big a part of the culture and too influential on children for leagues not to exercise off the playing field conduct oversight. A few years ago, the NFL Bengals had double figures of felons on the squad; the NBA averages about 3 illegitimate kids per player. It’s a toxic cultural influence, and yes, I think the obligation to police it goes beyond mere business considerations.

        This is one area where baseball has a big advantage. Its bad guys would qualify as good guys in the NBA and NFL.

  4. “The only thing Goodell did wrong was to change his punishment as a result of public outcry and then trying to spin the new decision to up the punishment with irrational reasoning.”

    I agree. And I don’t like the deceitful, irrational reasoning, which if taken to it’s logical conclusion, would have Goodell buried in paperwork and investigations of past domestic violence…in perpetuity. Oh, what a web we weave…

  5. How can they think that this can possibly fly? Anyone with a working mind can realize what ‘punched her and knocked her out’ means without having to see a video. His first punishment indicates that they understood what he’d done.

  6. If he’s being honest (which he isn’t) this is analogous to saying “we convicted you without evidence and purely on hearsay. But we sure are glad we found some evidence, now! So we can convict you again!”

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