Responsibilities & Duties: Where NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell falls short.

To start off, I have here a brief description on duties of a Commissioner in (relatively) most of the top professional sports leagues:

Kevin Allen and Erik Brady of USA Today Sports wrote and published an article on August 13th, 2014 titled A commissioner’s job description changes with the times. The article focuses on the owners’ of the Major League Baseball organization and their process for electing the next league commissioner following Bud Selig’s era. Along with discussing the three finalists, the responsibilities that go along with the position of commissioner are also listed, to name a few, “The modern commissioner must have expertise in TV contracts, labor relations, player health, handling Congress, handling lawsuits, criminal law, public relations, finding new revenues in new media and, as ever, owner relations.” An extensive list for only one person.

The authors break down the ways in which a commissioner holds power and where they actually fail to have a say. The article points out a large misconception that fans believe commissioners have so much power due to all the responsibilities they have, however; that is simply not the case and many of the final decisions on things are made by the owners. A recurring theme that is shown through this article is how money plays a large part in all of this, whether it is choosing a new commissioner or once again looking at the future of the sports league, in this case the Major League Baseball. It is important to note that both the commissioner of the MLB, now Rob Manfred and the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell have a lot in common.

Joe Boland, a sports blogger out of Philadelphia wrote an opinion piece titled, For Pro Sports Commissioners, It’s Lonely At The Top for The Sports fan Journal. Boland seeks to focus in on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (as many people do because he is the most controversial Commissioner), and voice strong negative statements against Goodell.

“It got me thinking … is there a commissioner in the big four professional sports in America that is actually adored by fans? The short answer is no. The long answer is that it’s lonely at the top for pro sports commissioners.”

This article was written in 2012 so the negative feelings towards Goodell have only been culminating over the years. To this day he is still under the lime-light for poor decision making and financial greed. Fans express their opinions frequently over the internet yet changes to his behavior have not been monumental.

Twitter has been a popular platform for people of all ages to tweet their thoughts and opinions. In the world of professional sports this has been a great tool to gage fan interaction and help to measure success level of an organization. For the National Football League many athletes as well as owners/employers have their own twitter page where they can interact with fans and one another. Commissioner Roger Goodell has his own page which is linked here:

A lot of his content refers to policy changes or regulations made in regards to player safety, although these are positive attributions he is making to the league you can see through fan comments that he is not understanding the wants and needs of the fans or athletes and is seemingly blind or just blatantly ignoring the inconsistencies/strong understanding. Sam Kralles tweets “does it say ‘I quit’ anywhere in there?” as a way to express his inner turmoil with the actions of Mr. Goodell. Sam is not the only one to comment back via twitter and goes to show that some fans choose to use their voice.

“Roger Goodell is the captain of an industry that is enormously popular, financially robust and a cultural ascendent. The NFL’s yearly revenues are approaching 10 billion dollars and its take home pay for the CEO is an annual 10 million dollars which will rise to 20 million in 5 years,”

This was stated in February of 2013 by Mike Pesca, in an NPR talk titled, NFL Commissioner’s Role In Sport A Powerful One. It seems the years revolving around 2012 through 2015 were focused heavily on how to make football safer. Goodell at the time was under fire for the lack of regulations and safety within the game and was even questioned about Obama’s comment, “If I had a son i’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football”. Goodell’s response was a list of all the reasons why anyone’s son should play football, appealing to the fact that moral and ethical character is developed through this sport. Quite the irony if I do say so myself.

To sum up the overall theme for Roger Goodell’s responsibilities, here is an online conversation that happened 10 months ago on the platform called Reddit. Reddit is an online area for people to converse with one another over a copious amount of topics. It is an environment where you can learn a new skill, banter about a meme or immerse yourself in a debate.

This specific Reddit post, “What Makes Roger Goodell so bad?” is a good starting place for someone to go to and read if you happen to not be a crazy football fan like most or up to date with the conflict around Goodell. There are 101 comments to this thread which are mainly all reasons why Goodell is bad or has failed in some way throughout his term as Commissioner.

The first comment gets right to the point of issues with this statement, “a completely unbalanced punishment system accompanied by a hilariously atrocious handling of domestic violence issues in the league”. Sounds like someone is a little angry but for good reason. Over the years this has been one of Goodell’s strong suites…the inability to responsibly combat “an unbalanced punishment system” and domestic violence disputes, this is what Goodell is most notably known for and why many other fans are so furious with him.

End note: I would like to point back to the comment I make in artifact two that, “fans express their opinions frequently over the internet yet changes to his behavior have not been monumental,” many of the sources read here date back to the year 2012 or 2015, some maybe even earlier. The point is no matter the year or the regulations Commissioner Roger Goodell has put into place, there is still a mutually unsettling feeling within many of the NFL fans. If fans are really the NFL’s number one priority or at least Roger Goodell’s ‘number one priority’ then why are some people still so upset with Goodell in office?

Maybe looking into how ethics play a role can lead to a better understanding behind why Goodell Is still criticized to this day for what he has or hasn’t done. Click the link here to read more!

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