Roger Goodell is the commissioner of a sports league that pulls in billions of dollars in revenue every single year. He introduced a personal conduct policy for the league, he stands up to the players when he thinks they’ve done wrong, and he isn’t afraid to levy punishments where he sees fit. But the one thing Goodell reportedly is fearful of is a death occurring on the field. Not just because of the tragedy aspect, but because of the way it could threaten the business.
Don Van Natta Jr. had a lengthy profile of Goodell for ESPN’s Outside the Lines, and he says in his piece that one of Goodell’s greatest fears is a death on the field.
“He’s terrified of it,” a Hall of Fame player who speaks regularly with Goodell reportedly told Van Natta.
“It wouldn’t just be a tragedy. It would be awfully bad for business,” the player told Van Natta.
The NFL has regularly pulled in $8 billion in revenue and will likely exceed that amount in 2013. The highest-rated shows on television are almost always football games. Goodell has an enormous business to protect.
Though Goodell is worried about a death occurring on the field, many of his practices would suggest otherwise. He only emphasized player safety after being faced with pressure from concussion lawsuits by former players. He didn’t even seem too concerned with player safety until he was brought to Capitol Hill in 2009 and presented with the dangers of concussions. Additionally, why would someone who understands the dangers of the game try to add two more games to the regular season as Goodell has done?
We have seen plenty of players paralyzed as a result of hits during games, and that is always extremely rough to see. We sure as heck hope nobody ever dies on the field, and not because of the damage that would do to league business.
UPDATE: Goodell has denied saying that.
H/T Game On!
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