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Roger Goodell on Ray Rice punishment: ‘I didn’t get it right’

Ray Rice apologyThe NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell have faced an enormous amount of backlash since the decision to punish Ray Rice with only a two-game suspension after he assaulted his now-wife Janay Palmer. On Thursday, Goodell sent a letter to all 32 NFL teams outlining a new policy that will help to avoid a similar situation in the future.

“Effective immediately, violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to a suspension without pay of six games for a first offense, with consideration given to mitigating factors, as well as a longer suspension when circumstances warrant,” the letter read. “Among the circumstances that would merit a more severe penalty would be a prior incident before joining the NFL, or violence involving a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child.

“A second offense will result in banishment from the NFL; while an individual may petition for reinstatement after one year, there will be no presumption or assurance that the petition will be granted. These disciplinary standards will apply to all NFL personnel.”

[Previously: Maine governor blasts Roger Goodell's punishment of Ray Rice]

To his credit, Goodell directly addressed the Rice situation and admitted he made a mistake in only handing down a two-game suspension.

“My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.”

Rice and the Ravens are fortunate the NFL didn’t smarten up sooner.

Vernon Davis asks Roger Goodell why NFL players don’t have better health benefits

Roger-Goodell-$1-Per-Year-SalaryNFL commissioner Roger Goodell faced plenty of difficult questions at his annual “State of the NFL” press conference on Friday, but he probably did not anticipate that one of them would come from a current player. San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, reporting on behalf of Monday Morning Quarterback, made the commish’s job a little tougher.

After some friendly banter back and forth, Davis asked Goodell why NFL players have to “jump through loops” for health benefits after retirement. A video of the exchange can be seen over at Deadspin.

“We had lots of discussions about that in the collective bargaining agreement process,” Goodell told Davis. “We went back and improved a lot of our health benefits both for former players and current players, to the point where I think the benefits provided to current NFL players are the best in the world.”

That may be true, but NFL players are only guaranteed coverage for five years after they retire. MLB players receive health coverage for life as soon as they land on an active MLB roster. You would think the NFL would do the same, given the health risks involved with playing football.

“We all still have a lot of work to do for former players,” Goodell added. “The cost of trying to provide health care for every player who has ever played in the league was discussed with the union. It was determined that these changes are the best changes, and that’s what we negotiated.”

Goodell then pointed out that there are programs available to players with neurological disorders and their families for their entire lives. He then went on to the next question and likely made himself a mental note to give Davis some s— later on.

Roger Goodell: NFL is considering getting rid of extra points

Josh Scobee kickThe extra point has become such an automatic play in football that Roger Goodell says the league is considering abolishing it.

Goodell says the league’s Competition Committee hears a lot of ideas for changes to the league’s rules and considers all of them. One change the committee seems like it will strongly consider is getting rid of extra points.

Goodell believes extra points are “almost automatic” and “not consequential” because they are so easy to make.

“I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd (attempts). So it’s a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play,” Goodell said in an interview with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen Monday.

“So there have been some proposals. There’s one proposal in particular that I’ve heard about. It’s automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball, so if you fail, you go back to six.”

Rather than eliminate the extra point entirely, why not make it more challenging if you want to add excitement to the play? I say you move the extra point back to the 20-yard line so that an extra point is a 37-yard kick. I also think they should give teams the ability to make a 2-point conversion with two options: scoring from the 2-yard line as it is now, or having a kicker attempt a field goal from the 35-yard, which would make it a 52-yard kick.

Don’t eliminate extra points; make them more difficult.

Terrell Suggs: Roger Goodell ‘most definitely’ had hand in Super Bowl blackout

For a team that won the Super Bowl last season, the Baltimore Ravens sure have taken quite a significant interest in conspiracy theories. Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis recently made it clear that he does not believe the infamous blackout that occurred during Super Bowl 47 was a coincidence. During a recent interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters, Terrell Suggs took it a step further and blamed commissioner Roger Goodell.

“I was like Vegas, parlor tricks, you know what I mean?” Suggs told Salters. “I was like, ahh, Roger Goodell, he never stops, he always has something up his sleeve. He just couldn’t let us have this one in a landslide, huh? I thought he had a hand in it. Most definitely, he had a hand in it.”

The Ravens were handling the San Francisco 49ers before the lights went out. After the power came back on, the Niners crawled back into the game and came up just short. Suggs felt that Goodell and the league used the blackout to prevent a blowout and it ended up working. He also felt confident Goodell was rooting for the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl when the playoffs began.

[Read more...]

Roger Goodell defends Washington Redskins name in letter to Congress

Washington Redskins helmetNFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended the Washington Redskins team name in a recent letter he wrote to Congress, which was revealed to the public on Tuesday. As you know, the Redskins name has garnered a lot of attention over the past year or so as some consider “redskin” to be a racist term. Goodell’s letter was in response to several members of Congress writing him to request that the name be changed.

In the letter, Goodell argued that the nickname was never meant to “denigrate Native Americans or offend any group.” He also included research polls claiming that there are many Native Americans who do not find the name offensive. Despite his argument, Goodell was still ripped by co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus Betty McCollum, who said he used “twisted logic.”

“Goodell’s letter is another attempt to justify a racial slur on behalf of [Redskins owner] Dan Snyder and other NFL owners who appear to be only concerned with earning even larger profits, even if it means exploiting a racist stereotype of Native Americans,” McCollum said. “Would Roger Goodell and Dan Snyder actually travel to a Native American community and greet a group of tribal leaders by saying, ‘Hey, what’s up redskin?’ I think not.”

Snyder insisted last month that his franchise is never going to change its nickname, but eventually it will become impossible to ignore the outrage. Very few deny that “redskin” is a racist term, and clearly Goodell’s letter did little to help the team’s cause. It may take a while, but the NFL is eventually going to get backed into a corner it can’t get out of.

Roger Goodell reportedly ‘terrified’ that a player will die on the field

Roger GoodellRoger 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!
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Jonathan Vilma’s restaurant has signs saying not to serve Roger Goodell (Picture)

Roger Goodell is probably one of those people that doesn’t have to call ahead to make reservations at a fancy restaurant. Goodell makes millions of dollars a year and is a celebrity among the sports community. One restaurant that we know for certain he wouldn’t need a reservation at is Brother Jimmy’s BBQ in Miami. The reason being? He’s not welcome there.

Brother Jimmy’s is owned by former Hurricanes Jonathan Vilma, Jon Beason and D.J. Williams. As you can see from the photo above that @ALLIN1PRO shared on Twitter, there are signs featuring Goodell’s mug hanging on the restaurant windows that read “DO NOT SERVE THIS MAN.”

Of course, Vilma despises Goodell for suspending him for a full year in the wake of the Saints bounty scandal. He has taken legal action against the NFL in an attempt to be reinstated, but to this point there is no indication that the decision will be reversed or softened in any way. At least keeping Goodell out of his restaurant is something Vilma can control.

H/T Game On!