Transcript: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Annual Meeting Press Conference




March 18, 2013

Commissioner Goodell: Good afternoon.

We started the meeting officially this morning with an opening that we are going to share a recap with you by the end of today It was a very good opportunity to talk about where we are and where we are going as a league.  Then we went into our general session.  Coaches had separate sessions, also.  We are really just a few hours into those meetings right now.

Two things, though, that we are announcing today at lunch: in 2010 we reached an agreement with MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and today through a partnership we are going to expand that relationship by endorsing MADD’s campaign to eliminate drunk driving and to join their initiative.  We have had several meetings with MADD, in particular (MADD CEO) Debbie Weir, who is sitting right over here to my right, and (MADD National President) Jan Withers.  They will be making presentations to the full membership, to the coaches and to our other team executives who are here.  We are very proud about this relationship and are working to educate our executives, our players and everybody about the dangers of drunk driving and what we need to do to be responsible role models in this area.  We look forward to that partnership.

Second, we had a report late this morning from our attorneys.  As you see, we are flanked by a number of owners and a number of retired players.  There is litigation, referred to as the Fred Dryer litigation, that had to do with the rights of former players, particularly through NFL Films.  We are proud to say we have reached an agreement to resolve that litigation.  We are contributing $42 million into what is going to be considered a Common Good Fund, which will be administered by a group of retired players, many of which are standing right behind me.  The fund is going to be used to support retired players who are in need.  They will talk a little bit more about it, but whether it is medical, housing or any other form of assistance in transitioning players in one stage of life to another, that is what this is about.

The second and probably most significant aspect about this is it is the first-time ever that we have been able to establish an independent licensing agency dedicated solely to retired players.  It has never been done before.  This licensing agency will work very closely, obviously, with our office, the NFLPA and sponsors and licensees.  We see this as a very positive step that will help promote our retired players and our game and ultimately, be very beneficial to our players long term.  We are very excited about it.

We have some great leaders here who will share some thoughts.  I am going to step aside.  I will answer your other questions but we thought we would focus on our retired players in the meantime.  I am going to ask (Panthers Owner/Founder) Mr. (Jerry) Richardson as a spokesman for the owners to come up and say a few words, and then the great (Pro Football Hall of Fame running back) Jim Brown will offer his perspective for you.

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