Archive for 'From the Commissioner'

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell – Media Availability at Hall of Fame

NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
2014 HALL OF FAME FESTIVITIES – CANTON, OHIO
AUGUST 1, 2014

On how excited are you for the Hall of Fame weekend:

This is a great weekend, which I told the Hall of Famers this morning. Not just because you get to spend time with the Hall of Famers, and we celebrate their great contribution to the game, but also inducting a new class, and we have a great new class. But it’s also a sign the NFL season is starting soon and that’s exciting for all of us.

On the details regarding the Ray Rice situation that ultimately decided the two-game suspension:

Our policy is clear on this. We have a very firm policy that domestic violence is not acceptable in the NFL and that there will be consequences for that.  When we’re going through the process of evaluating the issue and whether there will be discipline, you look at all of the facts that you have available to us. Law enforcement normally has more – on a normal basis – has more information, facts, than we have. We’ll get as much as we possibly can. And then you also have the opportunity to sit down with the individual, and maybe others, to determine how that individual is reacting to it. I think what’s important here is that Ray has taken responsibility for this. He’s been accountable for his actions. He recognizes he made a horrible mistake, that it is unacceptable, by his standards and by our standards. And he’s got to work to re-establish himself. The criminal justice system, as you know, put him in a diversionary program with no discipline, and we felt it was appropriate to have discipline, and to continue counseling programs and to continue our education work. And I was also very impressed with Ray in the sense that Ray not only is accepting this issue, and saying how it was wrong, but he’s saying “I want to make a powerful difference in this area.” I think you heard from him yesterday. He is a young man that really understands the mistake he made and he is out and about and determined to make a positive difference.

On reactions to the Rice suspension from the public:

When we make decisions we always get reactions. We understand that, we listen to it, and we use it to make ourselves better. We’re comfortable with that and we understand that.

On the precedent that prior suspensions set in making decisions:

We have to remain consistent. We can’t just make up the discipline, it has to be consistent with other cases, and it was in this manner.

On criticism of the suspension based on the NFL’s drug-related suspensions:

You have to deal with the facts. We have a drug program that is collectively bargained and it has a step process. It takes four incidents before you actually reach a suspension in a drug-related case. You have to respond to facts here. You have a lot of people voicing their opinions, but what you have to understand is that this is a young man who made a terrible mistake – it’s inconsistent with what we’re all about. We have dealt with it in a serious manner, and we’re very confident that this young man understands where he is and what he needs to do going forward.

On the Josh Gordon case and any extenuating circumstances surrounding it:

Well there’s a process that he’s going through right now. An appeal is actually being heard today. They’ll make a decision based on the information that is exchanged today.

On consistency in punishment:

Ray Rice did not have another incident. There were several cases, as you know, and a series of incidents in other cases and we take that into account. If it is a first offense and someone has had a strong background of being responsible in the community, doing the right things, not violating either policies or anything else that would reflect poorly on the NFL, then we take that into account. When there is a pattern, we also take that into account on the other side.

On Buffalo Bills sale process:

I’ll be getting an update next week. But we’ve obviously had first bids that were submitted this week. They are moving into the second phase, exchanging more information with all of the candidates. I do not know how many people remain in that process. That’s not something I may ever know. It seems like it’s proceeding on a normal basis.

On his thoughts regarding only three bidders:

I don’t know if there are only three bidders. Do you know that?

On if talking to Ray Rice’s wife reduced the suspension:

No. I take into account all the information before I make a decision on what the discipline will be. In this case there was no discipline taken by the criminal justice system – they placed him in a diversionary program. I had seen Ray after that and I had the opportunity to hear from him, hear from his wife and hear from other people he had brought into the hearing process and I put all that together to make the decision.

On whether there are facts the media does not know about that led to a two-game suspension for Rice:

I had the opportunity as the commissioner to hear directly from him. That is helpful and it is important for me to be able to do that. What I want to see are success stories. I want to see people when they make mistakes, see them take responsibility, be accountable and make a difference going forward. I hope that is what Ray Rice is going to do.

On the future direction of the Hall of Fame and David Baker’s leadership:

I am excited. I have known David [Baker] for 15 years. I have had the opportunity to work with him with the Arena Football League. When this position became available, he was an outstanding candidate. He has a great vision but he also knows how to make it happen. We are excited about that.

On whether the league will do more to bring awareness to and support domestic violence victims:

Yes, but not only in domestic violence issues but other issues that we think are important for the league to support.

On what he knows about the Josh Gordon situation:

Josh is going through the process right now. I am not a part of that process. At some point in time, I may have an opportunity to be involved. When I am, I look forward to meeting with him.

On the FCC and blackouts:

The FCC has said that they are considering views on this issue. They have it on the table and they are discussing whether they will make a decision sometime possibly this fall. What we are trying to do is keep the program in place because it has worked for several decades. We are the only sport on free television and we believe that staying on free television is good for consumers. There are 60 million people and growing, including a lot of minorities, that are watching NFL football on free television and we want to keep it that way. We are concerned that a change in this area, we are 99 percent sold out, so it has very little impact on our business, but it could have an impact on the overall business model for free television. We think that’s devastating to our consumers and consumers in general.

On disciplining players mentioned in the Ted Wells Report:

There are different issues with different individuals. The bottom line is everything is proceeding and they are doing everything they have been asked to do. We will make individual decisions, if necessary, with any one of those individuals.

On the chances discipline could occur before the start of the season:

It’s a broad issue. I would say the one person that has been very responsive and gone through the program is Richie Incognito. We are working with his people and monitoring his progress and it’s gone well.

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Statement by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Chuck Noll

What set Chuck Noll apart was his remarkable ability as a teacher. His subject was football and his students became four-time Super Bowl champions. Coach Noll’s quiet leadership produced extraordinary results that deeply inspired players, coaches and fans. He always put the team, his players, and the game first. His legacy of excellence will forever be an important part of the history of the Steelers and the NFL. We extend our condolences to Chuck’s wife Marianne, his son Chris, the Noll family, and the Steelers organization.

Statement by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Malcolm Glazer

Malcolm Glazer was the guiding force behind the building of a Super Bowl-champion organization. His dedication to the community was evident in all he did, including his leadership in bringing Super Bowls to Tampa Bay. Malcolm’s commitment to the Bucs, the NFL and the people of the Tampa Bay region are the hallmarks of his legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Linda, their six children and the entire Glazer family.

NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL LEAGUE MEETING WRAP-UP PRESS CONFERENCE RITZ-CARLTON BUCKHEAD

May 20, 2014

Opening remarks:

We had a productive session. Minnesota was granted Super Bowl LII in large part due to the recognition of the great work they have done with the stadium. We had three great presentations today. Each of the communities did a terrific job.

We also talked about expanded playoffs. We will not have expanded playoffs for the 2014 season. The primary reasons we looked at were competitive issues, ticket sale issues and issues with respect to the advertising market. The general view is that we should proceed with the Thursday Night focus that we have this year. We are adding additional inventory into the marketplace and this makes the most sense for us for the 2014 season.

We also had an update on the Draft. We reported on the successful Draft we just completed and put a working group together to talk about the kinds of changes we want to engage in for the Draft for 2015. They will come back and report to the membership by the October meeting.

We had many other reports but one of significance was our workplace issues and the training we are doing. Robert Gulliver, our head of HR, reported on the work that is being done in this area and the training that will happen at all clubs over the next 60 days.

On the impact the NFL has on the AT&T and DirecTV merger negotiations:

We are still in an exclusive-negotiating period with DirecTV. They have been a terrific partner. We are aware of the transaction. It is something where we will continue our negotiations, which have been very productive to date. We hope to bring them to a successful conclusion soon.

On what needs to be explored for ownership to move forward with expanded playoffs:

I do believe it will be approved for the 2015 season. We want to see how it will impact in a positive way from a competitive standpoint. Will it create more excitement, more races towards the end? Who will ultimately qualify for the playoffs? We also want to absorb the additional inventory into the marketplace from an advertising standpoint. So far we see positive signs in the marketplace. That is how we are going to approach it.

On whether the NFL Draft will continue to be held in May or if it will be earlier or later in the offseason:

We are looking at everything. We think that the Draft has a great deal of more potential to grow in popularity. We do not believe the date affected us in a negative way at all this year. We have to balance a number of issues, including football-related issues. We think there is still a lot of growth opportunity here. The date and location are probably the primary issues for us to decide. Radio City is going to let us know by the end of the month what flexibility they have. That will be a big help and we are discussing the possibilities with other cities.

On whether there have been any developments on discipline for Jim Irsay:

There have been no charges so until we more information and more facts, we will let it play out a little longer.

On whether New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has discussed keeping the draft in New York:

I have not discussed it with Mayor de Blasio.

On what made Minnesota the best choice to host the Super Bowl:

All three bids were outstanding. They each did a terrific job of presenting the plusses of their communities. I think a distinguishing factor, after hearing some discussion afterwards, was the stadium project and the effort they had to bring that stadium to completion. The plans that they have for it and the commitment that community has demonstrated is a positive influence on several owners.

On whether there will be a time when player discipline resulting from performance-enhancing drugs will be made on a case-by-case basis instead of by specifics in the league’s policies:

The first principle of our joint drug program with the Players Association is that you are responsible for what is in your body. There are several avenues for you to contact people in advance to determine whether you should or should not take a certain drug. We have a process set up. Ironically, the Players Association asked me to step in as the hearing officer [in the Robert Mathis case] and I decided not to do that. I didn’t see any reason that this was different than any of the other drug cases that we’ve had. I do not hear those.

We have had since 2011, 104 drug-related cases. All have been heard by my designee. Had we implemented the HGH program and the other elements of our drug program from the 2011 agreement, 104 of those players would have actually gone to third-party arbitration. 21 of those would have been referred into the drug program rather than being suspended. Two other players would have faced a two-game suspension rather than a four-game suspension. The point here is that we have a very strong drug policy. We have already negotiated and proved that drug program and we should get on with it, including the HGH program. Players would benefit from that, the league would benefit from that, and the message we would be sending everybody in sports would be a very positive thing.

On whether the league has a comment about a lawsuit filed against the NFL regarding players’ use of painkillers:

I was only made aware of it just briefly. I do not believe any of our attorneys have had the opportunity to look at it. As you know, I have been in meetings all day.

On whether there have been additional talks with the NFLPA about HGH testing:

No, unfortunately not. It is time to implement this. It is good for the players. It is good for the league. I have mentioned several benefits that would be implemented now that would affect a large number of players. If they really believe that third-party arbitration is important, there are 104 cases that have been heard by my designee that could be heard by a third-party arbitrator. I mentioned just in the recent weeks that they asked me to get involved in a case, ironically. It is time to get started. Let’s get it going.

On the Saints owner Tom Benson falling during his presentation and if it affected the Super Bowl vote:

No, our focus is on Tom Benson.  It was immediately after he spoke to the ownership. As he was turning he just lost his balance and fell. Fortunately, he appeared to be fine, but as a precautionary step they have taken him to the hospital. Our thoughts are with Tom Benson and his family right now. The initial reaction looks very positive. I went in the back and spoke to him before he left.

On the dialogue with the union and playoff expansion:

This is something I’ve had numerous conversations with DeMaurice [Smith] about. I just spoke with him about it two weeks ago. I think there are a lot of benefits to the players, but that’s something they’ll have to evaluate. They are our partners and I’ve said on many occasions before that we are going to have a dialogue with all of our partners to make sure it can be done the right way. I do believe there are some real benefits to the players. The revenue – obviously – will increase and they will share in that and get the largest percentage of that, in fact.

On DeMaurice Smith discussing Louisiana workers compensation and playoff expansion:

I just spoke to him two weeks ago and he didn’t even raise that issue when I spoke to him so. We’ll have to have those conversations I guess.

On New Orleans losing the in final Super Bowl bid for the first time:

New Orleans is a great community and they did a terrific job in the last Super Bowl. So did Indianapolis. I do think – I’ve said this before – in many circumstances it’s much more competitive to host a Super Bowl. The stadiums – the new stadiums – are obviously a big factor. They drive and influence owner’s perspective. The size of this event and the impact it has on these communities is creating even more interest. So it’s much more competitive. But New Orleans is a great city and I believe they will have another Super Bowl.

On Arthur Blank and the Falcons bidding for the Super Bowl in the future and the importance of a new stadium:

I think that’s another great example of it. There are great communities that are building – or have built – new stadiums that are going to make their bids even more attractive. I think Atlanta is a great example of that. I know that’s something Arthur [Blank] and the Flacons want for this community. I know this community wants it and they are a great community. That stadium is going to serve them well going forward.

On what he’s learned from the NBA’s handling of Donald Sterling:

I think they’ve made the right decisions. I salute Adam Silver for being decisive. He made the right statement and he’s doing the right things.

On the challenges of a cold weather city hosting the Super Bowl:

You look at weather patterns around the country and there were some ice storms and snow storms that could have impacted us. We just have to be prepared for that. Minneapolis embraced that, just like New York/New Jersey embraced it in their bid. We recognize that we will be playing in a cold-weather city. But we also recognize we are in a city that is going to take advantage of that and is prepared for that.

On if it is less attractive for fans when game is in cold weather city:

No. People make their choice. If you want to play golf that may not be your first choice. You may play golf and then come to Minneapolis. People come to the Super Bowl for a variety of reasons. They want to be part of something special. I think that’s going to be the great thing that is going to happen in Minneapolis. It’s going to be very special and they have great plans. They are prepared for it and we look forward to it.

On the Buffalo Bills ownership situation and Jerry Jones’ comments regarding a move to Canada:

I didn’t see those comments so I can’t react to them. We are all trying to regionalize and grow the popularity of our local teams. That’s been going on in Buffalo and into the southern Ontario region for several years and I expect that will continue. They want to grow the fan base and I think that is something that is important for the long-term future of that team. As far as the timing is concerned, we did have a brief report from Jeff Littmann today. He told us they are engaging not only a bank but also a council. They are proceeding with the process. They will do it in a deliberate fashion and when they come to a conclusion they will let us know. Obviously, they will stay in contact with us and in full cooperation with my office. They recognize the importance of league rules and they will do it the right way. We are confident that will be the case.

On if he believes a new stadium in Buffalo is a long-term solution for that market:

I still feel that way. I believe a stadium is important to the franchise long term to continue to be successful in western New York. But it is a long-term issue. We have a short-term issue. They are making improvements to the stadium and I think those are positive in the short term. But we all know this lease is 10 years and we have to look well beyond that for this franchise to continue to be successful in western New York.

On specifics of viability of a new stadium the small market:

It’s the same in any market. You need to have the revenue streams and you need to have the kind of facility that people want to come to.  It’s [a stadium] going to give the franchise the long-term stability to be successful. That’s why you see it happening in Atlanta and you see it happening in Minneapolis. These are important elements in keeping teams successful.

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Transcript: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Annual Meeting Press Conference – March 26, 2014

NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
NFL ANNUAL MEETING
RITZ-CARLTON ORLANDO GRANDE LAKES
ORLANDO, FLORIDA

MARCH 26, 2014

On the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl and the effect it may have on future Super Bowls being held in open-air stadiums in cold-weather cities:

We discussed the Super Bowl in the context of what we achieved, the successes that occurred and things that we can do better. We do that every year following the Super Bowl and try to achieve a better event for our fans and for our teams. The overall reaction was positive. People believe that the Super Bowl was a great opportunity to put us on the number-one stage and promote the Super Bowl. There was a positive reaction to it. The only future discussion we had was really the bidding process in May and we already have three cities that are in that process.

On Woody Johnson reaching out to the NFL before signing Michael Vick and his thoughts on if Michael Vick is a changed person:

I’ll refrain from sharing anything about the conversation, but I’ll be happy to talk about the general views toward Michael. Michael is a young man who made a tragic mistake. He paid a very heavy price for it, but I’ve seen him, in everything he’s done, exceed expectations. He has worked very hard to be a positive force in a lot of different areas. That’s something I admire about him. When we went through the process of reviewing whether he would come back into the league, he demonstrated that he was somebody who was committed to saying, ‘I am going to do this the right way. I am going to be a positive force.’ He has, and I’m proud of the work he has done. I think that’s the kind of thing we should have.

On if the league has thought about having a larger psychological evaluation for players:

We’ve not only thought about it, we’re doing it. We look at the total wellness of an individual — the physical wellness as well as mental wellness and then we try to give them the resources to try to be able to deal with that. We have definitely made great strides in that. That doesn’t mean we don’t have more work to do. We continue to focus on that.

On the details of players being reviewed for mental wellness and will Jonathan Martin be required to the same evaluation:

The answer to your first question is that’s a medical decision. I’m not a medical professional. I’m not one that would dictate that. Those are done by the medical professionals that are joint medical professionals between the players association and the NFL. It’s their decision, the evaluation, and also whatever recommendations they might make.

On Jonathan Martin: I would have to check on that. I don’t know the details on that. I believe he has got some evaluation already.

On potentially expanding the playoffs and what are the next steps:

We had a good discussion on it on several fronts. As you know, the Competition Committee has been looking at this for a couple of years. We have discussed it in various committees, including broadcasting. We had a full discussion on the floor with the owners and other executives this week. I think there’s a tremendous amount of interest in this, possibly even to the point of support, but there are also things we still want to make sure we do it right. We’ve been very incremental in trying to do this, but we believe competitively it could make even our races toward the end of our season even more exciting with more teams vying for playoff positions, which is great for our fans. We still want to do some additional work, including talking with the players association. We have a scheduled meeting set for April 8. This will be one of the things we’ll probably discuss and then we’ll also have to talk to broadcast partners and there are some scheduling issues that we still need to work through.

On if it could happen for 2014, 2015 or 2016:

It’s not out of the question, but we didn’t make that decision at all. We have more work to do. I wouldn’t rule it out, but I wouldn’t say that’s the direction we’re heading right now.


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Statement by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Ralph Wilson

“Ralph Wilson was a driving force in developing pro football into America’s most popular sport. He loved the game and took a chance on a start-up league in 1960 as a founding owner of the American Football League. He brought his beloved Bills to western New York and his commitment to the team’s role in the community set a standard for the NFL. As a trusted advisor to his fellow league owners and the commissioner, Ralph always brought a principled and common-sense approach to issues. His lifelong loyalty to the game was instrumental in his richly deserved induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We are grateful for his many contributions to the NFL and offer our heartfelt sympathy to the Wilson family.”

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Transcript: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Annual Meeting Press Conference – March 24, 2014

NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
NFL ANNUAL MEETING
RITZ-CARLTON ORLANDO GRANDE LAKES
ORLANDO, FLORIDA

MARCH 24, 2014

On Jim Irsay getting treatment and also potential discipline:

That’s the first priority. He is seeking help and he has done that voluntarily. That’s the most important step, at least initially. To my knowledge, I’ve been in a room all day today, but there are no formal charges at this point. We obviously will want to understand the facts before we take any steps as it relates to any discipline. Obviously, any policies or any laws that are broken – whether you are commissioner, owner, player or coach – subjects you to discipline.

On disciplining other players named in Ted Wells report:

Our focus right now, at least in the case of three players, is that they would be evaluated. We’ve talked with the union several times about that and we agreed that was the right step. Once they’ve been evaluated, the medical professionals – joint medical professionals – will make a determination whether any treatment is necessary and it will be a requirement that they fulfill that.

On if suspension is possible:

The first thing is to get the evaluation and determine what the treatment is. Depending on what the doctors prescribe, that could prevent them from being a part of football for some period of time. But that is a medical decision.

On the Raiders stadium situation:

Mark (Davis) is closer to the matter than I am. I know our staff was engaged last year with the Raiders. I haven’t gotten an update on that in quite a while on that. I know they signed an extension and we actually approved that today –a one-year extension. So there have been some obviously positive discussions. What that means for the future – I don’t know.

On resolution that enables teams to cover some seats:

It is to give our teams flexibility and to be able to manage their season ticket bases and their individual ticket sales. That’s all changed a lot. Technology has changed that. We are working harder to keep our stadiums full. We were fortunate to have 99 percent of our stadiums full this year. That is something we are going to have to continue to work on. These kinds of policies are fan friendly in the sense that they allow our teams more flexibility so that games can be shown on television and we can make our games more accessible in the stadium. We want out fans in the stadium and we think that experience is the best experience.


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NFL Kicks Off Annual Meeting in Orlando with Opening Presentation

Commissioner ROGER GOODELL opened the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando today with a presentation to team owners, general managers, coaches and staff. The hour-long session focused on the league’s challenges and priorities.

The presentation included information from several NFL and team executives plus Pro Football Hall of Famers ANTHONY MUÑOZ and AENEAS WILLIAMS, and former Pro Bowl player PATRICK KERNEY, now the NFL’s vice president of player engagement.

Commissioner Goodell saluted all teams on a memorable 2013 season and specifically recognized the work of coaches.

“The game has never been better and it’s a tribute to all of you, but it’s really important for us to salute the coaches,” said Goodell. “The coaches are the ones that really work to make this game great. We’ve changed the rules. We’ve removed techniques that we thought were dangerous. We’ve implemented new work rules and you, your staffs and your players have adjusted and we’re all better for it. Thank you, coaches, for all that you do.”

Goodell concluded by emphasizing the league’s values and also the theme of respect.

“With more success, comes more responsibility for all of us to step up and lead,” Goodell noted. “That means staying true to the values that have sustained our success over the years – Integrity, quality, tradition, teamwork, diversity, innovation.

“Let me leave you with one thought to guide us through the future. Respect; respect for our game and those that came before us. Respect for each other – teams, opponents and game officials. Respect for our fans, our lifeblood. Respect in our workplaces for the diversity that makes us stronger. Respect for our communities and the important role we play in those communities. It’s about the significance of being part of this, the shield. Let’s embrace the opportunity to make a difference. We’re expected to do that – by our fans, our business partners and others. We can and we will. Let’s go to work.”

Topics presented by NFL and club executives included former players, quality of the game, engaging fans at stadiums and through technology, and connecting with new fans.

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Goodell Comments on Michael Sam

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke today at Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition “Wall Street Project” in New York City. One of the topics Goodell was asked to addressed concerned Michael Sam.

“Good for him,” said Goodell. “He’s proud of who he is and had the courage to say it. Now he wants to play football. We have a policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. We will have further training and make sure that everyone understands our commitment. We truly believe in diversity and this is an opportunity to demonstrate it.”

Statement by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Bud Adams

Bud Adams played a pivotal role in the growth of pro football as a pioneer and innovator. As a founding owner of the American Football League that began play in 1960, Bud saw the potential of pro football and brought the game to new cities and new heights of popularity, first in Houston and then in Nashville. He was a brilliant entrepreneur with a terrific sense of humor that helped lighten many a tense meeting. His commitment to the best interests of the game and league was unwavering, and his personal along with the team’s impact in community relations and philanthropy set a standard for the NFL. Bud was truly a gift to the NFL. We extend our deepest sympathy to his daughters Susan and Amy, and the entire family.

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