NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
SPRING LEAGUE MEETING IN CHARLOTTE, NC
MAY 24, 2016
afternoon. We had a very productive day. You have heard much of the news already
starting with the Super Bowl awards that went very smoothly. We had five
terrific bids - obviously three winners – and we’re very excited about each of
those Super Bowls.
some time on Competition Committee matters, probably the most significant being
instant replay. We changed the structure and reversed the structure in a very
positive way including the fact that Dean Blandino and our New York office will
be able to get involved with respect to administrative issues – enforcements of
penalties, the clock - which I think could be a positive. We’ve done that in
the postseason in the past and that was a positive change.
safety: we spent a very significant time this morning on health and safety. We
heard from a report from our committee that met earlier today focusing on
additional work both in engineering and what we can do as to creating a road
map to better equipment, better engineering, and helmets in addition to
additional medical research. We’ll be giving you some further detail on that
sometime in the very near future.
heard from our International Committee. We have a very sizeable and growing fan
base internationally and our global business is really taking hold. Mexico is
an example. Mark Waller [executive vice president of International] mentioned
today that we have 110,000 registered for tickets each with the capability of
buying four tickets. So we’re very excited about the enthusiasm and the
interest in the game down in Mexico City this year and or international games
in the U.K. continue to amaze us, frankly. The passion and the interest of our
fans is really quite extraordinary.
I’m happy to
take your questions.
understanding that LA achieved a super majority on the first move. I wonder if
you’ve seen that before and what that indicates about the appetite for a Super
Bowl in Los Angeles?
It is true.
I think it’s a reflection of the vision that Stan [Kroenke] has identified. I
think it’s the importance of a Los Angeles market being the entertainment capital
of the world. It’s also a reflection of the passion of the fans there that we
are feeling since we made the decision back in January to return the Rams to
Los Angeles. It’s rather unusual on the first vote. I don’t recall whether I’ve
seen it before, but I think it is very much a reflection of the excitement the
ownership has of returning to Los Angeles, the importance of having a Super
Bowl back in L.A. after several decades. We’re all interested in coming back
with a great deal of enthusiasm and this is a reflection of that.
have any response or a statement to the Union’s filing on behalf of Tom Brady
yesterday in court for another appeal and if they do get this appeal heard, do
you envision the League trying to stand in Tom Brady’s way from playing at all
during the season?
the NFLPA’s ability to appeal if they chose to do that. They did. That’s a
matter for the lawyers and we’ll see how things progress. But I’m really not
focused on that at all.
to a number of Oakland officials including the mayor as recently as yesterday
and they all expressed – and this goes back the last 12 months – concerns that
the Raiders are not negotiating with them in a way that they can trust. When I
point out to them that the NFL relocation bylaws call for negotiating in good
faith, they say they have no confidence in the National Football League’s
desire to police that. Can you clarify what’s become, behind closed doors, a
very big mess?
I think this
has been a very transparent issue. I spoke to the mayor last night at ten
o’clock, so I’m in touch with her. I’ve told her before if there are proposals
or solutions that she can identify or that we can help them identify. We have
given from an ownership standpoint, another $100 million – a total of $300
million to get a stadium built in Oakland. We believe in that market. I know
Mark Davis does, but there has to be a solution that’s developed. It’s not just
on us, there’s got to be a cooperative agreement to try to find that solution.
It’s been a long time coming, as you know. This isn’t something that started 12
months ago. This has been a long time that we have been seeking a solution in
Oakland, and it’s time to get to that, and we will play our part, and I know the
Raiders will also.
Is it a
big concern that Mr. Davis is perhaps playing his own game and not following
anybody else? And this has to do with Las Vegas-UNLV President Len Jessup
releasing a statement where they went off, meaning the Raiders, to visit them,
the city of Oakland had no knowledge of it, the Raiders told the city of
Oakland, “we’re not going to meet with you.” They didn’t tell them about Vegas.
They said, wait until we’re through with Houston, meaning Los Angeles, then
they said wait until we have a new lease agreement signed, which happened on
the 27th of April. So there are a number of people, Council members on down,
the city attorney’s office, they’re really concerned the Raiders aren’t playing
I take a
different view on that. The Raiders have been very open on the challenges to
get a stadium built. It’s not fair to shift all of that responsibility to the
Raiders. They bear some, but public officials, the private sector, the Raiders,
the NFL -- we all have a responsibility. It’s a shared responsibility. It’s not
one for standing there and saying it’s somebody else’s responsibility. We all
need to work together to find a solution.
a report issued yesterday, a Congressional Report, that the NFL was not upfront
and straightforward with funding that it wanted to give to the NIH, and tried
to steer that group away from a certain doctor in Boston regarding CTE. Where
does the league stand on that? Did you see the report, and how do you feel on
I didn’t see
the report, we were traveling down here. But I take a much different position
to that on several fronts. One is our commitment to medical research which is
well documented. We made a commitment to the NIH. It is normal practice for you
to have discussions back and forth with the NIH. We have several members that
are advisors on our committees, including Betsy Nabel and Rich Ellenbogen, who
had experience with NIH or worked with NIH. It is very important to continue to
have that kind of dialogue through appropriate channels, which our advisors
have. They have those relationships. That’s a standard practice, so we have our
commitment of $30 million to the NIH. We’re not pulling that back one
bit. We continue to focus on things that our advisors believe are important to
study. Ultimately, it’s the NIH’s decision.
of current players have expressed concerns upon Twitter, through social media,
in interviews about the NFL’s forthrightness when it comes, particularly, to
head trauma, and where the league is going with it, and just what players risk.
What can you say to address those concerns of the players’ trust in the NFL to
do the right thing, and to give the players a sense of where this thing is
became commissioner, I said this was our number-one priority. It’s something
that we have to do better. We have to continue to make progress to make our
game safer for our players at the NFL level, but also future players, and at
all levels of football. We have to do it for our retired players. So we have to
continue to find ways in which to make our game safer. We’re not done yet. I
put that as a very important concern for us going forward, to make the game
safer for those playing today and those playing in the future, and to do what
we can to help retired players continue to transition through life in a
positive way. We’ve seen some very positive reports about retired players in
the last couple of weeks, but we need to reach out to our retired players, we
need to reach out to our current players and let them know what’s happening out
there and the facts. One of the things we’re trying to do, whether it’s kids
playing youth football, or whether it’s high school, college, or the NFL, or
retired players, is make sure people understand the facts. That’s what we’ve
done, and that’s why we’re going to continue to be committed to this and have
transparency in what we do. You mentioned the NIH report. A Congressman issued
that report without even talking to any of our advisors. I don’t think that’s
appropriate. I don’t think that’s the right way to do things.
morning we got word that at least one owner has been giving money to fight
House Bill 2, here in North Carolina. What’s the NFL’s overall stance on how to
approach that, when other leagues like the NBA are saying, “We may have to put
some big events there in check if this bill does not get repealed?”
We have been
very open and honest and direct about this. We have our policies that do not
support, in any way, any discrimination. It’s very important to us to have
diversity. We’ve made that clear publicly and we’ve made that clear in other
situations. We made a commitment a long time ago. The city of Charlotte has
continued to fight this issue. I spoke to the mayor as recently as yesterday
about these issues. We support those efforts. I think anything that
discriminates is something that we oppose and we’ll continue to fight that. But
we have a franchise here. The Carolina Panthers play here, they operate here
and we want to work with the community. We’re not going to threaten the
community. We’re going to work with the community to make changes that are
up on Bob’s question about the Committee report. You had mentioned Dr.
Ellenbogen and Dr. Nabel have spoken on behalf of the League with the NIH.
I didn’t say
they have spoken on behalf of them. I said they are people who have worked with
the NIH in the past. Jeff Miller has been our key contact.
report also identified Dr. Elliott Pellman as sending emails to the NIH on behalf
of the NFL. His role with the old MTBI committee has been well documented. Do
you feel it’s wise to have Dr. Pellman continue to speak for the NFL?
is not a part of the policy making -- the committee is. His role is purely
administrative at this point in time. It is not in any way making policy.
report showed him sending emails.
seen the report but I just said that he’s in an administrative position. He’s not
in a policy position. He’s not creating policy. He’s not advising on policy.
Davis was just speaking about Las Vegas. He said he feels he’s made a
commitment to them and will go there if Nevada and Las Vegas come through with
what they’re proposing. Understanding that that needs an approval of the
owners, what would be the biggest concerns that would have to be addressed
before moving to Las Vegas?
premature at this point. One, there is not a proposal that at least Mark has
presented to us. My understanding is there is not a proposal. Two, there’s a
great deal of work that need to be done for ownership to make that kind of
consideration. There’s a variety of factors. The stadium itself, what the
stadium proposal is, the market itself and market studies. We obviously, in Las
Vegas, have been well documented that we’d have to consider the impact from a
gambling standpoint. All of those things are an ownership decision and until we
have more information it’s just pure speculation at this point in time.
that the spring meeting is here in Charlotte, what does this city have to do to
one day bring a Super Bowl here?
One of the
things that comes through very clear in the presentations is that the Super
Bowl continues to grow. With that are requirements – number of hotel rooms, the
facilities -- that are required. It’s an extraordinary event that just takes a
very large city with a lot of hotel rooms and a lot of facilities and airports
that can handle the travel of people coming in and out. We have well over
100,000 people that come to the Super Bowl, and that continues to grow.
Infrastructure is probably the most significant issue. Obviously the stadium
itself is important. We’ve got a great stadium here in Carolina. The capacity
is important to us. All of those are factors that are considered but what
happens now – you see it with the five proposals today – they were all
exceptional. They were terrific. They talked about the benefits of their
community and what they can do to make the Super Bowl bigger and better. That
is something that the competitiveness just continues to raise the bar. That’s
good for us, and I think that’s good for the communities. But it’s going to be
hard for some communities to keep up with that.