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Roger Goodell reportedly angered by ESPN’s Ed Werder firing 05.03.17 at 12:41 pm ET
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Former ESPN reporter Ed Werder says Roger Goodell reached out to him last week. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Former ESPN reporter Ed Werder says Roger Goodell reached out to him last week. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

ESPN’s decision to lay off several dozen employees last week sparked outrage across the sports media landscape. It also reportedly caught the attention of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who reportedly contacted one of the reporters who was let go.

On his “Doomsday Podcast,” former ESPN NFL reporter Ed Werder, who was the first prominent personality to announce his dismissal on Twitter, said a number of league executives and players reached out to him to express their condolences. One of the well-wishes was Goodell, which surprised the longtime reporter.

“He said he was angered by it,” Werder said. “I haven’t spoken to him yet, but that surprised me. And that tells me something about Roger Goodell as a human being.”

Werder went on to say he offered to be Goodell’s body guard if the commissioner visits Gillette Stadium on Opening Night. The Super Bowl champion Patriots host the Chiefs Sept. 7.

Ironically, ESPN’s gargantuan rights agreement with the NFL is one of the reasons why it was forced to trim millions of dollars from its payroll. The WorldWide Leader pays the league $1.9 billion annually to air “Monday Night Football” and use video highlights.

Read More: ESPN, Roger Goodell,
NFL owners have reportedly fallen in love with Roger Goodell again 03.29.17 at 11:08 am ET
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Owners reportedly have a favorable view of Roger Goodell once again. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Owners reportedly have a favorable view of Roger Goodell once again. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Towards the end of the interminable Deflategate saga, some NFL owners were reportedly souring on Roger Goodell. Several influential league executives, including Falcons owner Arthur Blank and 49ers CEO Jed York, even publicly expressed a desire to see the commissioner vacate his unilateral disciplinary power.

But now, following another year of monstrous profits, Goodell is reportedly back in the good graces of his billionaire overlords.

According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, Goodell’s standing among owners has increased recently. They respect the way he was able to navigate past the Ray Rice and Deflategate fiascos, while serving as a fall guy for the league. The owners are also reportedly thrilled with the way Goodell has handled the league’s concussion crisis. Last year, the Supreme Court left the NFL’s $1 billion settlement with thousands of ex-players who accused the league of masking the dangers of head trauma in place. It’s a favorable deal for the NFL, because it doesn’t cover CTE, which at this point can only be diagnosed posthumously.

With league revenue reaching $14 billion, the NFL seems poised to enter another period of prolonged financial growth. The league gained a whopping $1.65 billion in relocation fees from the Rams, Chargers and Raiders, which will be divided up among all 32 franchises. Every team will receive $53 million as a result of the moves, with none of the money going to the players.

That’s probably a reason why Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who continues to jab at Goodell for Deflategate, expressed support for the Raiders’ relocation at the league meetings this week.

“Now, they have an opportunity to be a very solid, vibrant team,” he said, via “In the end, we’re in a competitive league, and you can’t compete at the highest level if you don’t have a first-rate stadium. I think that’s what this is really all about.”

As long as the money keeps pouring in, Goodell will likely remain popular among owners. He continues to deliver for them.

Read More: Roger Goodell,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Indians GM’s son blurts out Francisco Lindor contract info on radio; Roger Goodell rips Oakland’s proposal to keep Raiders 03.27.17 at 8:10 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MLB: Boston vs. Baltimore, 1:05 p.m. (ESPN, WEEI-AM 850)
MLB: Seattle vs. San Diego, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland, 9 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Cleveland at San Antonio, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: New Orleans at Utah, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL: Chicago at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Wyoming at Coastal Caroli, 8:30 p.m. (ESPNU)


— During an appearance in the Indians’ radio broadcast booth during a spring training game on Saturday, the son of the team’s general manager, Mike Chernoff, accidentally revealed some inside information about Francisco Lindor’s contract.

When Indians play-by-play announcer Tom Hamilton asked six year-old Brody Chernoff which players his dad is working to get, Brody gave a very honest answer.

“He’s trying to, um, get Lindor to play for seven more years,” Brody blurted.

“OK. We better not talk anymore Brody. There you have it folks, we’ve finally had a scoop on the Indians’ radio network,” Hamilton responded.

So now we know Chernoff is possibly trying to keep the shortstop in Cleveland with a seven-year contract extension. Of course, it’s possible Brody misspoke but this is very specific information that likely has some truth to it.

The Indians posted the audio in the tweet above but neither confirmed nor denied Brody’s comment.

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Read More: Cleveland Indians, Oakland Raiders, Roger Goodell,
Browns LT Joe Thomas calls out Roger Goodell for leaving stage ‘like a rat’ during Patriots trophy presentation 02.09.17 at 10:17 am ET
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Goodell handed the Lombardi trophy to Kraft Sunday. (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Roger Goodell handed the Lombardi trophy to Robert Kraft Sunday. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Browns left tackle Joe Thomas is unimpressed with the way Roger Goodell carried himself during the Lombardi trophy presentation Sunday.

Moments after the Patriots completed their historic 25-point comeback win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, Goodell took the microphone and was greeted with an onslaught of boos. The commissioner then handed the trophy over to Patriots owner Robert Kraft and quickly exited the stage. Thomas says that was cowardly.

“I especially enjoyed how over-eager Roger was to smile at all the Patriots and give them a big handshake, but then as soon as he gave them the trophy he scurried off the stage like a rat,” he told Pro Football Talk. “It was awesome.”

Thomas, who’s made the Pro Bowl in all 10 seasons of his career and has never missed a snap, was one of the Patriots’ staunchest defenders during the Deflategate saga. The left tackle called it a “witch hunt” and also expressed disappointment last summer that Tom Brady didn’t continue his legal fight. Prior to Super Bowl LI, Thomas said he was rooting for the Patriots, because he wanted Goodell to receive some comeuppance.

During the Super Bowl MVP press conference Monday, Goodell was seated next to Bill Belichick while Brady gave his acceptance speech. When Belichick took the podium, however, Brady didn’t take his place next to commissioner. Instead, he left.

Goodell may have acted cordially towards the Patriots this weekend, but it’s apparent the stench of Deflategate still lingers over him.

Read More: Deflategate, joe thomas, New England Patriots, Roger Goodell
Thanks to Deflategate, Roger Goodell gets to ignore NFL’s concussion crisis at Super Bowl 02.02.17 at 8:11 pm ET
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At his annual pre-Super Bowl press conference Wednesday, Roger Goodell was asked five questions about Deflategate, a scandal about footballs that lost air pressure in cold weather. He didn’t receive any queries about the NFL’s concussion crisis, which kills more ex-players each year.

That’s a win for the commissioner.

Roger Goodell wasn't one question about concussions Wednesday.

Roger Goodell wasn’t asked one question about concussions Wednesday. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Deflategate wasn’t spawned to distract from the issue of brain trauma, but it’s an unintended result of the interminable saga. The more time that’s spent talking about Tom Brady’s deflated footballs, the less time there is to delve into the recent tragic death of former Patriots running back Kevin Turner. CTE withered Turner’s body away to nothing, much like ALS would.

The NFL’s decades-long negligence towards treating head injuries came to the forefront three years ago, when PBS released its Frontline documentary, League of Denial. The film chronicles the work of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the first neurosurgeon who discovered CTE in an NFL player, former Steelers lineman Mike Webster.

As part of its effort to obfuscate concussion research, the NFL pressured Omalu to not go public with his findings. Last year, the New York Times compared the NFL’s attempts to downplay head injuries to that of the tobacco industry. An investigation found the two businesses shared lobbyists, lawyers and consultants.

These days, there’s no downplaying the link between football and brain trauma. Of the 96 deceased former NFL players whose brains have been tested at Boston University, 92 of them had confirmed cases of CTE. But that doesn’t mean Goodell hasn’t tried.

During his pre-Super Bowl presser last year, Goodell said there’s no more risk in playing football than sitting on the couch. The tone-deaf comment came just two days after Hall of Fame quarterback Ken Stabler was posthumously diagnosed with CTE.

Statements like those make it difficult to take the NFL seriously when it comes to combating brain trauma. Yes, the league deserves credit for donating $100 million to concussion research last fall. But given its checkered history, the NFL must always be looked at with suspicion. That’s why the recent report about concussions being down 11.3 percent this season shouldn’t be taken at face value. It’s doubtful that every concussion is being reported. Just three weeks ago, the Dolphins violated protocol when they didn’t remove Matt Moore from their playoff game against the Steelers after he had suffered a vicious hit to the head. It’s likely those kinds of incidents happen on a weekly basis. But unless it’s a quarterback or another skill position player, few viewers notice.

It’s debatable how much football fans care about the concussion epidemic. Participation in youth football is down 14 percent from its high in 2009, but up until this year, NFL ratings continued to soar. And though viewership decreased in 2016, the presidential race and a lack of quality games were probably the main reasons why. Ratings rebounded after the election was over.

The lack of interest in the film Concussion, which flopped at the box office, indicates there’s apathy surrounding the issue of brain trauma and football. Deflategate, meanwhile, unfolded like a celebrity trail. Tom Brady, the most famous football player in the world who plays for the most hated team, was accused of cheating. From a sexiness standpoint, the two stories don’t compare.

That’s why Goodell is still answering Deflategate questions. And he probably doesn’t mind, either. He won in the courts and reaffirmed his unilateral disciplinary power. It likely would’ve made him much more uncomfortable if Boston sportswriters fired off questions about Turner. There’s no dispute about the facts there: Turner died because he played football. Goodell can’t hide behind a court ruling.

The drama of Deflategate adds intrigue to Super Bowl week. Talking about dead football players would ruin the party.

Read More: Concussions, Deflategate, Roger Goodell,
Roger Goodell used a kid reporter as a human shield at embarrassing Super Bowl press conference 02.01.17 at 5:29 pm ET
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Roger Goodell used a kid reporter as a human shield at his annual Super Bowl press conference Wednesday. That’s how well the afternoon went for him.

It didn’t take long for the commissioner to start reeling. The third question he received came from the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, who asked him if he regrets the way Deflategate was handled.

“No,” Goodell said. “We had a violation. We went through a process. We applied the discipline in accordance with our process. It was litigated, as you know, expansively, and validated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.”

A couple of minutes later, the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy followed up with a question about Goodell’s two-year absence from Gillette Stadium. The commissioner seemed annoyed, but still managed to answer calmly.

“I would tell you that it’s not awkward at all for me. We have a job to do,” he said. “We do our job. As I said, there was a violation. We applied a process and discipline and we came to the conclusion that was supported by the facts and by the courts.

Then Comcast SportsNet’s Tom E. Curran came with a fact-check. The appeals court, contrary to Goodell’s previous statements, didn’t uphold the NFL’s investigation. Instead, it confirmed his unilateral disciplinary power in the CBA.

Now Goodell appeared to be ticked.

“Tom, if you look at the Second Circuit Court, the decision they said is there were compelling, yet overwhelming facts here. That’s the point I just made,” he said.

Following an exchange about whether Goodell thinks there’s been an erosion of trust in the league –– shockingly, he doesn’t –– the commissioner tapped out. He called on the NFL’s “Play 60 Super Kid,” a seventh-grader named Sophie.

In comparison to previous years, Wednesday’s affair was understated. Goodell appeared lethargic, offering some dry remarks about the Super Bowl at the start of the press conference instead of his usual State of the League address. It was also moved up from its usual Friday afternoon time slot. Without a looming scandal, perhaps Goodell didn’t feel like there was any news he needed to bury.

Thanks to Donald Trump’s chaotic candidacy, and now presidency, the NFL is currently out of the spotlight. The league’s domestic violence crisis has faded to the background, despite Goodell’s disastrous handling of the Josh Brown situation earlier this season. Brown, who admitted to serially abusing his wife in journal entries, was only suspended one game following a domestic violence arrest. The former Giants kicker was placed on paid leave after his journal was publicized.

But since there was no video of Brown assaulting his wife, the story disappeared. Same with the concussion epidemic. Last week, the NFL claimed the number of reported concussions dropped by 11.3 percent in 2016. But there were no questions on that data, even though several teams appeared to violate concussion protocol this season. The most recent example came three weeks ago, when the Dolphins left quarterback Matt Moore in a game against the Steelers after he had suffered a brutal hit in their wild card matchup.

Painkiller abuse also wasn’t a topic, even though recently released emails between members of the Falcons brass from 2010 show they were concerned about players excessively taking opioids. Last summer, a federal judge green-lighted a lawsuit from more than 1,500 ex-players that says NFL coaches and employees recklessly pushed painkillers on them.

The only heat Goodell faced, outside of a couple of inquiries about the Chargers leaving San Diego, came from a throng of Boston reporters still obsessed with Deflategate. Towards the end of the proceedings, a reporter from WPRI Providence ask him if he had spoken to Tom Brady this season. Back on his toes, Goodell refused to comment, saying he doesn’t talk about private conversations with players. Shortly thereafter, the Boston Herald’s Tom Schattuck brought up the edited Patriots transcripts from Media Night, which omitted mentions of Donald Trump and Goodell. The commish pleaded ignorance, much like he did with the Barstool credentials ban.

“I am not aware of anything being deleted from transcripts or anything else,” he said. “I must tell you, that’s one thing I’m not responsible for around here is the transcription.”

Unfortunately for Goodell, Sophie couldn’t offer him another lifeline. Reporters are only granted one question.

Read More: Concussions, Deflategate, Falcons, patriots
NFL omits mentions of Donald Trump and Roger Goodell from official Patriots transcripts 01.31.17 at 4:26 pm ET
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Tom Brady was asked a series of questions about President Donald Trump and Roger Goodell at NFL opening night Monday. But the official league transcript says otherwise.

According to the New York Times, the NFL largely omitted the words “Trump” and “Goodell” from the transcript. “Trump” isn’t written at all, even though Brady was asked three questions about him. Brady received four questions about Goodell, but his name is only written once. Bill Belichick was asked about his friendship with the divisive president as well.

It’s apparent the NFL made an effort to sanitize the Patriots’ portion of media night. ESPN and NFL Network didn’t show any of the Trump questions to Brady or Belichick, instead opting to air their own bits with Patriots players. At one point, NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest was counting how many times Belichick smiled during his Q&A.

It’s not unusual for the NFL to leave questions out of transcripts. In a statement provided to the NYT, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said the transcripts aren’t intended to be verbatim accounts of every exchange. They’re supposed to serve as a summary.

“There’s no editing of these quotes by the person who is transcribing nor by the league office,” he said.

Two years ago, the NFL took out Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s answers to questions about Robert Kraft, Goodell and the league’s handling of Ray Rice’s domestic violence case. At the time, Sherman was engaged in a public spat with Kraft, criticizing him for being too close to Goodell. As a result of their friendship, Sherman insinuated the investigation would be biased in favor of the Patriots.

Sherman, of course, was completely wrong. The NFL levied draconian penalties on the Patriots, including suspending Brady for four games. That’s why Brady was asked about possibly receiving the Lombardi Trophy from Goodell Sunday night.

Despite Brady’s four-game ban, perhaps the biggest Patriots-related storyline entering the Super Bowl is the team’s affiliation with Trump. Brady, Belichick and Kraft are all personal friends with the President, and have spoken about him at various lengths this season. But in an apparent effort to steer away from controversy, the NFL decided to expunge questions about Trump from the official record.

In the era of social media, however, the public already knows those topics were broached. The NFL’s attempt to clean things up has only created more of a mess.

Read More: Donald Trump, Roger Goodell, Tom Brady,
Roger Goodell reminds Patriots fans he’ll never answer their questions 01.25.17 at 5:14 pm ET
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Roger Goodell will never answer Patriots fans' questions. (Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

Roger Goodell will never answer Patriots fans’ questions. (Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

Even though Roger Goodell says he’s available to the media “almost every day,” he seldom speaks with the press. That’s why there’s always so much anticipation leading up to his annual pre-Super Bowl press conference. Every year, we fool ourselves into thinking the commissioner will answer for his misdeeds. And then, after he spends his time deflecting questions of substance, we walk away disappointed. It’s impossible to trip him up.

In an interview with Colin Cowherd Wednesday, Goodell gave everybody a preview of what to expect in Houston. Cowherd brought up a number of pertinent topics, including Goodell’s two-year absence from Gillette Stadium and his feelings on handing the Super Bowl trophy to Tom Brady. But the commish danced around them with aplomb.

When Goodell was asked whether he’s comfortable with fans loathing him in New England, he circled back to his favorite four words: Integrity. Of. The. Game.

“Well, listen, the fans are going to feel what they want,” he said. “We have, obviously, 32 sets of fans, national fans that want to make sure we’re doing things that are upholding the integrity of the game at all times. We think this is a great opportunity to see the two best teams in football playing on Sunday in the Super Bowl. The Patriots have earned it. The Falcons have earned it. And we’re thrilled. We think this is one of the great mathcups and should be one of the great games.”

Over the last two years, Goodell has often cited his apparent quest to “uphold the integrity of the game” as his reasoning for besmirching Tom Brady’s reputation over slightly deflated footballs. The phrase will likely make an appearance during his remarks next week, and he’ll be able to get away with it, too. Ever since Rachel Nichols peppered Goodell three years ago about league’s butchering of the Ray Rice investigation, he’s shied away from taking follow up questions.

On Wednesday, Cowherd was allowed to ask follow ups. But it didn’t do him any good. With a straight face, Goodell told him the quality of Thursday Night Football is superior to other games. The man is a better liar than Kellyanne Conway.

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National Police Organization executive: Roger Goodell ‘has no moral courage’ at 1:02 pm ET
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TMZ SportsThe head of one of the largest police groups in the country is calling out Roger Goodell — saying he has “zero confidence” the NFL commish will punish Pacman Jones for wishing death on a Cincinnati cop.

TMZ Sports spoke with Bill Johnson, Executive Director of the National Association of Police Organizations — a group that represents more than 241,000 officers — and he tore into Goodell.
“Unfortunately, I have zero confidence in Roger Goodell to do anything meaningful as far as punishment.”

“Under Goodell, the NFL has stood for Not For Law enforcement. He continuously fails to discipline for disrespecting officers. From Kaepernick’s anti-police socks, to not allowing the Cowboys to honor the fallen officers, to supporting Beyonce’s halftime show. He doesn’t have the moral courage to do the right thing.”

As for the video of Jones cussing out a police officer during his Jan. 3 arrest … Johnson says, “The video is obviously disappointing and vulgar.”

“This is something that law enforcement deals with all the time, but once an athlete or celebrity gets involved, that’s when it becomes newsworthy.”

“The video shows how dangerous this job is for cops. It’s a tragedy that this happens all the time. Law enforcement shouldn’t have to deal with this.”

I love this. Bill Johnson is a true hero and I am a big fan of his.

And he is exactly right. Obviously we all know Goodell should spend more time handing out punishments to players who commit actual crimes rather than focusing on petty infractions, like celebrating a touchdown or the amount of air in a football, but it’s fantastic when people call him out on it like this.

Further proof Goodell has none of the integrity he’s constantly talking about and is very bad at his job.

Read More: Roger Goodell,
Why Roger Goodell doesn’t care if Patriots win Super Bowl 01.23.17 at 4:36 pm ET
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Roger Goodell won't be able to dodge the Patriots in the Super Bowl. (Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

Roger Goodell won’t be able to dodge the Patriots in the Super Bowl. (Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

It probably doesn’t make a difference to Roger Goodell whether the Patriots win the Super Bowl. For him, Deflategate is ancient history. He won a long time ago.

When owner Robert Kraft grabbed the microphone Sunday following his team’s blowout victory over the Steelers in the AFC championship game, he seemingly spoke for every aggrieved Patriots fan around the world.

“For a number of reasons, all of you in this stadium understand how big this win was,” Kraft told a rabid crowd in Foxboro.

It wasn’t difficult to connect the dots. Almost two years ago to the date, the NFL caught the Patriots playing with slightly under inflated footballs against the Colts. Over the next year-and-a-half, even when the science said there was no wrongdoing, Goodell smeared Tom Brady’s character and imposed draconian penalties on the team –– including suspending Brady for four games. Now, in two weeks, Goodell may be in the building when Brady is handed the Lombardi Trophy. Talk about sweet revenge.

Once a regular visitor to Gillette Stadium, Goodell has avoided it since Deflategate started. He’s been in Atlanta for the last two weeks closing down the Georgia Dome, one of the most unremarkable venues in professional football.

It’s unclear whose decision it is to keep Goodell in hiding. According to Comcast SportsNet’s Tom E. Curran, Goodell would’ve been at the AFC championship game Sunday if he had gotten his way. So perhaps somebody else in the league office, or the Krafts themselves, are making the call. But then again, it’s hard to believe that Goodell would allow other people to dictate his schedule. After all, this is guy who doesn’t permit his staffers to eat pizza until he gets the first slice.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategate, New England Patriots, Roger Goodell