With accused players saying they’re being railroaded, and others questioning the legitimacy of the NFL’s claims, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is facing down a growing chorus of naysayers. Speaking after the conclusion of the Spring League Meeting, Goodell took some time to address the controversy.
On if there is any talk about releasing the proof of payment in Saints bounty scandal:
“We released the facts back in early March. We have met with the union a couple of times. The union specifically told the players not to cooperate in the investigation. We are in the midst of challenges on a variety of fronts with respect to the process of these appeals. So as that plays out and as that is concluded how that process will go forward, we will certainly engage and make sure we are fulfilling every aspect of that; including the appeals process itself.”
On if he would expect at some point the proof becomes public:
“Yes, I do.”
Goodell gave no timeframe for a potential release of the evidence. He also addressed the appeal process that is forthcoming:
“You second-guess yourself because that is what an appeals process is for,” Goodell said. “You want to hear what the players have to say. Some of them indicated they wanted to come in and talk before the decision was made. I invited them in. They decided not to do that, at the NFLPA’s recommendation, I think. I understand that. When we get to the appeals, we will be able to talk about it and we will be able to hear from one another.”
The Commissioner’s words have done little to soothe the feelings of those connected with the New Orleans Saints. From The Times-Picayune’s Mike Triplett:
Hopefully that means Goodell is willing to share more details with the suspended players at some point, because they deserve more clarity about why they’ve received the most severe penalties in league history.
We didn’t really expect to get that clarity Tuesday during Goodell’s press conference, but the players and those in Saints management deserve more.
On how he feels about the backlash he’s faced, Goodell had this to say:
“You don’t worry about a popularity contest. You can’t. You can’t make everyone happy on this.”
Releasing the evidence against those accused would go a long way in helping to stifle the voices speaking out against him.
Further reading: Roger Goodell says public will see proof of bounties – Goodell says bounty proof will be made public, eventually – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t add much to the New Orleans Saints bounty discussion