One of the most talked about moments at the 2011 NFL Draft last week was the booing of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The booing came amidst chants of "we want football!" by fans frustrated by the owners' decision to pull the plug on the CBA, bringing on the lockout and killing free agency and the offseason hopes that accompany it.
Acclaimed baseball writer Joe Posnanski took on Goodell with a shot heard 'round the world piece the day before the draft. The gist of it is that Goodell allowed the league to make an incredibly self-destructive move. At a time of record profits (and you don't need to be a financial analyst to see that large corporations are making record profits at the moment), the league foisted a work stoppage upon itself, claiming to need more money even as more and more lucrative television and sponsorship contracts loomed.
Goodell, supposedly the ambassador for the game of football and the NFL's owners and players, became a de facto mouthpiece for owners. They sent Goodell out armed with talking points to accuse players for defunct CBA. Even worse, they sent Goodell out there, pockets turned inside out, claiming hard times and the need for a new deal on behalf of the embattled billionaires that own the teams. Won't somebody please think of the billionaires!
Had Goodell done his job, he would have been working hard to convince the owners not to implode the stability that had brought the league record profits. He might have been more engaged with owners in the process of building billion dollar stadiums that virtually guarantee seeing a game in-person is out of the question for the average fan and their family. Maybe he did try to do those things, behind the scenes. You'd never know that, based on his current position and programming. Right now, the commissioner looks like just another tool hellbent on destroying the league he presides over.