Roger Goodell has been the NFL Commissioner for 10 years. Although he’s not that popular, he’s rich as hell, bring home upwards of $30 million-plus per season .
TheMMQB.com is dedicating an entire week to him and it started off with league discipline, and the commissioner's powerful hold on punishment.
Some players like Dante Stallworth and Tank Johnson have developed relationships with Goodell, while others, including Anthony Hargrove, James Harrison and many more paint the commissioner as a “judgemental” bully, deciding your fate based off of his opinion of you.
And so, sitting across from Goodell in one of these discipline meetings can give a unique look at him as commissioner. Like a principal, Goodell wants the honest truth, for you to express remorse and not to talk back. Whether you accept Goodell’s point of view could play a role in determining how the meeting will go. He can get loud and demonstrative when he’s making a point. Or he can put an arm around you and walk you back to class. Many players find his demeanor condescending and his punishments oppressive. Others think he is tough because he cares and wants to help rehabilitate you. Sometimes near the end of the meeting, after he’s heard the player’s side and is mulling it over, Goodell will deploy an old principal’s trick.
Ray Rice’s lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, echoed the sentiments of Goodell being controlling, and sometimes punishing a player based off his expectation.
Now, what would Ginsberg advise a client who was summoned to meet with Goodell? For one, Ginsberg would tell him not to say anything that’s going to be difficult to answer for in future litigation, because there was always a chance a judicial process may follow.
“What Roger looks for is somebody to agree with him. Or to beg forgiveness,” Ginsberg said. “It’s very difficult to have a genuine, authentic disagreement with Roger.
Ginsberg went on: “If you’re not willing to do a mea culpa and get down on your knees and cry a little bit, and convince Roger you’re a better person for having been through the experience … it’s difficult to walk into one of those meetings feeling very optimistic.”
Public perception may be down, but the commissioner's wallet will be popular for a long time to come.