You guys all remember last summer, when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he would be "open" to changing his role in the league disciplinary process after Tom Brady’s suspension was reversed in court, right?
It’d be understandable if you forgot that little bit – it was right after Labor Day weekend last year, and also, coincidentally (COUGH) the same day that ESPN and Sports Illustrated dropped their 10,000 word "GUYS DON’T FORGET THE PATRIOTS CHEATED AND SPYGATE AND STUFF!" articles.
Since most of us have better things to do with our time than listen to ESPN’s Mike and Mike, here’s the exact quote from the show’s interview with Roger Goodell (along with some context, also from ESPN):
"I am open to changing my role," he said. "It's become extremely time-consuming, and I have to be focused on other issues. I've discussed this with owners."
Goodell acknowledged that the NFL needs a "better discipline system," suggesting that the league could institute designated discipline officers or panels.
"I want to get to a better discipline situation," he said. "I have had discussions with the [players'] union. ... The courts are not where we should be having these discussions."
Goodell indicated, however, that any change would come within the initial discipline process, not with the way appeals are handled.
"We believe that the standards of the NFL are important to uphold," he said. "We believe that you don't delegate that responsibility or those standards."
According to an interview with Goodell this morning, though, that’s not happening. Check out ESPN’s Buffalo Bills reporter Mike Rodak’s quote below:
Roger Goodell on Brady: "We're not going to hand the integrity of the game off" to somebody else. Reiterates his role as commissioner.— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) June 6, 2016
So almost a full year after the made-for-headlines "I am open to changing my role" quote about the disciplinary process that Goodell has turned into a Mario Kart question box, the commissioner that was just slammed over the league trying to influence the results of a concussion study has decided that the NFL’s discipline process where Roger Goodell can hear appeals on decisions made by Roger Goodell is just A-OK as it is.
If that wasn’t enough irony for your Monday, then check out this quote:
Roger Goodell on Brady lengthy appeal process: "I don't think it's an issue of length. ... It's been litigated."— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) June 6, 2016
What does that even mean? The NFL could have ended this Brady thing, quite literally, over a year ago. Maybe a little "Hey guys, knock it off", like the Panthers and Vikings got for heating up game balls, would have done the trick, or a fine like the Chargers got for their whole Stickum-towels incident. But then the league decided to launch a four-month investigation, then refused to settle with Brady after he reportedly made a "generous" settlement offer, then took the case back to court after getting (legally) barbecued by Judge Richard Berman.
Fast forward to today, though, and here’s Roger Goodell saying that "…we’re not going to hand the integrity of the game off to someone else".
For any other professional sports commissioner this side of FIFA, this kind of double-talk would be laughably embarrassing. In Roger Goodell’s world, though, it’s just another day at the office.