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Roger Goodell holds Super Bowl press conference, creates alternate reality

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The NFL Commissioner has a way with words.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell held a press conference at Super Bowl week, like he does every year, where he responded to a softball question from a child reporter about the merits of football (play outside!), fielded questions about expanding the league overseas (Hooray, Mexico!), and danced around a question about why the NBA as a league is far more willing to acknowledge social issues than the NFL (Let’s stop talking about Mexico.).

Oh, and Goodell also lied. A lot. A lot, a lot.

A string of intrepid New England Patriots reporters asked Goodell questions about DeflateGate, watching QB Tom Brady experience an unprecedented string of success, avoiding Gillette Stadium, and more. Let’s pick it apart.

QUESTION: What is your reaction Patriots owner Robert Kraft saying you received bad advice from the league lawyers about DeflateGate?

RG: “No, we had a violation. We went through a process. We applied the discipline in accordance with our process. It was litigated as you know, extensively, and validated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. So, we’re moving on from that. That’s part of our history, but it’s something that we’re comfortable with the process, the decision, and as I said, we’re focusing on the game now.”

Lies, falsehoods, and misleading statements

  1. There was no violation.
  2. The process was made up as the league pressed forward.
  3. There was no discipline in accordance with any process because the process didn’t exist.

QUESTION: No one believes that you “needed to be in Atlanta” two weeks in a row. It seems like you’re avoiding Foxboro. How would you characterize this situation?

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

“So from our standpoint, we understand when fans who are loyal and passionate for a team object and don’t like the outcome, I totally understand that. That’s not an issue for me.

“I was in Boston two seasons ago for two consecutive playoff games, the same way I was in Atlanta this year. So that happens. From our standpoint, this is just about making sure that we take care of business and do it the way that is right to uphold the integrity of our teams and our rules for all 32 teams.

“If I am invited back to Foxboro, I will come.”

Tom Curran follow up: “One quick fact check, the courts didn’t uphold the investigation. It upheld your right to go ahead and do what you did –”

“If you look at the Second Circuit Court, the decision that they set, they said there are compelling, if not overwhelming, facts here and that’s the point that I just made.”

Lies, falsehoods, and misleading statements

  1. It’s totally awkward for him.
  2. There was no violation (again).
  3. Curran is correct. The court did not come to their own conclusion that there were “compelling facts.” Labor law requires the court to accept the arbitrator’s findings (aka: Goodell’s thought) and not challenge them.
  4. Goodell doesn’t need an invitation to go to these games. He determines on his own which games he will attend.

QUESTION: You said a minute ago that if you’re invited back to Foxboro, you’d go. To the best of your knowledge, over the last month, have you been welcome in Foxboro?

RG: “By whom? I’m not sure your question. I have no doubt that if I wanted to come up to a Patriots game, and I asked Mr. Kraft, he would welcome me back. That’s up to him, though.”

Key Phrase: “...if I wanted to come...”

Clap back from Patriots owner Robert Kraft

QUESTION: How has your relationship with the team changed over the last two years?

RG: “Listen, we have a disagreement about what occurred. We have been very transparent about what we think the violation was (and) it went through a very lengthy process. We disagree about that. But, I continue to respect and admire Robert (Kraft), Jonathan (Kraft), and the entire organization. They are an extraordinary organization, and they’re extraordinary people. I have a very deep and close relationship to them, but that doesn’t change that we have to compartmentalize things that we disagree on.

“I’ll be honest with you; I have disagreements with probably all 32 of our teams. I’m not afraid of disagreement, and I don’t think that disagreement leads to distrust, or hatred, it’s just a disagreement. You take your disagreements, you find a common place and you move forward. That’s what it is. It’s not all personal nature – which I know people like to make it. But for us, it’s about making sure we do what’s right for the league long-term.”

Lies, falsehoods, and misleading statements

  1. DeflateGate isn’t something you can “disagree” about. Either the science is there, or it isn’t. It definitely isn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion.

QUESTION: Have you talked to Tom Brady this year?

RG: “I never talk about whether, when I have conversations, who I have conversations with. If they want to disclose that, that’s their prerogative. But I think people, when we communicate, expect a level of confidence that I am not going to take that outside of the circle and that they can call or communicate and I can do the same with them without having to read it in the newspapers every time. So, I don’t disclose when I talk to players or communicate with them. I do it frequently. I get a lot of tremendous input from our players. I respect our players and their views. Anytime they call or anytime that they contact me, I listen carefully.”

Lies, falsehoods, and misleading statements

  1. “I respect our players and their views.”
  2. “I listen carefully.”