Keith Olbermann is one person who isn’t shy of strong takes. It was true at MSNBC. It’s true at ESPN2. There’s no questioning his talent and conviction as a television anchor. Many of the essays and special comments that have led his show have gained traction for the convincing arguments being made since his return to sports.
But thus far in his ESPN comeback, Olbermann hasn’t gone as far or as strong as he did on Friday night… when he called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign.
The call to resign comes in the wake of the Ray Rice controversy coming from Goodell’s light suspension, and more specifically, Goodell’s first public comments on his punishment. The essay is a “Fire Joe Morgan” video special where Olbermann parses through Goodell’s comments before coming down with the hammer blow.
Olbermann even broke out “Mr. Goodell” repeatedly that was something a callback to his Angry Man MSNBC “MR. BUSH… SIIIIRRRR!!!” days.
This call to resign works well as a populist play and will certain earn Olbermann plaudits for speaking up so loudly against Goodell, his punishment of Rice, and his reasoning for it. Of course, nobody is actually expecting Goodell to resign because of a late-night ESPN2 host.
However, the real headline here is that someone working for one of the NFL’s television partners has called for the commissioner to resign. That is a first as far as I can remember. The NFL has shut down ESPN’s involvement in League of Denial and Playmakers. They wield a heavy hand with their television partners and there are literally billions of dollars involved in the relationship between ESPN and the NFL. Good for ESPN and everyone involved in the Olbermann program for being able to speak up in this way and take this stand that certainly won’t make the league office happy.
It may not be realistic, but it’s encouraging to see that someone working at ESPN can call out the most powerful man in the NFL in this way.