Roger Goodell’s first public appearance in ten days did not go swimmingly well for the NFL Commissioner. During a press conference at the New York Hilton, Goodell was meant by a pack of hungry reporters carrying the rancor and skepticism that is normally seen during a presidential media session.
Reporters went after Goodell with a vengeance forcing him to stumble and scramble during his responses. One reporter who didn’t let him off the hook was Rachel Nichols of CNN. She pressed him on several issues including the balance of power in the league office, the lack of record of the NFL seeking the Ray Rice elevator video from the Atlantic City prosecutors and later hit him on hiring former FBI director Robert Mueller to investigate the league when he has a relationship with the NFL.
This came a week after Nichols went after boxer Floyd Mayweather on his record of domestic violence.
Her questions were as follows:
“You’ve had pretty extreme unilateral power in deciding discipline, but as you’ve said a few times, you’ve gotten it wrong in a few cases and that tends to happen when there’s no checks and balances. How willing are you to give up some of that power, and do you think that would be the right thing for you to do?”
“Also you mentioned on TV last week that you tried to get the Ray Rice video and any information. The Atlantic City prosecutors office in an open records check says they don’t have any electronic communication from the NFL asking for those kinds of documentation or the video. Can you give us sort of the trail of how you guys did that investigation so people can know really what you put into it?”
“Commisioner you mentioned Robert Mueller’s investigation as key to solving all of these issues. I’m not gonna sit here and discuss the integrity of the ex-director of the FBI, I can leave it as a given that he’s a man of integrity, but the law firm that he works for and will help him carry out that investigation is a law firm with extremely close ties to the NFL. You guys paid that law firm recently to help you negotiate some television deals, the president of the Ravens who will be key in this whole investigation worked at that law firm for more than 30 years. Why hire someone with even the appearance of impropriety and how do you expect this to affect everything?”
These questions didn’t allow Goodell any wiggle room.