The NFL likes to portray calm and strength. Roger Goodell came across as neither last night.
He came to the podium to open the 2011 NFL draft to a chorus of boos. The response was predictable yet Goodell looked completely unprepared to face it. He stood there half responding to the vocal criticism brought on by the league’s lockout and half simply waiting for it to die down. I had to wonder how Roger Goodell could have taken the podium with anything other than a prepared statement or the will to ignore the outcry and simple declare the opening of the draft.
The awkward scene was unlike anything I’ve ever seen from the NFL and perhaps the most revealing sign that the league is completely out of touch with its fanbase. I like to think I have remained neutral through the ongoing labor dispute. I’m sure I come across as pro-owners at times because I like pushing back on the prevailing opinions but I have never cared for any outcome other than that which leads to an uninterrupted football season. I don’t care about players winning or owners winning, I just want fans to win. That being said, I’m beginning to accept that the owners are, and have been, willing to sacrifice short term fan sentiment for maintaining leverage in their position with the players association and that disappoints me. If that now makes me pro-players then so be it.
We can discuss whether or not the Atlanta Falcons gave up too much to make their move for Julio Jones or joke about the Ravens going Minnesota Vikings by having the clock run out wonder about the merits of the Vikings or Titans selecting their quarterbacks surprisingly high. One draft day loser that is not up for debate is Roger Goodell.