Roger Goodell Comments on NFL's Personal Conduct Policy in Press Conference

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2014

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell emerged from his self-imposed exile on Friday afternoon to face the media, answering questions and discussing the rash of alleged domestic violence issues that have rocked the sports world over the last two weeks. 

Before the press conference began, Mark Maske of The Washington Post reported that one of Goodell's main points was a new plan to work with the union about implementing new changes to the personal conduct policy. 

MarkMaske @MarkMaske

Roger Goodell is expected to announce today, among other things, he plans to work with the union to make changes to personal conduct policy.

The league put in place a new domestic violence policy on August 28. Goodell sent a letter to all 32 NFL owners, via CNN.com, saying that he got the punishment for former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice "wrong" by initially suspending him two games. He also outlined stricter punishments for violations connected to domestic violence:

Violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to a suspension without pay of six games for a first offense, with consideration given to mitigating factors, as well as a longer suspension when circumstances warrant.

Once the press conference began, Goodell's first order of business was to make a statement in which he laid out the NFL's approach to addressing the problems that have consumed the league this year, via Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Rick Morrissey @MorrisseyCST

"I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter, and I'm sorry about that,'' Goodell says. "... But now I will get it right.'' #NFL

Goodell talked about the NFL's need to be better internally, via Kevin Seifert of ESPN:

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Kevin Seifert @SeifertESPN

Goodell: "We will get our house in order first."

The commissioner followed that up by stating that the mistakes made during the last few weeks can't happen again, via Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun:

Aaron Wilson @AaronWilson_NFL

Roger Goodell: 'The same mistakes can never be repeated.'

Indianapolis Colts long snapper Matt Overton raised a great point on Twitter as Goodell was speaking, pondering a question about a statement that has been very prevalent from analysts over the last few weeks:

Matt Overton @MattOverton_LS

We are always told "Protect the shield" ... What does that actually mean?

When there is someone in the fraternity who doesn't even know what "protect the shield" means at this point, you know there is a huge problem. 

Free agent cornerback Terrell Thomas also noted the double-standard that appears to exist between the commissioner and players:

Terrell Thomas @TerrellThomas24

Goodell can say I'm sorry I messed up... Player's have go through due process... Hmmmmm

His biggest point throughout the press conference was to say the NFL is going to look at all of its policies and procedures and make changes going forward, via The Denver Post:

Denver Post Broncos @PostBroncos

Goodell: "We will re-examine, enhance and improve all of our current programs, and then do more."

Goodell also addressed using former FBI director Robert Mueller to conduct an internal investigation of what the NFL did or didn't know regarding the Ray Rice video tape by saying that Mueller will be completely independent and that he's challeneged the league. 

Pro Football Talk tweeted out that Mueller's law firm represented two teams against the league:

ProFootballTalk @ProFootballTalk

When Roger Goodell said Mueller's firm was once against the NFL, it was representing two NFL teams against the league. So there's that.

In addition to the league examining its policies and making the necessary changes, Goodell also said all 32 teams will be involved in education and training seminars on domestic violence and sexual assault, via Andrew Abramson of The Palm Beach Post:

Andrew Abramson @AbramsonFL

Every team will participate in "education sessions" beginning next month, followed by "training sessions."

Per Bob Glauber of Newsday in New York, Goodell talked about how the overwhelming discussion on all news fronts shows that the NFL can make a positive change from the mess that has happened:

Bob Glauber @BobGlauber

Roger Goodell: "These incidents demonstrate that we can use the NFL to help creat change, not only in our league, but in society."

Via SportsCenter's Twitter feed, Goodell reiterated that the NFL will take action against any behavior that is deemed unacceptable:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

"We strongly, strongly condemn and will punish behavior that is totally unacceptable." - Roger Goodell #LIVEonSC

To help bring these changes about, Goodell said that he was going to make a point to work with the NFL Players Association, via Pro Player Insiders:

ProPlayerInsiders @PlayerInsiders

Goodell: "We will ask NFLPA to help develop programs in most effective way. "

In working with the players union, the commissioner talked about meeting with NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith in the next week to discuss new policies, via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Roger Goodell says he’ll meet with DeMaurice Smith next week with experts to help establish standards fans deserve. “All current polices”

Goodell also provided a timetable for the entire process to be finished, per Glauber:

Bob Glauber @BobGlauber

Goodell: "There will be changes to our personal conduct policy. Nothing is off the table." Hopes to complete process by the Super Bowl.

In order to achieve these new policies, Goodell mentioned he is putting together a team to examine the new policies, via Abramson:

Andrew Abramson @AbramsonFL

Goodell: I'm establishing a conduct committee to review these new rules in the months and years to come.

The overwhelming consensus following Goodell's press conference was that he didn't come off well, nor did he do the NFL any favors with his response to a lot of questions. This caused Tedy Bruschi to go on ESPN's NFL Live and say this, via NFL on ESPN:


Tedy Bruschi on NFL Live: "I want a new commissioner to lead my league...Roger Goodell needs to step down."

As Bonnie Bernstein of Campus Insiders put it, Goodell's press conference was the equivalent of listenting to politicians debate:

Despite all of Goodell's words, David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune noted that nothing said in the media room made it look like he was as concerned about these problems as the outside world is:

David Haugh @DavidHaugh

If Roger Goodell's intention was to swing public opinion or show this NFL crisis bothers him as much as it does you, he failed.

Seifert noted that there weren't enough specifics in Goodell's comments to the media and public to make anyone think differently of him or the league:

Kevin Seifert @SeifertESPN

Too many platitudes and high-minded goals from Roger Goodell today. Specifics + more genuine contrition were necessary to move people.

Former NFL offensive lineman Kevin Mawae also wasn't satisfied with the way Goodell struggled to have clear, concise answers to the questions being asked:

When questions about the Ray Rice video came up, Goodell continued to say that he "believes" nobody in the NFL office saw the video that was released by TMZ and that the owners still support him in his capacity as commissioner, via Albert Breer of the NFL Network and Maske:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Roger Goodell says he believes no one in the league office saw the video, and that he has the support of the owners.

MarkMaske @MarkMaske

Goodell: "I believe I have the support of the owners. That has been clear to me. They do expect us to do a better job."

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith had a pointed criticism of Goodell during the press conference, noticing similarities between what the commissioner was saying and what players say when they are asked to plead their case:

Goodell was also asked about meeting with Rice and his wife in the same room at the time he met with them to discuss the February incident that resulted in her being knocked unconscious, via The New York Daily News:

NYDN Sports I-Team @NYDNSportsITeam

Goodell says he regrets having Rice and wife in same room for meeting. "There are certain proper ways of having that discussion."

CNN's Rachel Nichols brought up the topic of the NFL and how it went about acquiring the tape of Rice and his then-fiancee, saying to Jake Tapper after the press conference that there's "no electronic record" of the league asking about the tape, via Staci Kramer:

Staci D Kramer @sdkstl

.@Rachel__Nichols to @jaketapper: PD & prosecutor's office have no electronic record of the #NFL asking for #RayRice elevator tape.

As far as how TMZ acquired the tape, Goodell didn't look good when a TMZ reporter asked him why the NFL wasn't able to get the tape, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Patrick Finley @patrickfinley

Goodell: "I would have loved to see that tape." TMZ guy says it took them "one phone call."

All told, Goodell spoke for 43 minutes, including answering questions from reporters.

Right now, a lot of ideas and concepts are being talked about. According to Goodell's timetable, it could take up to five months before we know the full extent of the NFL's policy changes.

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