If Commissioner Roger Goodell telephoning a Colts blogger who complained about Goodell’s conference call with Colts season-ticket holders didn’t prove that the NFL is paying close attention to — and possibly reacting to — anything and everything said about the league during the lockout, we’ve gotten without solicitation a comment from the league regarding the perception that league and/or team employees are posting pro-owner comments in the PFT comments section.
Here’s what we wrote in an item regarding Drew Magary’s observation that our initial story regarding a possible complete shutdown of the league drew a confusing number of remarks from readers who seem to be rooting for that outcome: “Still, it’s shocking that so many people support shutting the league down, and it makes Magary — and us — wonder whether some of the pro-owner posts have been posted by some of the team and league employees who have a lot of free time on their hands right now.”
Said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello in response, via e-mail: “Regarding the statement from your recent post, 1) the goal of the clubs is not to shut down the league. It’s to get a fair agreement with the players. 2) I have not posted any comments on your site and do not know of any club or league employees that have done so. If there is evidence otherwise, let me know. We most definitely have not tried as a league to influence comments on the site.”
Unfortunately, there’s no evidence to prove or disprove any suspicions regarding the identity of folks who are posting pro-owner comments. Folks rarely post comments with their real names, and even when they do there’s no way of knowing whether it’s actually their real names.
And the truth is that nothing prevents anyone connected to the league or any of its teams from posting comments, even without a concerted effort to influence comments. Given the extent to which both sides have tried to influence public opinion during the lockout, would it surprise anyone if folks on either side of this fight were presenting their views in the comments section of PFT and other websites, even if only to vent their frustrations?