The 26 players attending tonight’s NFL draft were brought on stage at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday evening and were mostly cheered by the fans in attendance. Some scattered boos for Andrew Luck could be heard, but generally the fans are excited to be there and ready to cheer.
But when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was introduced as he took the stage to join them, he was loudly booed.
At last year’s draft fans loudly booed Goodell, but that was explained away as simply a reaction to the lockout: Fans changed “We want football” and clearly had a specific reason to be unhappy with the man who represents the owners who decided to shut the league down.
The fact that fans got their football and are still booing Goodell suggests that there’s animosity toward Goodell that labor peace can’t cure. Some fans think Goodell has been heavy-handed in his approach to everything from rules changes to fines for on-field infractions to suspensions for off-field violations. Those fans don’t get a lot of opportunities to voice their displeasure to Goodell, but they got one opportunity on Thursday night. And they took it.