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Ejection rule differs from Goodell’s initial comments

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When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell initially floated the possibility that players could be ejected for two personal fouls, he was answering a question specifically about the suspensions of Giants receiver Odell Beckham and Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. But the rule that was passed at last week’s league meetings wouldn’t have been relevant in the cases of Beckham and Burfict.

Last week, when asked about the NFL’s new two-strikes-and-you’re-ejected rule, Goodell said that when he was initially asked about the proposal before the Super Bowl, he thought it was in the context of improving sportsmanship around the NFL.

My recollection may not be that good, but I’m pretty sure the question at the Super Bowl was what you are going to do about sportsmanship,” Goodell said last week.

Goodell is right: His recollection is not that good. He wasn’t asked about sportsmanship at all. According to the NFL’s transcript of Goodell’s pre-Super Bowl press conference, Goodell was asked, “In light of the on-field incidents involving Odell Beckham Jr. and Vontaze Burfict that led to suspensions, and the players union often challenging disciplinary decisions, do you envision any formal system for in-game ejections of players for egregious offenses or acts?”

In his answer, Goodell specifically said he’d like to see an automatic ejection for two personal fouls — not just for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, which is the rule the NFL ended up adopting.

“I believe that the league should pursue a policy where if there are two personal fouls in a game, there’s an automatic ejection of the player,” Goodell answered. “I believe that’s consistent with what we believe are safety issues, but I also believe it’s consistent with what we believe are standards of sportsmanship that we emphasize. We should take that out of the hands of the officials when it gets to that point. They’ll obviously have to throw the flag, but when they do, we’ll look to see if we can reach an agreement on the conditions of which they’ll be ejected. That’s a Competition Committee matter.”

As it turned out, the NFL passed a much narrower rule than what Goodell outlined at his press conference: Players will only be ejected if they get two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for abusive language, baiting, taunting, or throwing a punch, forearm or kick at an opponent (even if he doesn’t make contact). That’s not what Beckham and Burfict were suspended for, and it’s not really a matter of player safety, either: Although a punch, forearm or kick could certainly injure a player, if this rule were truly aimed at player safety it would incorporate helmet-to-helmet hits, late hits, roughing the passer and other personal fouls, all of which cause far more injuries than punches, forearms or kicks.

Seeing as players hardly ever get two penalties in one game for unsportsmanlike conduct, this rule — for all the attention it got when Goodell first discussed it — won’t have much of an effect on the NFL at all.

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46 Responses to “Ejection rule differs from Goodell’s initial comments”
  1. grizz2202 says: Mar 28, 2016 2:50 PM

    Isn’t it possible this is only step one? Couldn’t they expand this at a later date to include those other fouls, and maybe they just want to study impact before ejecting people left and right?

    I’m all “Down with Goodell!” as much as anybody, but let’s try to keep the fake outrage in check.

  2. mjdkid100 says: Mar 28, 2016 2:50 PM

    Inconsistency from NFL Leadership?

    Color me shocked…

  3. greenmtnboy31 says: Mar 28, 2016 2:51 PM

    Don’t trust him, inaccurate recollections or not. He’s more slippery than an eel in oil.

  4. weepingjebus says: Mar 28, 2016 2:51 PM

    This guy didn’t understand that inflated objects lose pressure if the temperature drops, never forget. In fact given his two apparent possible explanations — cheating or witchcraft — I suppose we are lucky he went with cheating.

  5. marvsleezy says: Mar 28, 2016 2:51 PM

    But if you accidentally bump an official 1 time they can throw you out, no questions asked, no recourse.

  6. calmdownsir says: Mar 28, 2016 2:54 PM

    Generally speaking, when the Commissioner of anything doesn’t know the rules it’s a sign they need to be simplified.

  7. patriotsticketssince1978 says: Mar 28, 2016 2:54 PM

    He can’t remember sworn testimony either.

  8. tylawspick6 says: Mar 28, 2016 2:54 PM

    Goodell got caught lying again? So, Goodell’s recollection and “misremembering” a la Clemens is not very good, but Walt Anderson’s is?

    Arrest, try and convict Roger Goodell.

  9. Irsay's Bong says: Mar 28, 2016 2:56 PM

    Please please fire this idiot already, I want my NFL back.

  10. TB12RALLYCRY says: Mar 28, 2016 2:59 PM

    You mean he said something that wasnt the truth…….anything but shocking…..

  11. streetyson says: Mar 28, 2016 3:00 PM

    But this could have the OPPOSITE effect on those rare “straight-red” ejections where a ref would (or should) eject a player for a single egregious act. In those cases, refs and players will now all act like they’d get a yellow, and thus make such terrible behaviour more likely because they’ll all (correctly) now assume they’ll just get a yellow warning.

  12. steelerben says: Mar 28, 2016 3:03 PM

    tylawspick6 says:
    Mar 28, 2016 2:54 PM

    Arrest, try and convict Roger Goodell.


    For what? You can’t commit perjury at a press conference. Goodell is a mouthpiece for the owners. If 17 or more of them decide that he’s going to say something, he’s heading out to a podium in defense of it. The guy is not a mastermind of anything. He’s a high paid whipping boy.

  13. kevpft says: Mar 28, 2016 3:07 PM

    It comes down to officiating. If unsportsmanlike conduct is called when it should be called – and it definitely should have been called on Beckham – the rule will work.

    But with making those calls requiring similar courage and quick decision-making as simply ejecting a player on the spot, we may see officials miss the boat.

  14. ipdaily69 says: Mar 28, 2016 3:08 PM

    If Roger is talking, Roger is lying

  15. tylawspick6 says: Mar 28, 2016 3:09 PM

    To the person above…Goodell is defrauding the Pats.

    He did it with Spygate and that lie and with Deflategate.

    It’s sabotage and collusion on top of defaming Brady.
    This is a very serious case.

    This is the equivalent of RC Cola and Pepsi colluding to sabotage Coke by using the press to do so.

    That’s illegal in this country.

    Goodell would perjure himself as he answered the first question on a federal stand.

  16. mt10425 says: Mar 28, 2016 3:10 PM

    Let’s see…goodell and the truth/accuracy=different universes.

  17. zoellner25 says: Mar 28, 2016 3:11 PM

    he also can’t remember the ideal gas law

  18. bryceharpersmojo says: Mar 28, 2016 3:16 PM

    Roger Goodell was inaccurate about something he said?

    Stop me when you’ve heard this before…

  19. zigthepatsfan says: Mar 28, 2016 3:22 PM

    It’s easier to remember what you say if you don’t lie every time your lips move

  20. robadat says: Mar 28, 2016 3:28 PM

    Big deal. So what?

    The Competition Committeee’s proposal and ultimately what was passed at the league meetings by the NFL differs slightly from what Goodall said he’d like to see put in place at a press conference two months ago.

    Gee, anything to take a potshot at Goodall.

  21. orivar says: Mar 28, 2016 3:29 PM

    Welp now you definitely can’t taunt now. Boring. This is step one.

  22. purplekoolaid1 says: Mar 28, 2016 3:39 PM

    Liars usually have a harder time remembering what they’ve said than people who tell the truth. Case in point here.

  23. bigbroncomama says: Mar 28, 2016 3:41 PM

    Even though Goodell is merely repeating the words of his 32 owners (kinda like Jason Garret and Jerry Jones), isn’t it all super fun that we can unitize as Fan Boy Army, flex our 5 inch biceps and say “We Hate Goodell”?

  24. huh6016 says: Mar 28, 2016 3:45 PM

    Goodell needs to be in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

  25. danaking says: Mar 28, 2016 3:45 PM

    So let’s get this straight: you could get an automatically ejection for two overly energetic celebrations, but not for two deliberate attempts to injure players? This is why my interest in football wanes by the year.

  26. 3wordanswers says: Mar 28, 2016 3:52 PM

    “………I believe that the league should pursue a policy where if there are two personal fouls in a game, there’s an automatic ejection of the player, unless they’re wearing yellow & black………” Goodell answered.

  27. mmack66 says: Mar 28, 2016 3:53 PM

    So you can still swing a guy around by the facemask, and throw him to the ground?

  28. chawk12thman says: Mar 28, 2016 3:58 PM

    More types of violations will be added after the initial concept has been adjusted to by the masses. Baby steps, if you will. Not a fan of this rule change and wish that instead of going this route, the NFL would emphasis the rules already on the books as the ref crew already can eject players. The NFL needs to exercise that option in those cases.

  29. jaxon51 says: Mar 28, 2016 4:05 PM

    “My recollection may not be that good”
    That sounds familiar.
    Spygate he destroyed “about six ” game tapes…uh Roger it was 40.
    Holes and lies in the Defaltegate scandal, which he totally Marcia-Clark-ed.
    GoodellMustGo, sooner the better 😊

  30. conormacleod says: Mar 28, 2016 4:08 PM

    Ok. I didn’t read all that. But, I know under the new rules one guy would have been ejected last year. So how many players had two personal fouls in a game? I bet it still isn’t that many players.

  31. bobsnygiants says: Mar 28, 2016 4:26 PM

    can we eject Goodell.

  32. chriskap11 says: Mar 28, 2016 4:28 PM

    If a player has that little regard for his teammates (his family on the field) then he should be tossed.

    The argument that in the heat of the battle one might lose control is a major cop out.

    Athlete train intensely throughout their entire lives and aware of the situation. Those getting these flagrant penalties but themselves first.

    These guys are putting other player’s livelihoods in jeopardy. Not one person argues good hard play it is the cheap crap that is finally being addressed here.

  33. mdintino1420 says: Mar 28, 2016 4:41 PM

    Way too many negative post here. Roger Goodell is a great commissioner. He is the man!!!!!!!! Let’s all support Goodell from here on out.

    I am concerned though, that the NFL may be heading towards having too many rules. This takes away from the heart and soul of the game.

  34. jimmylikesthat says: Mar 28, 2016 5:55 PM

    If this doesn’t somehow pertain to the Patriots then I don’t care. Punish that team for being so consistently good already and move on

  35. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Mar 28, 2016 6:43 PM

    When it comes to what he was asked Roger was out of touch in more ways than just his faulty recollection, apparently he didn’t know the rule book. Flagrant UR penalties are already cause for ejection. In the Beckham and Burfict cases the existing rules were enough to have gotten them bounced, they simply weren’t enforced.

  36. rportkid says: Mar 28, 2016 7:37 PM

    What would you expect? Goodell is a serial liar and a corrupt incompetent buffoon. Other than that he’s a pretty good commish!

  37. lscottman3 says: Mar 28, 2016 8:51 PM

    Roger brought all this upon himself, whether as the mouthpiece of the owners, or not; no mercy.

  38. chriskap11 says: Mar 28, 2016 9:19 PM

    Let it go Patriot fans. With all of his flaws Goodell doesn’t stay up at night thinking of ways to mess with Kraft and New England

  39. rootpain says: Mar 28, 2016 9:29 PM

    Hey Goodell said that the new rule is related to safety issues. And every one knows that abusive language, baiting and taunting are all very, very hurtful.

    Give me a break and fire Goodell already.

  40. tonebones says: Mar 28, 2016 11:38 PM

    Goodell is awesome. While he’s been commissioner the NFL has continued to put distance between itself and all other pro sports. In this case, Goodell was trying to promote good sportsmanship as well as impoving player safety. In the end, he got the sportsmanship clause, but got over-ruled on the player safety issue.

  41. seldom1 says: Mar 29, 2016 3:13 AM

    The NFL couldn’t pass a real “two and out” rule because that would be the end of the Steelers.

  42. pleasefiregoodell says: Mar 29, 2016 8:37 AM

    WOW goodell changed his story again

    WOW goodell lied again

    WOW goodell and the NFL doing it up again

    NFL = Need For Lies

  43. whispersd says: Mar 29, 2016 11:05 AM

    “Goodell is right: His recollection is not that good. He wasn’t asked about sportsmanship at all.”

    So he told another false story. That’s why people think he’s a chronic liar. It’s pretty much pathological at this point. And so many times the lies he tells are “get me out of the room so I don’t have to deal with something right now” lies – lies about things that are easily checked and where his story is quickly proven false.

    This is the guy the owners want in charge.

  44. whispersd says: Mar 29, 2016 11:07 AM

    tonebones says:
    Mar 28, 2016 11:38 PM

    Goodell is awesome. While he’s been commissioner the NFL has continued to put distance between itself and all other pro sports. In this case, Goodell was trying to promote good sportsmanship as well as impoving player safety.

    This has to be an account from the NFL headquarters. Nobody else thinks “Goodell is awesome.” It’s a ludicrous argument.

  45. jcbalance says: Mar 29, 2016 12:19 PM

    I expected the rule to be about Unsportsmanlike Conduct to begin with, so I’m not disappointed there. Personal fouls (specifically roughing the passer) can be called for far too broad a range of contact to be worthy of throwing someone out of a game. If it’s egregious, tag them with Unsportsmanlike.

    I’m not surprised that Goodell is trying to rewrite history again, though.

  46. jcbalance says: Mar 29, 2016 12:21 PM

    chriskap11 says:
    Mar 28, 2016 9:19 PM
    Let it go Patriot fans. With all of his flaws Goodell doesn’t stay up at night thinking of ways to mess with Kraft and New England


    Nah, he sleeps soundly and reads his emails from the owners in the morning.

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