Shortly after we posted an item on former head of officiating Mike Pereira accusing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell of shoving him during an argument at the league office in 2001, Pereira sounded surprised in a radio interview that it was big news.
“It’s the first time I’ve had to address it. I just read it on Pro Football Talk,” Pereira said on Sports Radio 610 in Houston. “It wasn’t that big of a deal to me. Yes he did shove me, he was so frustrated.”
Of course, it was a big enough deal that Pereira put it in his book 15 years later.
But Pereira said Goodell’s shove was nothing he would have reported as workplace misconduct.
“Officiating is a firestorm and we all know Roger,” Pereira said. “He’s not the calmest guy in the world, and he was very upset, and he wasn’t getting what he wanted from me, and so he did shove me, as two people having an argument might. I think it stunned him. He is certainly not a guy that would go around the office constantly bullying people and shoving people, but he was frustrated enough at that point that I think it just got him, and when he did it he just stepped back and I stepped back and that was basically the end of the conversation. It was nothing I would have thought of pursuing.”
Goodell is lucky that Pereira didn’t feel the need to pursue the matter: Shoving a co-worker is unacceptable in any office, and Goodell — who has insisted that the NFL must hold all its employees to the highest of standards — could have found himself in very hot water if Pereira had turned it into an issue at the time, rather than keeping it quiet for 15 years.