At Saturday’s unveiling of the statue of Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, Commissioner Roger Goodell apparently played the role of Clubber Lang. Unintentionally.
Via Peter King of TheMMQB.com, who attended the event, Goodell heard boos from roughly half the assembled crowd of 10,000 to 12,000 fans. King suggests that the program was constructed to introduce two speakers at a time in order to shield Goodell from the crowd reaction, pairing him with former Colts coach Tony Dungy.
Still, Goodell heard it when he went to the podium to speak, and King writes that “it seemed stunning,” given the mood of the day and the friendly reputation of the citizenry. (Also, Colts fans shouldn’t have a problem with Goodell, given that: (1) he has yet to drop the Arbitrary Hammer of Results-Driven Justice on the team they love; and (2) he has done it to the team they love to hate.)
But booing the Commissioner has become a part of the football culture, starting with the lockout in 2011 and continuing as the crowds get bigger — and louder — at the draft. And while the same members of the crowd that will boo Goodell loudly would individually clamor for a chance to take a selfie with him, the fact that booing has become a way of life for the Commissioner makes you wonder what kind of life the Commissioner has.
A great one, if you consider his bank account. And that’s one of the reasons why he willingly accepts the slings and arrows that come from being the face of the league. He’s paid in large part to be the pin cushion for the unpopular policies set by those who realize that the only thing better than being rich and famous is being rich.
It’s something his lawyer needs to keep in mind while finalizing a contract extension that will keep Goodell in the job from 2019 through 2024, especially if more and more owners are going to make Goodell’s job more and more challenging by beginning to push back aggressively against players who choose not to stand during the national anthem.