Mara, Rooney to oversee independent investigation

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The independent investigation to be conducted by former FBI director Robert Mueller won’t be completely independent.  It will be overseen by a pair of owners — John Mara of the Giants (pictured) and Art Rooney II of the Steelers.

That dynamic raises a fair question about just how independent the investigation will be, especially since it was Art Rooney’s father, Dan, who a little more than eight years ago personally informed Roger Goodell that he’d been elected Commissioner.  Will Mueller have the ability to gather any evidence, ask any question, explore any angle that he wants?  Will he be permitted to consult with, for example, former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue regarding the dynamics of the league office and the identity of the persons most likely to know whether the video of the Ray Rice assault had indeed made its way to 345 Park Avenue?

The notion that Tagliabue, who subtly but decisively dressed down Goodell when appointed to review the player suspensions in the bounty case, would have any direct or indirect input in the investigation would send shock waves through the upper reaches of the league office.  But how can an investigator with no ties to the NFL know how to go about turning the rocks without talking to the man who most recently was in position to know where the rocks are?

Actually, perhaps the best way to get to the truth would be to have Tagliabue, not Mara and Rooney, oversee the investigation.  Or maybe even to conduct it.

Ultimately, what will Mara and Rooney do with the results of the investigation?  Will they be released to the public entirely?  Will they be partially concealed?  Will they be skewed in a way that justifies keeping Goodell in place and results in other key members of the administration quietly taking jobs as Pac-12 athletic directors?

Some think that the decision to punt the ball to Mueller will take the heat out of the kitchen long enough to allow the story to die down and the growing chorus of media, fans, current players, and former players who want to see Goodell ousted to find something else for which to randomly clamor.  In reality, the Mueller appointment gives the story a much longer shelf life.

Because the scandal ultimately involves the Commissioner, the story will continue to hover ominously over the NFL until the investigation has ended and any consequences have been determined.  At some point, there will be owners who choose to lobby for change simply because that will be the only way to return the nation’s focus fully and exclusively to the game of football.

And if there’s any hint or sign or whisper that the investigation is anything but independent, legitimate, and complete, the league will end up spending years, not weeks, undoing the damage.  That won’t be good for the game, and it won’t be good for the folks who otherwise are quietly printing cash by the billion.

79 responses to “Mara, Rooney to oversee independent investigation

  1. If Rooney and Mara find out Roger saw the video, no way this information leaks. This is a total CYA and the owners are in on it.


  2. The witch hunt is on. Rice should have gotten a harsher penalty from the start, but this is out of control. I hope all the bloggers here and media faces everywhere are happy. You have officially taken the football out of football while teams are actually playing the darn games.

  3. How can this be an independent investigation when you have the owner of a division rival of the Ravens overseeing it? Surely the investigation will be looking at what the Ravens organization knew and when they knew it in addition to the investigation of the league office’s actions.

  4. This is like putting your business partners on the jury for your company trial, lol. Resign now Roger, you had the video and weak handed your final punishment.

  5. Just part of the natural cycle of an organisation – by this point, the NFL can’t help itself. And even if it manages to deflect criticism this time or find a “friendly” investigation, it just means the next time will be even bigger.

    I think Goodell becomes a lame duck after this: but that’s his job – to take the flak for the owners/head office. When it becomes convenient, the owners will throw him out and start afresh with a new commissioner.

  6. Wow. I would love to appoint my 2 best friends to be judge and jury for me at my trial!! Goodell should have named Snyder, you know – the one who he wrongly took salary cap money away from? I wonder how that would turn out. These clowns are going to try and quietly bury anything damning. And I’m sure John “The Walking Dead” Mara is already recommending more salary cap penalties to his rivals because of this scandal.

  7. Okay so the same owners that will always be on Goodell’s side are overseeing an investigation into any transgressions by Goodell and his staff? Seems like a major conflict of interest… Everyone already knows nothing will happen to any of the NFL office’s top dogs. Let me guess, Robert Kraft will be the first owner to give Goodell a big vote of confidence lol

  8. So the investigation will be overseen by representatives of two teams who have a history of ignoring players being charged with domestic violence. No incentive to clear the process there at all.

  9. Let the cover up begin….
    You know some poor schmuck working in the mail room is going to get blamed & fired while Goodell & his crooneys go merrily on.

  10. Goodell is safe but the Harbaughs should both be canned over all this DV issue. LaMichael James is a perpetrator of Domestic Violence should have never played in week one. Harbaugh said he would not have those types of players on his team well he is a lair. James pleaded guilty to DV back in college. The Harbaugh’s are bad for the NFL they both need to go for supporting those that commit acts of Domestic Violence. Rice and James and Ray McDonald all get support from the Harbaughs disgusting.

  11. Just when I think they can’t get any dumber, they do something like this…and totally redeem themselves!

  12. So here’s a question:

    Those of you shamelessly using a case of an abused woman to parlay that into somehow getting Roger Goodell fired, what is it exactly you are trying to accomplish? What commissioner is then going to be put in his place and what will this new commissioner do drastically different with the league?

    If I was part of the league and media driven public pressure left me no choice but to grudgingly fire a commissioner I like, I’d put a really ugly tougher one in place, one who prefers a media blackout because look where current near-unfettered media access is getting the league.

    Be careful what you wish for, sportsville…

  13. Can you please use quotation marks around the word “independent” when describing this investigation from now on? The NFL just can’t get out of its own way. How is this investigation in any way “independent” now?

  14. Not even Mara and Rooney overseeing Mueller is going to convince people that Mueller’s investigation
    is going to be viewed as “legit”.

    The “fix” is in…that is what most believe.

    Goodell will get his fingers “lightly smacked” by the owners…but the NFL shield will be forever tarnished.

  15. The cover up continues.

    I strongly urge everyone to write the owner/executive office of the team you root for and tell them you will not watch the NFL on TV, attend a game, purchase any merchandise or otherwise spend one penny on the NFL or support it in any way until Goodell is removed as commissioner.

  16. if goodell ran out tagliabue again after already using him to find an exit from his bumbling of the saints case, the owners would begin to wonder why he is getting that dough…

    which they already are, but are not yet ready to admit.

    much like the sterling deal; there will be a tipping point one way or the other but we ain’t there yet………..

  17. I’ve been saying for years that Goodell is bad for the game. He’s not qualified for the position at all. What goes around comes around Roger. He got away with the pseudo bounty scandal but i sure hope there’s a different result this time. Geaux Saints!

  18. Anybody who believes the NFL has any desire to have a TRULY independent investigation is kidding themselves. Their only goal is going to be pinning the blame on somebody so they can go back to counting their money. The only question will be whether they decide an underling or two can be believably stuck with the blame or if it will be Goodell himself taking the fall. I think Rog is going to learn that “protect the shield” looks a whole lot different from the other side of the shield.

  19. While the Mueller investigation buys Goodell some time, it’s also keeping the story alive. Has anyone discussed the Week 1 NFL games or preview the Week 2 games this week? No. There’s only been one football story and there’s probably only going to be one story for the next few weeks. This is all Goodell’s fault. It has nothing to do with him seeing the tape or not seeing it. It has everything to do with Goodell not being able to control the story.

  20. The two people linked as the tightest owners with Goodell are in charge? Should you also include some owners that have been shafted by goodell? Like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder? Both had cap space taken away in an uncapped year.

  21. Goodell needs to go, He is a lier and a cheat. He has made the game soft, taken almost all the fun out of it for the players and the fans and does not represent the NFL in a manner conducive to making the league better all around. If he has covered this up, What else has he covered up?

  22. The Mara family aren’t objective. A few years back a Mara was in charge of the committee that penalized the Redskins and Cowboys for spending too much on an uncapped season. This was way too slanted since the Giants are also in this same division.

  23. Supposedly Rooney and Mara’s roles will simply be to make sure the investigation is conducted properly, but to me it seems like the good ol’ boys club is taking it out of RG’s hands completely. If enough rich old guys find that the only way to make this go away is by blaming the commish and asking his resignation, it will happen. At this point the owners simply want this problem to go away and will pay a lot of money to make it so.

  24. The NFC East Owners and the AFC East owners should all be on the committee… They have all had fair or unfair treatment tilted their ways one way or another.. In the NFC the Giants were allowed to punish the Cowboys and REDSKINS with a cap penalty and in the AFC the league covered up all the evidence of the Patriots stealing 3 superbowls with the cheating controversy..

    Mara, Kraft and Rooney control what the commissioner does.. Let the ones who get the shaft from those three be a part of this and get Roger out

  25. and Mara…

    used personal vendetta to get Roger to punish teams for violating salary cap.. in an uncapped year…

    I think many of these owners need to be investigated…

    Kraft is the worst of all…. god only knows what he has had Roger cover up

  26. He said yesterday that it was misguided to think Goodell’s job was in jeopardy. And now he’s “overseeing” the investigation. This is a farce.

  27. Mara will be seeing the Ray Rice and NFL imvestigation.

    Therefore, the NFC East opponents of the Giants will be getting punished.

  28. If it’s going to be truly fair, then the Players Association should also have a rep to help oversee this investigation. Gee, the owner of the Ravens’ biggest rival is overseeing this investigation. That’ll go over well.

    Goodell keeps digging his grave even further.

  29. I don’t think anybody expects an “independent” investigation with two of Goodell’s staunchest supporters overseeing it.

  30. It would have been nice if, in your opening paragraph, you had described what investigation you were writing about and include the actions being questioned. This is a really poorly written piece. I’ll have to go elsewhere to find out what’s happening. It seems this is just an opinion piece.

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