For now, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has the support of the owners.
But at least one of them seems to be hedging his bets, awaiting the outcome of the independent investigation into the handling of the Ray Rice punishment.
Peter King of TheMMQB.com talked to at least two owners, and there’s still a general sense of support for Goodell.
But at least one indicated that’s not necessarily permanent, and that Goodell might not survive the latest wave of bad news.
“This is a good first step,” an owner told King. “But we need to be prepared for any outcome.”
“I am starting to get a sick feeling about how out of control this is getting,” another owner said. “But I am standing by Roger. He has been great for our league.”
That he has made them all a pile of money is one reason Goodell is still widely believed to be safe in his job.
But as important, if not more so, are the owners who are loyal to him.
Goodell already has on-the-record backing from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Giants co-owner John Mara and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He was scheduled to present an award last night to Panthers owner Jerry Richardson (canceling at the last minute when this thing got even uglier).
Mara and Steelers president Art Rooney II (another Goodell supporter) are overseeing the investigation headed by former FBI director Robert Mueller.
Those five owners are some of the most influential in league matters, and Goodell has them squarely on his side.
The situation can always change, but it might take clear evidence of a cover-up to erode the support he’s built from his bosses, which is built on the back of billions of dollars.