Goodell defends Mueller’s investigation

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When is an independent investigation not really independent?  It depends.

Actually, it doesn’t.  True independence includes both the ability and willingness to ask questions and to make decisions unfettered by any concern other than getting to the truth.

For investigations that are aimed at securing the confidence of the public at large, the appearance of independence also becomes critical.

Commissioner Roger Goodell blurred those lines while defending on Friday the decision to ask former FBI director Robert Mueller to investigate the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice case.  Whether Mueller actually behaves independent of any concern other than getting to the truth will be impossible to prove without getting inside his mind.  While his extensive service as FBI director provides a patina of credibility, plenty of people who have held plenty of big titles have succumbed to human nature or other factors that result in the person straying from the goal of doing the right thing in every situation and circumstance.

The bigger question is the appearance of independence.  The selection of an employee of a law firm with multiple tentacles to the NFL prevents the investigation from having the appearance that it will indeed be independent.

“The law firm that he works for is a law firm with extremely close ties to the NFL,” CNN’s Rachel Nichols said to Goodell.  “You guys paid that law firm to help you negotiate some television deals.  The president of the Ravens, who will be key in this whole investigation, worked at that law firm for more than 30 years.  Why hire someone with even the appearance of impropriety and how do you expect us to accept everything?”

“I respectfully disagree,” Goodell said.  “You are questioning the integrity of the director of the FBI.  Yes, that firm has represented us in the past.  They have also been on the other side in litigation against the NFL.  So this is a highly respected individual, the longest serving director in the FBI.”

Nichols wasn’t satisfied.  (J. Edgar Hoover probably wasn’t, either.)

“Part of the idea of this is to restore public trust,” she said.  “So even if he does a flawless investigation isn’t there an element here of your leaving the door open for doubt?”

“Well, Rachel, unfortunately we live in a world where there is a lot of litigation,” Goodell said.  “A lot of law firms and maybe people have had some interaction with us in the past.  Robert Mueller has not.  The law firm may have.  We are hiring Robert Mueller, his credentials to do an independent investigation reporting to the owners and I’m confident that will be the case.”

But there are thousands of law firms and thousands of lawyers capable of doing a fair and impartial investigation.  Mueller’s appointment gives the investigation credibility on the surface, because he ran the FBI.  The failure to pick a lawyer from a firm with no past connection and, most importantly, no aspiration for any future connection to the NFL prevents the investigation from having the appearance of independence.

Ultimately, the decision to pick Mueller was just another mistake in the chain of blunders that has turned the NFL on its head.  At a time when it’s become very popular for people connected to the NFL to talk about getting it right, how about we stop saying it and start doing it?

58 responses to “Goodell defends Mueller’s investigation

  1. Is this the only thing we can talk about right now? It kinda sucks to come on here and every article be about the ravens or the commish..

  2. Espn and Goodell are protecting the shield above all else.

    They tried getting ray rice off the hook, when that didn’t work they tried to claim ignorance.

    When that didn’t work they tried to single out the ravens and make it seem as if they pressured Goodell and made this mess.

    When that doesn’t work how long do you think it’ll be before this lands directly on your doorstep Rodger? Or worse, yours espn? Who was complicit in this whole fiasco in order to protect their broadcasting revenue stream

  3. The only way this stops is when Roger Goodell resigns (not likely considering his financial compensation) or is fired (owners realize the poster child of their greed will be a necessary sacrifice for peace and quiet)…

    Goodell’s hypocrisy seemingly has no limits…

    After the commissioner stance of moral high ground in defaming and impugning Sean Payton’s character and leadership for failing to identify and address a locker room wager (since debunked by his own predecessor), he now conveniently chooses to move forward rather than face the consequences of his failure as a commissioner, leader and man…

    His failed administration is an indication that merit and character are of less value than greed and nepotism in today’s corporate world…

  4. Look, this has all been a ton of fun. As much as we enjoyed it, it is no longer about abused women; it is about beaten dead horses. What was once a domestic violence discussion should be considered an animal rights one. There are games tomorrow. Remember… football?

    #protectthehorses
    #PETA

  5. OK let me see if I have this right.. You hire the guy to investigate a story that you’re part of? So basically you’re involved so you pick the guy you call an independent investigator? That’s just funny.. Gee I wonder what the finding will be? Wait let me guess Roger didn’t do it… LOL

  6. At this point, there is nothing the NFL or Goodell could do right in the media’s eyes. I heard so many people say that his press conference wasn’t good enough yesterday. Really?? What did you want him to say? Literally, please tell me what he should have said…

    And when you think you figured out what he should have said, I got news for you… 50 other media members would have said that was also “not good enough”. He’s in a no win situation. I’m tired of everyone looking for blood at any sign of a controversy.

    All these media members on their high-horses… Where was this vocal outcry over the previous 56 cases of domestic violence over the past 8 years? Why did you not call for Goodells head then?? Oh thats right… You saw a video last week that changed everything and now you guys act like you’ve been shouting this from the rooftop for years.

    In regards to the investigation, I believe PFT actually recommended Paul Tablibue to do the investigation. Are you kidding me??? You think the mass media would accept the fact that a former NFL commissioner would be impartial? Further proof that no matter what they do, it won’t be good enough in the media’s eye.

    I really don’t care anymore. He gave out too light of a punishment and acknowledged as much even before the video came out. He apologized for it and corrected it. I don’t see what the “conspiracy” is?? Do people think the Ravens paid him $10 Million for the 2 game suspension? If so, then he should go… But chances are, it was just bad judgement that he acknowledged and corrected. Time to move on.

  7. Why he said he got it wrong is beyond me. Does he not consult with his own media people. Whenever you say you did even the slightest thing wrong you open up the ‘we told you so’ pandora’s box.

    He saw a short video to a woman being dragged out of an elevator, had a meeting -why the wife was there is beyond me, that may have been what he was referring to, and suspended the guy two games.

    Later he saw the whole video and changed it. What the hell is to apologize for? I don’t get the falling on the sword deal. I thought he was brighter than that. But hey, he is a lawyer, no one said he was a rocket scientist. Perhaps this job is too much for him.

  8. OMG stop it already with all this media coverage ! Liberal media loves this stuff, its as bad as the constant non story about the REDSKINS name STOP IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. I do think it’s unfair to just assume Mueller can’t be independent and do a good job. There are lots of issues the NFL still needs to work on, and what Mueller is doing will hopefully create some progress in the area that he is working on. If you doubt his ability to be independent, then afterwards just have Rachel Nichols do an interview with him to ascertain if he was truly independent, and she’ll get to the bottom of it!

  10. The owners asked the guy to do an investigation for THEM. He isn’t answering to the media. Why shouldn’t the owners believe that he won’t do the job they are asking him to do? It benefits them for him to do what he is asked and report his findings.

    The media acts like this guy was hired on their behalf to help gather evidence to make the league look bad and he is going to lie about everything. The media needs to get over themselves.

  11. truthfactory says: Sep 20, 2014 9:50 AM

    At this point, there is nothing the NFL or Goodell could do right in the media’s eyes. I heard so many people say that his press conference wasn’t good enough yesterday. Really?? What did you want him to say? Literally, please tell me what he should have said…

    And when you think you figured out what he should have said, I got news for you… 50 other media members would have said that was also “not good enough”. He’s in a no win situation. I’m tired of everyone looking for blood at any sign of a controversy.

    All these media members on their high-horses… Where was this vocal outcry over the previous 56 cases of domestic violence over the past 8 years? Why did you not call for Goodells head then?? Oh thats right… You saw a video last week that changed everything and now you guys act like you’ve been shouting this from the rooftop for years.

    In regards to the investigation, I believe PFT actually recommended Paul Tablibue to do the investigation. Are you kidding me??? You think the mass media would accept the fact that a former NFL commissioner would be impartial? Further proof that no matter what they do, it won’t be good enough in the media’s eye.

    I really don’t care anymore. He gave out too light of a punishment and acknowledged as much even before the video came out. He apologized for it and corrected it. I don’t see what the “conspiracy” is?? Do people think the Ravens paid him $10 Million for the 2 game suspension? If so, then he should go… But chances are, it was just bad judgement that he acknowledged and corrected. Time to move on.

    ………………………………………………………………………..

    I believe the majority of football fans feel this way. Unfortunately it is the “outraged” minority with a microphone in front of their faces we have to listen to all day.

  12. Louis Freeh was a pawn for the PSU board so is Mueller for the NFL. Cover-up make it look tidy, send the players to some classes and say we will keep working to make it better. Ray Rice served his sentence it’s not his fault the NFL is run by competent men who can rig the system and then try to lie to us all saying they didn’t.

    #raylovesJANAYletHIMPLAY

  13. What part of this doesn’t Goodell understand. Hiring Mueller is not about pleasing Roger, the NFL or the owners, the goal is to try and repair/restore the public’s confidence in the NFL and it’s “shield”. Regardless of Mueller’s final report/findings, which could be the absolute truth of what happened, fans are still going to think there’s “more to the story”. The investigator needs to be someone truly 100% independent and if there’s even a scantilly of truth in the ESPN investigative report, Ravens brass has got to go, Biscotti needs to be suspended a couple of years at a minimum and forced to sell Ravens if his actions call for it. Goodell has got to go, his short legacy already involves botched attempts with Spygate, Bountygate and now “CYAgate”. His integrity will forever be doubted. If the owners retain him, their integrity will always be questioned. I use to be a HUGE all sport fan could name the names of every NBA player, MLB starters for every team, etc. and I especially bled NFL football. In early 80’s I got fed up with NBA and how it went from sport to entertainment with the stars getting special treatment, players could take 5 steps and it still wasn’t traveling etc. and now couldn’t even name the starting 5 on my hometown team. Same with MLB, when they refused to crack down on use of steroids and let legit stats get broken by the likes of steroid users. This past 2 weeks has got me looking soooo much different at the NFL and to be truthful, I don’t like the feeling. I have bled football but am so disgusted that I start questioning my future interest in it. Thanks NFL and Roger Goodell !

  14. One thing that’s really odd about all of this is that no one is pointing the finger at the legal system. Why aren’t we concerned over their handling of this case? We criticize a private business and how they dealt with an employee, but not the state’s prosecution, where real justice should have been delivered? It’s backwards. As a private enterprise, the NFL’s only true obligation in all of this is to maintain a positive public image and they reacted accordingly. Ray Rice received very rare treatment in court. That must be Goodell’s fault, too. Again, it’s just backwards.

  15. I don’t side with those that are “tired” of all the coverage. I find it fascinating to watch a group of folks who are typically accustomed to getting their way and hold incredible power squirm under intense scrutiny because it shows……people are people.

    When a $43 million CEO dances around very simple questions as “why wouldn’t you obtain the video?” or “if you did have the video…why wouldn’t you watch it?”

    Clearly Biscotti and Goodell shared a nice gentlemen’s agreement that would ostensibly allow Goodell to save face by being the continued hammer while Biscotti would get his boy back while also quelling public sentiment by being suspended a few games.

    I love the NFL and will continue to watch it with fervor and zeal. But all Goodell would have to do is simply resign to make this ALL go away. Just resign. That’s it. Nothing else. EVERYONE would be pleased by that….except the owners…which is why it’ll continue folks.

  16. Goodell is too smart a guy to not realize this issue so trying to defend it only makes him and the league look worse…..

    Thank goodness for college football……

    No NFL Package for me this year, I will not attend any games.

  17. Perhaps we should simply eliminate the judicial system and let the press and the employers dispense justice. Every time an employee commits a crime, replace the ceo and owner.

  18. I actually do agree with the commish” Its one thing to step aside its another to say ya I’ll turn the power over to whomever and go by what they find.

    No way. Step aside yes but make everyone know, your the boss until the owners say you aren’t the boss and keep the power in your hands. Otherwise it does become a circus. The next time the time after all they will do is ask you to get out of the way.

    The commissoner is not there to get out of the way for the union.

  19. The amazing thing to me is..Goodell and the owners are one. The public outcry at Goodell is transferred to the owners and right now they look just as bad in this mess as him. They hired him…they can fire him..And not to fire him means the blame goes back to them. Maybe we as fans should make that point to the owners of the teams that we support. Call the office. Forget Goodell go to the head of the snake.

  20. truthfactory says:
    Sep 20, 2014 9:50 AM
    At this point, there is nothing the NFL or Goodell could do right in the media’s eyes. I heard so many people say that his press conference wasn’t good enough yesterday. Really?? What did you want him to say? Literally, please tell me what he should have said…

    __________________________________

    It’s simple: “I was grossly negligent in my perspective, view and appropriate understanding of the grave consequences and dynamics of domestic assault. I was not forthcoming to the public but above all to myself in wanting to honestly and genuinely know the details of the Rice assault case. I lied to myself and have continued to perpetuate a campaign of misinformation and half-truths in an effort to obfuscate the dire reality of the situation. I AM WRONG. We reacted to the reactions not acting from the actions. Due to my gross negligence I will be assuming a one-year suspension of my duties as NFL Commissioner and will be donating one year’s salary to many domestic abuse charities and organizations. The members of the NFL’s ethics and behavior committee have accepted this one year self-imposed suspension active immediately. I am deeply sorry for the deception, misinformation and mishandling of this event and hope to regain the trust of the public in time. Thank you.”

    THAT….is all he would have to say.

  21. The media didn’t start this fire. Roger Goodell did.

    The media is fanning the flames but Goodell and the Ravens keep adding gasoline to it.

    The fire is raging and it’s during an NFL season. When the owners see that yesterday’s press conference didn’t “fix” it Roger’s head will roll.

  22. Just wait until these same stories happen in College Football. The next story (only amount of time before something happens similar to NFL) will be interesting. What will the media do then? Chase down the NCAA? What about the NBA? MLB? It goes on and on… the point I am trying to make is that these attacks on Goodell and the NFL should be directed at the PLAYERS who are at fault. Also the women who MIGHT have had something to do with the that took place events etc…

    I’m going to say this bluntly… there is a witch hunt going on all over this country. I feel bad for the victims, of course. Yet, somehow the media has fallen for the trap set by some other regulators in this country (take a wild guess). They would rather discuss child abuse, spouse abuse etc… than the actual topics they were chosen/hired to report on which is sports!! The games!! The athletes (you know the OTHER 99%) who have done absolutely nothing wrong. So a few bad apples are NOW MORE IMPORTANT?

    When there is smoke there is usually a fire… follow the smoke people… it leads to a BIG WHITE HOUSE in Washington DC. Seems to me they have set the trap and a whole lot of media have taken the bait.

  23. ANYONE that the NFL hires to investigate will be paid a considerable amount of money by the NFL to complete the investigation and would be crazy NOT to have “aspiration for any future connection to the NFL” so by Florio’s own argument, there is no one on the planet that can provide a truly independent investigation.

    Anyone want to talk about the games this weekend?!?!?

  24. I’m not a Goodell fan at all but the NFL is not the law! Everyone needs to pack up their pitchforks and torches and head over to the DA, judge, and prosecutors office. The fact that these clowns allowed Rice to serve zero prison time is the real problem here. Wake up people! Meanwhile, there is a single mom out there who is getting the book thrown at her by the exact same judge and prosecutor for accidently crossing state lines with her LEGAL firearm. Investigate them and our corrupt legal system! How about that?

  25. The NFL has become a reality show says: Sep 20, 2014 10:30 AM

    One thing that’s really odd about all of this is that no one is pointing the finger at the legal system. Why aren’t we concerned over their handling of this case? </i?

    ___________________________________

    Outside the Lines report:

    "PTI is an unusual result for defendants charged with aggravated assault in the third degree, defense lawyers and New Jersey domestic violence legal advocates say; less than 1 percent of all assault and aggravated assault cases in New Jersey are resolved by PTI, according to data obtained by 'Outside the Lines.'"

    Thankfully PFT and ESPN are, hopefully, leaving no stones unturned. It appears the Ravens were involved from the start to circumvent the legal system to keep the video from seeing the light of day. I would say the legal system is very much under the microscope – although it's Jersey so who knows what will happen. But keep digging. Some crooked law enforcement hacks should pay the price if the Ravens and NFL paid someone off.

  26. georgegsmiller says:

    where there is smoke there is usually a fire… follow the smoke people… it leads to a BIG WHITE HOUSE in Washington DC. Seems to me they have set the trap and a whole lot of media have taken the bait.

    Wrong. The WH wants NOTHING to do with this which is why there hasn’t been a peep out of Holder and his Stazi group. Why? Because they want to push “victimization” but instead these folks (Rice, Peterson) are the TARGETS due to their own doing. That’s why there won’t be word from the WH about this. Doesn’t fit their political cutout.

  27. There’s just too many people here who just don’t get it.

    This is bigger than Ray Rice.

    Just as in Watergate where the cover up was bigger than the break in, Roger Gooddell and the Ravens manipulated the legal system and have systematically LIED to the public and the media, which is a MUCH bigger issue.

    Yes, we all want to see our games on Sunday, but if the NFL can’t be trusted with the truth, then how are we all going to have faith that the game itself isn’t rigged?

  28. magicmtndan says:
    Sep 20, 2014 10:43 AM

    The media didn’t start this fire. Roger Goodell did.

    The media is fanning the flames but Goodell and the Ravens keep adding gasoline to it.

    The fire is raging and it’s during an NFL season. When the owners see that yesterday’s press conference didn’t “fix” it Roger’s head will roll.
    ====================

    What exactly did Goodell do wrong? He said he did wrong and changed the ruling. Tell me genius, what is the players union doing about all this? Its their players that committed these acts… And yes, the liberal media has driven this story way beyond what it should just like the REDSKINS phony name story Liberal fools!!

  29. I don’t get it. I watched the whole new conference live and then again on NFL Network. I thought the commish did a pretty good job of how they plan on dealing with things from here on out. I’m glad they are going over everything and won’t have everything set in stone for several months. My biggest worry was that he’d come out and try to placate the red meat media by going way over board. Instead they have a process that they are working on involving many moving parts.

    Then when it’s over the media went nuts. Crying that these guys or anyone in the future should automatically be gone. Zero tolerance even if you never committed a crime prior. They are out for blood and want results now! They were going nuts on things Roger answered. It was like they skipped the press conference and just piggy backed the loudest mouths even though a good amount of it was total nonsense.

    Straight up. I believe in Unions. They serve a purpose for the players best interest. That’s why I found it absolutely insane when some Democrats were saying Roger could and should ban players as a private business has the right too. I sat there thinking, “Do you not know the players union is trying to reinstate Ray Rice and that they will always advocate for the players. It’s their job!”

    The whole World is going nuts. Pretty soon we’ll be stoning people to death instead of trying to find a best solution to the problem.

  30. justafan2014 says:
    Sep 20, 2014 10:57 AM
    Really? These people throwing stones at the nfl should look in the mirror. How credible are you?

    ——————————————————-

    As credible as you are for believing you hold some kind of authority to make that comment. Either you hold no authority to make that comment or “somehow” (and those in the know know what this means) you have some kind of authority that is now just being misguided.

  31. When there is smoke there is usually a fire… follow the smoke people… it leads to a BIG WHITE HOUSE in Washington DC. Seems to me they have set the trap and a whole lot of media have taken the bait.
    ————————-
    So what your saying is that it’s Obama’s fault. lol
    Take off the tinfoil hat.

    If you are talking about the few people in Congress that are inserting their opinions and the like, you might have a point. However, politicians didn’t jump in until several days of 24/7 cable news…

  32. Choosing former FBI director Robert Mueller, whose law firm represented the NFL in its negotiation with DirecTV regarding the renewal of the Sunday Ticket package…and then choosing two NFL owners to “oversee” the investigation, leads one to think Goodell hasn’t quite mastered the definition of “independent” yet, aside from his other numerous missteps.

  33. This whole thing is over the top. It’s crazy. I realize the media is driven by page clicks and this story is getting them, but please stop.

    The NFL is a private company, it has no stock holders, it also has no real importance in the public sphere (meaning the general public’s saftey/well being). Im curious as to why this site and many of it’s reader’s feel they are entitled to an explanation? You’re not. This is an entertainment industry. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to watch and no one is forcing you to buy merchandise.

    Who does this site think Goodell (the commish of this PRIVATE entity) should hire? Someone with less experiance/integrity, someone who might be out to make a name for themselves. Im sure Florio and the crew here would love the job, that would be fair and balanced (eyes rolling). They hired someone who works for someone they’ve previously worked with…..of course they did. And again…..no one here is entitled to a voice in this, and you don’t have to watch if you don’t like it.

    This site is waging some sort of vendetta against Goodell and it’s armed with 20/20 hindsight. The NFL, after it started taking discipline more serious a few years back, has punished players for DV offenses in a manner that reflected our society’s general attitudes. There have been many domestic violence occurrences in the past and no one ever made a big deal about the punishments. The difference is that this time there was a tape that the media can exploit for page clicks. Acting like Goodell should have known that the public would become super sensitive to DV all of the sudden, while simultaneously forgetting the failures of our criminal justice system, is just silly.

    Don’t forget, if you don’t like it you don’t have to watch because Goodell and the NFL don’t owe you anything.

  34. Its’ just amazing how many time this clown can totally screw things up, and still keep his job, paying him almost a million dollar per week.
    And now it’s favorite sons who get protected, while other folks get the fickle finger of fate.

    The NFL is another version of the “good ole boy network” and truthfulness, morals, ethics or justice is obviously not part of the equation.

    Just like those IDIOTS in DC

  35. Mueller: I’ve discovered that the commissioner is lying.

    Mara: No, you didn’t.

    Rooney: No, you didn’t. The commissioner is honest and fair.

    Mueller: After extensive investigation, I conclude that the commissioner is honest and fair and above reproach.

  36. What the Commissioner coud do to satisfy everyone is answer the inquiries honestly. The NFL’s security department employs former federal law enforcement officers, and the league’s legal team includes lawyers who’ve argued complex cases before the highest courts. But we’re supposed to believe the NFL, with all these experienced lawyers and law-enforcement officers, thought they weren’t allowed to ask a casino for the Rice security footage? They’re covering up. And you don’t cover up unless you know you’ve done something wrong.

    Since becoming commissioner, Goodell has taken universal power to pass judgment over players’ off-field conduct, over how players tackle during games, over officiating, even over what players say to each other in the heat of the moment on field (see Colin Kaepernick). He’s changed the way the game is played. The owners have gotten richer. But has the game improved? Is its future secured? Not necessarily. That’s why Goodell deserves to be on the hot seat.

  37. It is clear that Goodell has a great admiration for George W. Bush.

    The next couple of scandals that haven’t even surfaced yet will practically bankrupt the NFL.

    Following the w. model, he still won’t resign and get the strongest votes of confidence from Zygi Wilf, Jimmy Haslam, Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder, Dean Spanos, and his BFF’s Mara and Kraft (in an attempt to not look like hypocrites. Haslam will be particularly supportive.

  38. Summation of Goodell’s last two days of public speaking after hiding for two weeks.. “Better to have the whole world think you’re a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!”

  39. It’s early. There will be a whole lot more of defense on this investigation. Why even call it independent?

  40. Well I would defend the Mueller investigation also. The $44M dollars the owners give Goodell makes protecting the shield an absolute must without any focus on veracity.

  41. This investigation isn’t being run by the media. The man answers to the owners. Why wouldn’t he report his findings honestly?

    Time to move on.

  42. Does anyone know the definition of an independent investigation? Anyone? Anyone? Mueller?

    Somebody or more is going to take the hit for this. The question is who?
    Mike Jones

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