Eric Winston apologizes for his shot at Roger Goodell

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NFL Players Association President Eric Winston took a shot at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today, but it didn’t take Winston long to back down.

Shortly after Winston told Tom Curran of that a 2-year-old could do Goodell’s job, Winston issued an apology.

“In a casual conversation with a reporter about the success of the NFL and how nothing seems to get in its way, I inappropriately and flippantly made a remark about the job of Commissioner Goodell,” Winston said in a statement passed along to PFT. “We often disagree on the issues but I want to apologize to Roger for being unprofessional. I am disappointed that my comment was taken out of context and inserted into a column without any knowledge that the conversation was ‘on-the-record.’ I am disappointed that this reporter chose to burn me, but this is an important lesson that I will learn going forward. This is my fault and again, I apologize.”

If Winston didn’t realize that his conversation with Curran was on the record, that’s Winston’s problem, not Curran’s. When a journalist talks to a source, the conversation is presumed on the record unless both parties explicitly agree that it’s off the record. If Winston didn’t want his comments published, he shouldn’t have said anything unless and until he and Curran agreed to keep their conversation off the record. For Winston to complain that Curran “chose to burn me” doesn’t hold much water. Curran asked a question to a source and then published the source’s answer. That’s what reporters do.

The NFLPA walks a fine line when dealing with Goodell: The league is often heavy-handed in its dealings with the players, and when that happens the players need to push back against Goodell. But antagonizing Goodell can be counterproductive for the union. Winston seems to realize that he burned himself with his comments.

88 responses to “Eric Winston apologizes for his shot at Roger Goodell

  1. Right or wrong from a distance it always looks like the nfl is a bungling incompetent with there leaks and amateur detective work. Get it together and be decisive ,clear and consistent. Sean Peyton took it like a man which is more poised than this clown league

  2. Winston: “I apologize, Roger. I accept full responsibility. It was taken out of context (of course) and I got burned, but I accept full responsibility.”

    Way to make it even worse, Winston.

    If you’re going to apologize, own it. Those words came out of YOUR piehole.

  3. Why apologize for telling the truth. Goodell only cares about money. Even Taglibue thinks he stinks.

  4. And reporters wonder why players like lynch don’t want to talk to them. Reporters have two choices when a player says something out of anger. Hold onto the quote, and let the player know he won’t print it, thereby gaining the players trust, and creating a reporter player relationship, OR run with it and print the quote, and the reporter gets their little moment of glory.

  5. I wish, for once, someone would make an intelligent, biting statement with pizzazz (which Winston did), and stand behind it. He feels the need to apologize because his knock was 100% spot on, and it stings. That’s how you know it’s good. All his apology does is reduce the potency of truth, which is a shame.

  6. I think 2 year olds everywhere also deserve an apology

    They could probably do a BETTER job than Goodell

    This guy is ultra-sensitive about the perception of the game, but by over-reacting to Spygate – perpetuating the myth that signal filming doesn’t happen or continue today (yes, that’s why coordinators cover their mouths all you Patriots-haters) to a faux-Bounty gate to now a scandal in which the NFL didn’t do their job but a ball boy DID take a whiz (loss of a 1st round draft pick?) Roger has only CREATED controversy and distrust

    Thanks to him we now have QBs coming forward to describe how long this has been Standard Operating Procedure in the NFL, just like we now know George Halas is the Papa Bear of Spying in the NFL post Spygate

  7. Eric Winston has no idea what he’s talking about.

    A 2-year old could NOT do the commissioner’s job, takes more skill and professionalism than a 2-year old could ever have.

    Now a monkey… a monkey could definitely do the commissioner’s job. 🙂

  8. You act like you’re in a sorority. Curran really needed you to defend his actions? You sound a little sensitive. Get thicker skin. BTW, are you absolutely positive Curran didn’t agree to be off the record? If not, you made a gross assumption. Makes me wonder what kind of journalist you are.

  9. Is it really an apology if follow up with stuff like it was taken out of context and I didn’t know it was on record?

  10. The author of this article should not assume that the conversation between Winston and Curran was ‘on the record’. Winston’s comment about being burned would indicate otherwise, which makes it plausible that Curran was in the wrong. If the facts are unclear, don’t pick a side in your own reporting.

  11. Nobody disputes Goodell needs to make some changes, but Winston has to show a little more tact in his position. Does he not realize his career is over and he may need friends in the NFL front office down the road?

  12. it was totally unprofessional, if the NFLPA wants to talk why dont they do it at the bargaining table. Because they got owned there. i miss the days when the commissioner and the leadership of the NFLPA were not in the public eye and it was about the current players.

  13. yeah what a coward acting like an adult and apologizing for something said out of frustration no matter how true that statement is. how dare he show professionalism

  14. @seahawkz4life: I totally agree with you 100%! I’m also surprised that PFT did not Delete your comment?! I’ll take it a step further! Why in the World, would the Players Appointed Stewart, apologize for true statement?!!! This is the guy you want to represent you, while in “Kangaroo Court?!” That means a “Discipline Hearing” which in itself is Slanted towards the NFL and lousy GOODELL to start with! Show some “BLANKS” Mr. Winston and be the leader your fellow Union Brothers Voted you in for!! LEAD

  15. As President of the NFLPA he should do a better job than that.
    I am not sure how he even got the job, maybe no one else wants it, and he thinks he’s important.

  16. Not sure how a comment like that gets takin out of context. Every 2 year old everywhere just flipped their cereal in disgust though.

  17. First he should have owned what he said and not pulled the “out of context” crap.

    Second why am I not shocked that this site would (with zero evidence) would decide that the reporter was right and everybody else is wrong.

    Really MDS, how do we not know that Winston didn’t tell the reporter that he wanted the things he said kept of the record. And the reporter printed it anyhow and that’s why he felt he got burned but will learn his lesson by not trusting any member of the sleazeball media again.

    That’s my take on what he said, but not shocked a “journalist” would think the media is above reproach.

  18. It seems to me Goodell is very good at negotiating contracts. He got billions from the TV networks. Got a contract for 10 years the players are already griping about, and the owners are making money hand over fist. All of that and it costs each owner a little over a million a year for his salary.

    Maybe the NFLPA should hire a 2 year-old to run things. If the players had someone half as good as Goodell they would be way better off than they are under De Smith.

    The NFL is a cash cow and unless that stops – I don’t see Goodell going anywhere. The commish works for the owners and doesn’t need to be popular with the players, just the owners.

  19. He shouldn’t have (publicly) said what he did even if he was spot-on. But if you’re going to backtrack there’s no need to say it was taken out of context or you feel “burned”.
    1. Say your sorry for what you said.
    2. Say it was unprofessional.
    3. Say it was a lapse in judgement.
    4. Make it CLEAR it won’t happen again.
    5. Make sure it’s sincere or don’t bother at all.

    People can’t even apologize like adults any more.

  20. Curran’s article is awesome. Winston’s comment is irrelevant and meaningless. People should read the column though. I’m confused as to why PFT made Winston’s comment the focal point of the column.

  21. He’s not a coward. Everyone makes mistakes, it takes a real man to admit when he has faulted. A coward would just continue to make irresponsible decisions and act like a child.

  22. I say double down as Browner did. Say, well, geesh, there are some smart 2 yr olds out there! Look, I got a text from him…LOL. If someone has a weakness, you know, we go after it. It’s a game, they understand that!

  23. The NFL is going down the toilet. Flags,flags and more ridiculous flags is making games hard to watch. Stupid ideas like having a team in London is just hogwash. Can we keep anything in the USA anymore? Who the hell cares about a team in London? Certainly free agents wont.
    Screw Roger Goodell and his mishandling of a league Americans love while he takes it down the crapper. All he cares about is money, not if he ruins it for fans.

  24. I am not a fan of Goodell, but Winston comes off like an idiot for that comment about him.

    We all know a 2 year old can’t do Goodell’s job. Maybe a 3 year old, but certainly not a 2 year old.

  25. Somebody made a critical comment and somebody was outraged and here are a bunch of poorly thought out comments about succesfull lawyers and players at the pinnacle of their carrers being compared to animals and/or children.

    I’m outraged, fire everyone!

  26. “Out of context”!! I am so sick of that phrase i want to pull Goodell’s hair out! When are all the jocksniffers going to stop listening to all of these immature, ego maniacal, overpaid, and uneducated goofball athletes?? Without all the hgh and sreroids, these clowns would have a hard time spelling “fries with that”!!!

  27. What hog wash, it is the reporters duty to keep comments in context…..that just about covers things…should leave you speechless….of corse that would leave an honorable reporter speechless …..hummmmm I am sorry that’s an oxymoron…… Lol

  28. What idiot we have on this blog……the context was that nothing seamed to get in the way of the NFL and he said in responses 2 yr old could run it…. And that was and is true Goodall is not responsible for growth or ratings ….a 2 yr old could do the same thing…..that is the context…we all know Goodall is an idiot and it could be applied as the reporter reported it.. But he did report it or of context which is the first rule of professional journalism

  29. And one wonders why Lynch doesn’t talk to the press.

    I am guessing Winston hadn’t yet finished the sentence before Curran had his article 3/4 written to get the instant credit he wants for getting such a scoop with those comments on Godell.

  30. There is a significant number comments here reflecting an attitude that makes one wonder why the poster continues to engage in masochistic torture by watching the NFL.

    Really doesn’t matter who the commish is. He’s gonna catch the wrath of ignorance.

    (for the record… I don’t really care much for Roger, either. Just not gonna defame his work for laughs and giggles like many here)

  31. Nothing to apologize for. He’s 100% right. Carrot Top could negotiate all those deals from the position of power and leverage the NFL enjoys. Goodell is nothing but a stooge. And the every single metric Goodell’s supporters (bootlickers) love to trot out were already trending strongly in that direction long before Goodell ever took over.

    I lost respect for Winston with that apology. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Goodell has already permanently lost the support of the entire player base anyway. They all hate him. He did it to himself.

  32. When you are at the end of your career and getting a job as a player is difficult and made worse due to being union president, shooting your mouth off at the Commish isn’t the way to extend your career – especially when you are a free agent looking for another contract and getting the last gig took much, much longer than you’d expect given his experience and talent.

    Whereas not shooting your mouth off would have been preferred, an apology was the only recourse… if he wants to play next year as was stated in this site just a little bit below.

  33. Outside of his family only 32 rich greedy people like Goodell. He is a blood sucking lawyer who has ruined the game I love. Please resign already and hire a football guy whose nuts have not fallen off for a paycheck. What happened to good ol football? The jacked up segment? Roger no nuts Goodell and 32 greedy owners happened. He is the NFL owner’s eunuch and the owners charge more for a watered down version of the product.

  34. Not to defend Winston, but journalists know all the rules about being on the record. Most other people don’t. Show me one journalist who didn’t try to take advantage of that.

    Oh yea, Winston is also an idiot for many reasons beyond this incident.

  35. Winston’s apology might actually carry some weight if that GQ piece was never published. The fact of the matter is Winston burned himself. Unless ground rules were established (which they weren’t), he should’ve known that there’d be a chance that his words would be used in an article. It’s not like he’s a rookie. He’s an NFL vet & the NFLPA president. If he hasn’t figured out how he wants to conduct himself w/ media present, perhaps he should minimize his interactions with the media. Say what you want about Curran & the ethics involved, but that comment came out of Winston’s mouth and he either shouldn’t have said it or made it clear that it was off the record.

  36. What I’m failing to understand is how “A 2 year-old could do his job” could possibly, remotely, undeniably get taken out of context. This is not a grey area, he categorically said, right or wrong, that a 2 year-old could do his job. The only way it’s taken out of context is if he really meant a 1year-old could do his job because obviously a 3 year-old would do it better.

    Out of context excuses are not apologies, by the way.

  37. Everybody hates Goodell, fines, punishments, officiating, uniforms and the media, yet they keep watching, surfing blogs,going to the games and buying the merchandise. Apparently business is good for the sucky Commish and “joke” of a league.

  38. It’s pretty common knowledge that if you’re going to talk to a reporter, you better tell them it’s off the record or not. If said reporter says no don’t say anything. If you do you better own it when it’s printed.

    You cannot trust someone to keep things off the record whose job it is to print what you say unless you have that agreement. Pretty simple.

  39. All of you complaining about the writer, have no idea who Tom Curran is.

    He is a solid football writer, and a pretty good guy, the type of old-school writer who would hear a response like this, and ask “are you SURE you want to say this???”

    If Curran wrote it, this guy knew what he was saying

  40. The outcry over the job by Greedell is a bit misguided. Fans should be outraged with the 32 owners that love him and the job he does. These 32 men evidently care about money and NOTHING else, that’s why they employ Greedell. The guy lacks all sense of honor and integrity. He’s a soulless vacuum with 2 dollar signs for eyes. Just like the low-life owners hiding behind the curtain.

  41. I would take the commish and his staff over the corrupt slime that runs through Fifa any day. The NFL has its problems but nothing compared to the lies that is spluttered out of Sepp Blatter the puppet that keeps getting voted in by his cronies.

  42. It’s also Curran’s responsibility to write with integrity.

    Good job on Winston’s part. Everyone knows Goodell is a clown, but in Winston’s position, name-calling is unprofessional.

  43. Goodell’s actions speak so much louder than Winston’s words. Sometime you don’t have to say anything because Goodell always shows his incompetence.

  44. It’s true, technology is the reason the NFL blew up. Watching every game on tv. Gambling. Fantasy. A chimpanzee can run the NFL and print money.

  45. broncofaninfla45 says:
    Jan 31, 2015 1:17 PM

    No surprise he’s a Seahawk, that organization clearly lacks class.

    5 years with the Texans
    1 year with the chiefs
    1 year with the Cardinals
    A month of preseason with the Seahawks
    Currently signed with the Bengals

    What’s interesting is that PFT chose a picture of him in a Seahawk uniform.

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