Former NFL player Joe Horn has never hidden his animosity toward NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and now Horn is drawing an interesting parallel between Goodell and an infamous authoritarian leader.
“Roger Goodell is like the Vladimir f–kin Putin of the NFL,” Horn told SI.com. “You quote me on that shit. Roger Goodell is the Vladimir Putin of the NFL when it comes to players. Putin punks every country when he gets ready to. And there’s no rules when it comes to Putin, and Goodell is the same f–kin way when it comes to players. He sets all the standards.”
Asked whether Goodell would kill Horn — as Putin has reportedly had critics killed — Horn admitted that Goodell might not be quite that bad. But he’s pretty bad, in Horn’s view.
“If they read that quote, they would know that he’s not having people killed and none of the players killed,” Horn said. “But as far as dictatorship, as far as making moves to do what he wants, that’s what Putin does.”
Horn’s tenure in the NFL only overlapped briefly with Goodell’s. Paul Tagliabue was the commissioner for most of Horn’s playing career, including his famous cell phone celebration, which resulted in a $30,000 fine from the NFL. But Horn has become a harsh critic of the league under Goodell’s leadership, and Horn is one of the many former players who has sued the NFL over brain injuries.
Horn is far from the first former player to criticize Goodell, but the Putin comparison is a new one.