Commissioner Roger Goodell usually speaks at the end of the NFL’s quarterly meetings. This time, he spoke at the conclusion of the first day of the two-day session.
Goodell was peppered with several questions about the Washington Football Team investigation, and the NFL’s ongoing refusal to disclose information about the findings made by attorney Beth Wilkinson.
Goodell reiterated the longstanding party line that, because some of the current or former WFT employees who came forward requested anonymity, no information will be provided. That continues to be a nonsensical position. They can easily redact the names of the people who want anonymity.
Also, certain aspects of the investigation don’t compromise those who want anonymity, however many (or few) that may be. For example, the investigation uncovered 650,000 emails, some of which were weaponized to take out Raiders coach Jon Gruden. The league has admitted to PFT that those emails fell outside the scope of the investigation. Thus, to the extent that anonymity promised to some current or former employees became the NFL’s stated concern for hiding all information about the investigation, that reasoning DOES NOT APPLY to the 650,000 emails, by the NFL’s own admission.
Put simply, the explanation from the league was and continues to be BS. There’s no other way to put it. Some employees (they’ve never said how many) wanted anonymity, so they bootstrap that into making everything about the investigation secret. They did that for one reason, in my opinion — if specific facts ever come to light about what happened at the WFT over the last decade, it would become untenable for Daniel Snyder to continue to own the team.
Goodell makes $50 million or so per year to peddle these talking points on behalf of the oligarchs who hide behind Big Shield, making the decisions that Goodell then must defend by talking his way through and around whatever questions he may face on the handful of annual occasions that he actually interacts with the media. On Tuesday night, he more than earned his next paycheck by offering up a buffet line of word salads in response to the various questions he faced, for the first time since May.
Goodell’s comments come at a time when the NFL has not yet officially responded to a letter from the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee that seeks a broad array of documents and information about the WFT investigation. Goodell said on Tuesday evening that the league looks forward to working with the Committee. However, neither he nor the league have committed to fully cooperating with the Congressional requests for information.
The league hasn’t committed to full cooperation because the league remains far more committed to doing whatever it can to keep secret any and all information that could take down Snyder, and (more importantly) to ensure that other owners won’t have to worry about workplace allegations morphing into the possible forced sale of the entire workplace.