Roger Goodell downplays report that Daniel Snyder interfered with investigation of Washington Football Team

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The Washington Post coincidentally (or not) timed the publication of its latest bombshell regarding Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder to land one day before the NFL’s quarterly ownership meeting. Which means it also landed one day before the next press conference held by Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has claimed that he is available to the media almost every day but who is as a practical matter available roughly 5-7 days per year, at most.

Inevitably asked about the report that Snyder attempted to interfere with attorney Beth Wilkinson’s investigation, Goodell downplayed the accusations.

“I haven’t read the story, but you know we went through a very lengthy period of investigation and discussions,” Goodell told reporters. “The one thing I can say with 100 percent assurance is that it didn’t interfere with the work that our investigator did. We were able to access all the people that she wanted to access, have multiple conversations with those people. There’s always a little bit of a tug and a pull particularly of lawyers and law firms. That’s something that I think we were able to overcome and make sure that we came to the right conclusion.”

But why was there tug and pull? Who was tugging? Who was pulling? It’s one thing for witnesses to be reluctant to speak. It’s quite another for Snyder to be reluctant to have them speak. He pledged full cooperation with the investigation; any effort to limit or shape the information gathered necessarily shows that Snyder was far more interested in engineering a desired outcome than letting the truth come to light, whatever it may be.

While Goodell is surely busy, how and why didn’t he take the time to read a report from the newspaper of record in the nation’s capital accusing Snyder of trying to interfere with the probe? Maybe Goodell already knew the facts. Maybe he didn’t want to know them. Regardless, claiming willful ignorance of such an important story is a bad look.

Then again, it’s better if Goodell can say he doesn’t know what’s in the report. That way, he doesn’t have to deal with the substance of it. That way, he can serve most effectively as a $65 million per year pin cushion for the owners. That way, he can offer up nonsensical suggestions that exonerate any potential attempts by Snyder to interfere with the investigation by saying “it didn’t interfere” (“it,” as in the attempted interference) with the probe.

Here’s the reality, given the recent Washington Post report. If Wilkinson had generated a written report, it likely would have included a section about efforts by Snyder to obstruct the probe. And that would have made it even harder for Snyder to keep the team, if all relevant facts and findings had been reduced to writing for public consumption.

We’ve long believed that, by protecting Snyder, the American oligarchs protected themselves from similar entanglements in the future. That said, there’s also a chance the league office is protecting itself from another Ray Rice-style scandal regarding questions as to what the league knew, when the league knew it, and why the league waited so long to do anything about it. What if WFT employees, with no viable mechanism for reporting misconduct to the team, reported it to the league office? What if the evidence of wrongdoing was so pervasive and consistent that there’s no way the league didn’t know about it?

Last week, former NFL employee Mike Silver candidly admitted that the Rice scandal created a sense within the building that it could take down the whole operation. Maybe, just maybe, the over-the-top effort to conceal the truth as to Snyder and the Washington Football Team flows in part from an effort to prevent calls for accountability, and ultimately dramatic change, at the upper reaches of 345 Park Avenue.

47 responses to “Roger Goodell downplays report that Daniel Snyder interfered with investigation of Washington Football Team

  1. So many scandals in sports, F1 and NFL most recently. Sad for viewers who dedicate time and money following these sports.

  2. This is why he makes $65 million. Everyone jumps and down and points at him. The people giving the orders watch as you take the arrows. I may not think the world of him but I’m not dumb enough to think his replacement would be better. Saying he didn’t read the report is just parsing words. Someone in his office has surely provided him the bullet points and tone of article. And he likely knew all of it already. I would bet Roger and most of the owners would love Snyder gone. But the precedent is an issue and so is the possibility the other owners fearing that Snyder would try to take the league down if he was pushed out as owner.

  3. No telling how deep the shenanigans run with these guys. Maybe a subpoena from Congress will get their attention..

  4. All Roger has to do in order to get anybody of his back is to make up a scandal involving the Patriot’s. It worked for him with the Ray Rice scandal and that will always be the playbook to get the media and fans off his back! HE has you all fooled but you don’t know it!

  5. Since when does an “investigation” into someone done by one of their underlings have any validity anyways?

    I’m SHOCKED Fraudger Goodell has nothing but nice things to say about his boss!

  6. Look at what Daniel Snyder has done in 20 years. He’s destroyed a franchise. There was a waiting list for season tickets when he became owner. Generations had bought into the team where father passed along season tickets to his son. Those days are done. There is no good reason for the NFL to encourage this disaster. It isn’t good for business. Then consider that he’s also scum in the workplace when it comes to women…. And he employs scum who prey upon said employees.

  7. Expect no revelations or truth from Goodell and you will see him for what he is. A very well compensated head of BS for the NFL. Not much more, not much less.

  8. This investigation is over. Jon Gruden was behind it all and we got him. We need to move on, theres nothing more to see here. – Roger Goodell

  9. Fun facts about Goodell.
    He’s not a lawyer, just the best yes man ever created.
    His dad was a principled senator from NY, and got his political career torpedoed taking an anti war stance about Vietnam.
    Goodell is just making sure he’s on the side of money, and it has served him better than pops.

  10. This is very difficult to look at:. I know this is going to sound terribly selfish, and it is. On one hand you really want the truth to come out, but if it means the whole thing falls apart? Can it all be that fragile? And if it is, should it stay, knowing if the league falls, whatever replaces it will have the same people in positions of power. What a mess.

  11. NBA has one team leading the way reducing capacity of the crowd by 50 % but we know old money bags
    Goodell put’s money way above public safety .

  12. Good, maybe he can finally lose his job, as well – product steadily diminishes every year while profits go up. It’s like paying $6.00 for a Big Mac that’s 2/3rd the size.

    He’s into letting sports betting in, but not into full time refs who are more easily accountable. Also, let’s expand the league without working with our Free minor league/college football on making QB’s NFL ready. This guy is horrible for people that love football at all levels

  13. Snyder just built a $100M yacht. Maybe him, Goodell and Urban Meyer should all take a cruise. A long one. A permanent one.

  14. I think that right now Jon Gruden is the wild card, the rest of this stuff is fluff. It is evident that his emails were not a part of the NDA.

    Think about it, Jon has made enough money from coaching/announcing/commercials/TV Spots/coaching that he can tell the NFL where to go. His lawsuit is for “Character assassination”, what if he decides to talk?

  15. I don’t give much credibility to anything published in the Washington Post. Everyone there thinks they’re the reincarnation of Woodward and Bernstein. Wishing all the readers of this NFL blog a healthy Christmas season that carries into a New Year where I hope the World returns to normal.

  16. “dramatic change, at the upper reaches of 345 Park Avenue.”
    Indeed, only Goodell’s head on a plate will end the crooked, arbitrary, inconsistent, and unfair insider operations of the NFL. Owners should hire Belichick on a one-month assignmnet to go to NY and exterminate the rats.

  17. Isn’t multiple attempts at obstruction 100% proof of guilt even if Goodell did an end-run around his attenpts to do so?!

    How is Goodell saying there’s nothing to see here?!

  18. Goodell is going to find out what many before him have experienced , coverups ultimately can do more damage then the wrongdoing they were attempting to hide . With an election year looming have a feeling publicity hungry politicians are going to make sure this doesn’t blow over .

  19. Mike, we need you to go harder on this. More articles and more attention. Snyder needs to go. – 40+ year Washington Fan

  20. I would have expected him to NOT say this…. I mean really… He’s behind most of this because he wants Snyder out and his buddy Jeff in…. that’s all this is about. If I’m Snyder [and I think he’s a terrible owner] I’d be hiring an arsenal of lawyers to sue the NFL.

  21. jonathankrobinson424 says:
    December 15, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    Rodger is in his natural environment isn’t he? He is a lawyer.

    He is not a lawyer, he is a marketing guy. The vast majority of commissioners are lawyers with Roger being the exception.

  22. Follow the stench. This whole Washington thing might just be a two fer deal waiting to happen! If we can get rid of Goodhell and Snyder, the league will be better off!

  23. I was too young to care about such things before Snyder bought the team. But it’s still obvious that he has single handedly turned it into a cesspool of dysfunction; a perennial also-ran whose entertainment value is as fodder for better teams. And with the kind of Justice I’m used to seeing in this world, we’ll hear one day about Snyder Jr taking over the team after his father died at the age of 96.

  24. Goodell isn’t going anywhere. The fact that he draws so much ire to himself means he’s doing his job, which is making sure that the owners are kept out of the spotlight as much as possible.

    Snyder is being protected because the other owners don’t want to be put in the same situation where their dirty laundry is made public. Roger doesn’t have the authority to take down an owner – Snyder will only go it the other owners decide to need to go.

  25. of course the NFL downplays anything that would harm the owners. That is who they are there for first and foremost.

  26. Roger Goodell is doing exactly what the owner’s want him to do. They pay him handsomely to deflect everything off of the owners. Roger seems like a gigantic piece of excrement, and that is 100% by design.

  27. The more Goodell covers for this punk the less it becomes a Snyder issue and the more it becomes a NFL problem which is bad for the shield.

  28. Goodell works for the owners, the owners don’t work for Goodell. And don’t lose sight of the fact that Snyder implicitly assented to letting Gruden out to dry when it was discovered Gruden had less than flattering things to say about Goodell in those emails which precipitated his dismissal.

  29. The league will continue its inevitable (US) decline since selling themselves to gambling interests. That one simple move eliminated any possibility of transparency in their operations.

    As soon as my team is eliminated, I’m turning off the idiot box.

  30. The NFL is Corporate America. No one should be shocked that Goodell is running as the lead blocker for the people who pay his salary. The NFL will die on this hill. Keep digging.

  31. So he didn’t say there was no interference, he said it didn’t prevent them from completing the investigation.

    If only they applied the pass interference rules the same way.

  32. There is a reason Goodell and the finance committee approved Dan Snyder’s $450 Million debt exemption to buy out the former WFT partners. The NFL is fully aware of all the legal issues, and it MUCH easier to get rid of Dan when he has 100% ownership.

    Welcome Jeff Bezos, and the prime football package.

    – A loving WFT fan

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