Roger Goodell keeps defending the indefensible refusal to use redaction of names in the Washington report

Tackling Toxic Workplaces: Examining the NFLs Handling of Workplace Misconduct at the Washington Commanders
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When assessing the NFL’s bogus claim that, in order to protect any current or former Washington Commanders employees who requested anonymity when cooperating with the Beth Wilkinson investigation, all facts and findings must be kept completely and totally secret, we’ve pointed to other situations in which it has been enough to simply redact the names of persons who feared retaliation or unwanted scrutiny.

As it turns out, we didn’t have to look as far afield as we did for examples. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) pointed out during his Wednesday questioning of Commissioner Roger Goodell that redaction was good enough for the league, in the report generated by the Miami bullying scandal involving Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.

“In the case of the Dolphins, my recollection is that no one asked for any confidentiality,” Goodell said.

“They did because their names were redacted,” Raskin pointed out.

“In Washington, not only did they ask for confidentiality, in many case, we also promised them confidentiality,” Goodell said.

“That’s what redaction is for,” Raskin replied.

Goodell, finally caught in a corner, gave this final justification: “Congressman, I promise you, redaction doesn’t always work in my world.”

But it did work with the Dolphins. And Goodell’s recollection is wrong as to whether anyone asked for confidentiality. Here’s the key passage from the Miami report:

“Because of the extraordinary public interest in this matter, the Commissioner made the decision that the full Report as presented to him, without any redactions or modifications, will be released to the public. Accordingly, we attempted to protect the privacy of certain individuals whom we interviewed or wrote about, recognizing that many of them never asked to be dragged into the spotlight. In some cases, witnesses specifically asked that their identities remain confidential — a few even seemed to fear potential retaliation for cooperating with our inquiry—and we honored their requests. The NFLPA was sensitive to the privacy concerns expressed by some witnesses and was helpful in obtaining the necessary cooperation. We hope that by demonstrating sensitivity to issues of privacy and requests for confidentiality, we will encourage witnesses to cooperate with any future investigations by the NFL (unconnected with this matter) that may result in public reports.”

That’s how to strike the balance between secrecy and transparency. That’s how the NFL has done it in the past. That’s the precedent that was genuinely forgotten (at best) or deliberately ignored (at worst) by 345 Park Avenue. (We’d bet the latter.)

The most plausible explanation is that the NFL thinks we’re stupid enough to buy the idea that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed without absolute secrecy. Or that the NFL is stubborn enough (and Goodell is skilled enough) to recite disingenuous talking points with a straight face until the awkward conversation inevitably ends.

It’s nevertheless possible, giving the NFL the benefit of the doubt, that the powers-that-be feared Commanders owner Daniel Snyder would reverse engineer the Wilkinson report in order to figure out the identity of anyone and everyone whose name was redacted from the final report. But if that’s the case — if the NFL reasonably believes that Snyder is so vindictive that he’d devote time and money to figuring out who the anonymous employees were in order to retaliate against them — why haven’t they already taken steps to get rid of him?

46 responses to “Roger Goodell keeps defending the indefensible refusal to use redaction of names in the Washington report

  1. Redaction of names doesn’t always work. There’s pieces of information that only specific people would know and it doesnt take Sherlock Holmes to piece together who the likely person is.

  2. I’m fairly sure out of those 650K emails there’s countless ones that would offend people. The language. But if I’m Goodell I make Congress a deal. Expose all their emails going back to 2011, A trade off. The outcome would be probably a lot of NFL top guys ousted, and at least half of congress. At least half of Congress. I think that’s a fair deal.

  3. Goodell does what the owners want so his defense is only because they don’t want a can of worms to open up against the other owners. Probably also why the Watson thing is being handled how it is, cause after all, there was a certain owner who got caught at a place that gives happy endings…that also just happened to be involved in some not so good trafficking type stuff. Not saying he’s guilty of the latter crimes but it was interesting how his news story all but disappeared and then everything was dropped.

  4. Roger Goodell…the same guy that outed the Gruden emails. Why would he care about redaction unless it affected the financial bottom line of the NFL…and of Roger Goodell?

  5. Apples and oranges.
    Player bulling another player no redaction.
    Owner bulling an employee… no written report.

  6. According to an article in the WaPo Danny hired private investigators to try to dig up dirt on the accusers and discredit them. He apparently has no problem with using a scorched earth policy to hit back…

  7. to mike florio….why aren’t the other league owners trying to get rid of this clown??

  8. The bell tolls for thee, Goodell.

    Article 46 and your cheating does not work outside of 345’s walls..

  9. I am not the biggest fan of this Congress and think that this is a complete and total waste of valuable resources that would be better spent fighting runaway inflation, a pending recession and spiking fuel costs but I must say watching Roger take some jabs from the members of congress is more than a little enjoyable.

  10. Goodell is an employee, who can easily be replaced. If my bosses wanted me to keep my mouth shut, and my salary was $40 million – I could follow those directions.

  11. Roger is about to tell us all that we cant handle the truth. We want him on that wall. We need him on that wall. What a tool.

  12. No doubt Gruden is savoring every minute of Goodall explaining the necessity of protecting someone’s identity.

  13. The League – which is really just 32 people – decided to do it this way and there’s not much that a Congressional committee charged with oversight and reform of the Federal Executive branch and the Municipal affairs of the District of Columbia can do about it.

    And really, does this make any difference – direct, tangible, difference – to how the games are played? No.

    “WFT would be a better team without Snyder!!” That’s a hope, not a fact. There have been plenty of teams that played well with crappy owners and plenty of great owners who fielded crappy teams.

  14. If intelligent, contextual redaction works of classified documents – way more sensitive than an NFL report – it can work in this case. Goodell is rube.

  15. gotitan says:
    June 23, 2022 at 9:46 am
    They haven’t got rid of Danny because he is the boss. Not Roger.
    Danny doesn’t own the NFL he is part of a group of NFL owners with bylaws. An owner has to be voted in to buy an NFL team and an owner can be voted out to force a sale.
    If enough owners vote to get rid of him then he’s gone.

  16. Goodell is earning his paycheck now. Fans will make him the main villain when he is just the messenger. The outrage should be with the owners, Goodell doesn’t control what they do, he just the scapegoat for what they do.

  17. “to mike florio….why aren’t the other league owners trying to get rid of this clown??”

    Because many of the owners likely have skeletons in their closets, so they tend to protect each other, or at the very least, don’t rat on each other.

  18. Goodell is trying very hard not to throw anyone who butters his bread under the bus.

  19. Do you really expect him to do anything BUT defend the good ol’ boys club? I’m sure Bruce Allen and those other bozos emailed LOTS of front office people around the league, the teams know it, he knows it, and so part of his job is to sound like an idiot and defend the indefensible so his bosses don’t end up gutting their front offices due to these emails getting out. It’s his job to fall on the sword for the owners.

  20. I’ve long believed that the NFL was too big to fail and it doesn’t seem that way anymore. House of cards turns out. I still love the game of football but the behavior of the face of the league and the owners is becoming too much to stomach. Hopefully the XFL will actually play a game. Heck, in the fall I watch locally broadcast high school games because it’s a bunch of kids chasing their dreams. I hope my son (4) plays because I love the game and would hate to see it go away, but this is all becoming a little much.

  21. BuckyBadger says:
    June 23, 2022 at 11:04 am
    Goodell is earning his paycheck now. Fans will make him the main villain when he is just the messenger. The outrage should be with the owners, Goodell doesn’t control what they do, he just the scapegoat for what they do.

    161Rate This


    Not an excuse. Nuremberg trials.


    The bell tolls for thee, Rogie. Been a long time coming with the cheating, framing and protecting all the serious crimes, all for the almighty dollar and to keep his job.

    Eliminate Snyder and Goodell. That will be a start.

  22. The NFL is a cesspool of corruption. Workplace intimidation and sexual harassment is a crime. The NFL has evidence proving crimes were committed but is covering it up. I hope Congress uncovers it all and finds a prosecutor with the guts to indict them all.

  23. Nothing is too big to fail. Tech company sun microsystems was valued at $200B at its peak. Much bigger than the nfl

  24. Threaten to take away their anti trust status and they will sing like birds.

  25. Redacting the name does not always work. What if, based on the situation being described, it would be easy to figure out who the person is?

  26. People mad at Dan for waiting so long to change the name and not apologizing on a witch hunt. That and him not wanting to put the new stadium on old RFK site.

  27. In addition to the draft day Goodell boo-fest, it’s time to start throwing tomatoes

  28. Roger better hope that he never finds himself in a criminal proceeding where his brand of weasel lying could have real consequences. Like actually going to jail for perjury, or costing someone else their freedom.
    He thinks he’s protecting people, but it’s really obfuscation.
    His non-answers actually revealed his true nature.

  29. Roger is just stalling while the other 31 owners get all of their houses in order to avoid getting burned by Danny boy on his way out.

  30. Why is it that these rock turning investigations against business are almost always started and led by democrat politicians ??
    Let them figure it out themselves. A waste of taxpayer dollars. Do something productive for the people,… like lowering gas prices in a meaningful way.

  31. The rep who brought up deflategate cracked me up. Goodell clearly wasn’t ready for that subject!

    This hearing didn’t impeded business on other subjects. Members entered, did their 5 minutes, and left. A lot of them were reading notes and questions prepared by staff.

  32. There is an old adage “Don’t ask questions you won’t like the answer too!” Goodall was forced to have the questions asked because of public outcry. He never wanted to get the answers and complete secrecy is his only option to keep an even bigger public outcry from happening!

  33. Unless there was a felony committed and someone is facing jail time for that felony what in the hell is Congress getting involved in civil matters? Move on and conduct taxpayer business

  34. thetooloftools says:
    June 23, 2022 at 12:21 pm
    Threaten to take away their anti trust status and they will sing like birds.
    _______________________________________________the NFl lost anti-trust status in 2010

  35. The Cowboys, Eagles, and Giants have been on a free ride in that division since Snyder became owner. The last thing they want is to have his name permanently redacted as Commander-In-Chief.

  36. As long as the NFL continues to make absurd amounts of money, do the owners really care about any of this? As long as fans, and subsequently sponsors, continue to spend then it’s all water under the bridge for the 32 billionaire owners.

  37. Roger and who knows how many other owners and execs have probably said all kinds of things they don’t want out there.

    This wasn’t an issue when they could control who got burned but they don’t want folks to see their dirty laundry.

  38. My question is…is Jerry Jones hosting parties honoring Danny’s uncomfortable position or is he worried that he might be next 🤔

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