Goodell Says He Thinks League Emerged Mostly Unscathed from Controversial Offseason
INDIANAPOLIS--NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said as the new season got under way here tonight that he believes the league emerged from its turbulent offseason, filled with controversies that included Goodell's crackdown on player misconduct, with its reputation basically intact.
"In talking to fans, in talking to our business partners, I think people believe we dealt with this responsibly," Goodell said at the RCA Dome shortly before the Indianapolis Colts played the New Orleans Saints in the NFL's season-opening game. "We let the process play itself out. I think the NFL will come through it pretty well."
Goodell had his one-year anniversary on the job Sept. 1, and has received high marks from many people inside and outside the league for his aggressive handling of the conduct issue. He issued a toughened conduct policy in April and imposed a series of lengthy suspensions. He suspended Michael Vick indefinitely hours after the Atlanta Falcons quarterback entered a guilty plea in a federal court in Richmond in his dogfighting case.
Goodell met with players and secured the support of the NFL Players Association before revising the conduct policy, and he said tonight he thinks most players remain supportive of his actions.
"The players were very involved," Goodell said. "I think we've been responsible in our actions."
He attended the downtown concert here this evening that preceded the game, and said he thinks the public is eager for the focus to return to the NFL's on-field product.
"Absolutely," Goodell said. "I was out there among the 100,000 who are here for this, and all they want to do is talk about football."
By Mark Maske |
September 6, 2007; 9:01 PM ET
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