It's apparently Roger Goodell Day over at the Wall Street Journal, because the paper's website currently features three (three!) pieces on the NFL's khaki-faced figurehead—they've got a Very Serious Sitdown Interview, a tick-tock feature that reads like Mark Halperin-penned fanfic, and (for fuck's sake) a Buzzfeed-goes-to-business-school listicle. The ostensible purpose of this coverage is to drum up some good PR for Goodell ahead of today's forthcoming announcement of the league's new personal conduct policy. (Spoiler: it turns out that the league just wasn't strong enough, and that it will now be stronger.) What the Journal has actually done, though, is confirm what's becoming more plainly obvious by the day: Roger Goodell is dumb as a fucking post.
The Journal's big feature on Goodell gives us some behind-the-scenes glimpses at how the commissioner scrambled to amend his bungling of the Ray Rice case. It imagines Goodell not as a sock puppet with a bachelor's degree, but as a clear-eyed head of state, hell-bent on righting the wrongs committed by his administration. Get a load of this shit:
Late into the night on Sept. 10, executives in the NFL conference room brainstormed over ways to prove the commissioner wasn't covering up for Mr. Rice. Pizzas arrived but no slice was taken until Mr. Goodell ate. He never did, and the slices turned cold in the box.
NFL General Counsel Jeffrey Pash suggested an independent investigation run by former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller. "Call him now," Mr. Goodell said, despite the late hour.
Was the call to Mueller placed via a big red phone on the middle of the desk? Oh, and about that desk:
Mr. Goodell sought input from 11 former players. At a three-hour meeting on Sept. 23, former Chicago Bears star Mike Singletary slapped his hand on the NFL shield in the middle of Mr. Goodell's conference table and said: "This means excellence. If a player isn't living up to that standard, he shouldn't be part of the NFL brand."
This is mind-boggling. Roger Goodell is a moderately educated man who is in charge of a sports league. He is not Henry Kissinger. The table in his conference room is not the roundtable of Camelot. What planet are we on?
And yet, despite the Journal's best attempt to turn Roger Goodell into Robert Kennedy navigating the Cuban Missile Crisis, the end of the piece reveals Goodell to be exactly what he is: a dumb guy.
Before a recent Cowboys-Giants game, the NFL commissioner strode the sidelines at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where he got unsolicited advice from the stands. "Bring back Ray Rice," yelled one fan. Another countered: "Stick to your guns!"
"That's what I love about football," Mr. Goodell said. "It brings out passion."
That's the commissioner of the NFL, the man who commands so much respect from his colleagues that they dare not eat pizza before he eats pizza, responding to a reminder of his complete inability to effectively wield his power with some George W. Bush-level obtuseness.
That's what I love about football. It brings out passion. Those are the words a drooling doofus in a Riley Cooper jersey would type into the comments section of a YouTube video showing Raiders and 49ers fans beating the crap out of each other. Those are the words you'd expect to hear from a thick-necked sports-radio yakker trying to mount a defense for Richie Incognito. Those are literally the only words that Mike Ditka can write without the aid of spell check.
That's what I love about football. It brings out passion. Can Roger Goodell see Alaska from his house?