On July 20th, the NFL & NFLPA made a joint statement announcing that no new rules regarding the National Anthem would be enforced for the next several weeks. It’s worth noting that the statement references that they are focused on finding solutions and that they don’t intend to elevate it to the point that involves litigation. Their full joint statement can be found HERE.
With this announcement, Roger Goodell and the owners effectively cut off any further drama for the immediate future. Even still it makes the league front office seem indecisive and their public image that much less credible, in my opinion. One could argue until recently that the league was at least keeping their head above water during this. For the most part they used restraint and before any action was taken they took their time before eventually making any decision on how to handle this hot button issue (for better or worse). Yet the NFL is seemingly waffling in front of the NFLPA’s strong, constant position, and as a result, it has made this saga a full blown circus act.
This is no longer about respecting the Anthem or dealing with social inequality. It has now become the centerpiece that has magnified the NFL’s, and ultimately Goodell’s, inability to handle high profile and sensitive situations. They have “fumbled” this situation, one too many times to the point where it has become a complete joke.
My take on this situation? Goodell’s incompetency is in full display yet again. From player/ref CBA lockouts, to inconsistent player suspensions, to now the never ending National Anthem saga has proven Goodell incompetent. He is a commissioner that goes from controversy to controversy. He is the only current commissioner in major pro sports to be surrounded by so much controversy. There are examples of commissioners navigating the sometimes choppy pro waters. Take Adam Silver from the NBA as a perfect example of how to stay out of the spotlight and have the league run smoothly and profitably as much as one could expect.
Goodell has been given multiple opportunities to do the same, and has fallen more than short of public expectations. Even though he is at the start of a new contract I believe the owners must find a way to show him the door despite it for the good of the future of the league.