On Monday, Peter King quoted Roger Goodell as saying:
“The one thing I take a little bit of issue with is when guys tell me they’re being screwed,” Goodell said. “[Most often] they’re not recognizing they have a role in it.” Regarding Roethlisberger, Goodell said when he was investigating what to do with the quarterback, he talked to “I bet two dozen [Steeler] players … Not one, not a single player, went to his defense. It wasn’t personal in a sense, but all kinds of stories like, ‘He won’t sign my jersey.’ ”
Monday night, King tweeted an “important clarification on the Goodell comments on Roethlisberger” and added, “I regret my error.”
Turns out, Goodell didn’t talk to two dozen Steelers players, none of whom came to Ben’s defense. Goodell talked to two dozen NFL players — non-Steelers — before handing down his six-game suspension.
King’s error — adding “[Steelers]” to the original quote isn’t the issue here. It was an honest mistake, King owned up to it, and in the scheme of things, it doesn’t change the fact that Goodell’s actions continue to reinforce the notion among a lot of us that his interests (and those of his constituents — the owners) aren’t in the long-term best interests of players and fans.
It doesn’t matter who Goodell talked to — Steelers players, players of the other 31 NFL teams, ball boys, Marshall Faulk — the problem is that he spoke publicly about it at all.
Virginia Montanez had the best take on this anywhere and basically it comes down to this:
My issue isn’t whether or not this is true. I’m 99% sure it’s true. Even if thirty Steelers players go to media day tomorrow and claim it isn’t true, let’s be real — There’s no reason for Goodell to lie about this, but the team has lots of reasons to lie about it, especially leading up to the biggest game of the season when team cohesion is vital.
Benny is/was a well-documented jerk, and I’m not surprised his team was fed up with his shenanigans at the time the suspension was being handed down.
My issue is that the whole quote, the timing of it, the fact that he dared to say it on the record? Reeks of douchebaggery and asshattery and flat out giant-assholeism.
That’s the thing. What’s the upside here? Pretty sure you can’t make Ben look like a bigger douchebag. And I can’t imagine Goodell restating the obvious will serve as a deterrent for other players, which, really, should be his primary concern, right? So again: why do it?
Rog: Seriously. You’re not going to sign my Big Ben jersey?
Ben: Read the shirt, dude. No. By the way, you have it on backwards.
While I don’t fault Peter King for the mistake, I do wish that somebody — anybody — would have their balls drop prior to interviewing Goodell. Newsflash: he’s not the president, or royalty or above in-his-face criticism.
One thing King did point out during a Monday interview with Mike Florio is that Goodell knows that “he’s not the smartest guy in the room,” while making a larger point about how the commissioner values hard work. This is something I think we can all get behind. No matter the room, there’s no way Goodell’s the smartest guy in it.