Even though Robert Mathis pretty clearly thinks I'm a schmuck (and most of my friends and family would probably agree with him), I think it's safe to say that, right now, he might view me in a slightly better light than he does NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Robert used Twitter to express this just a few moments ago:
RobertMathis98 I know you can never take business personal but i think its safe to say that Goodell has totally lost his players during this whole process.
Mike Florio at PFT suggested, back on May 4th, that the longer this lockout lingers on (and, right now, this is the longest work stoppage in NFL history) the more lasting damage it will do to Goodell's legacy.
Goodell has said that he is the Commissioner of every football constituency, but not many fans believe that. Most regard the Commissioner as the representative of the owners. Though he tries to be a guardian of the game, he doesn’t seem to be inclined to guard it from the damage that the owners may be doing to it. And given that his predecessor, who guided the league from labor uncertainty into years of peace and prosperity, will be getting into Canton only as a visitor, Goodell legitimately should be worried about whether the achievement of his lifelong goal of becoming the Commissioner of the NFL will translate into the immortality that comes with having a bust in the Hall of Fame.To get there, Goodell needs to be the one who fixes the current mess, sooner rather than later. Currently, he’s coming off as a bystander at best, the owners’ hatchet man at worst.
These words seem to echo what Robert is generally getting at in his Tweets, where he sometimes uses the has #typicalGOODELL when retweeting or responding to something Goodell says or does that doesn't rub Robert the right way.
Personally, I agree with both Robert and Mike, and only in this odd, deranged, seemingly wacky universe where a successful, multi-billion dollar business like the NFL could have a work stoppage can we have a point in time when Robert Mathis, Mike Florio, and Brad (BBS) Wells all agree on something.
I spoke to several NFL people during the NFL Draft, and off-the-record many of these folks expressed serious concerns over how much of a 'hit' Goodell has taken during this lockout. In fairness to Goodell (who I think is a genuinely decent guy), he's merely the 'front man.' Blaming him for this lockout is like blaming the Wall Street crash and bailout solely on Bernie Madoff. Madoff was just a face we all associate with corruption, greed, and cynical arrogance, just as Goodell is merely the face for the owners'... well, for their corruption, greed, and cynical arrogance.
In the end, it's the owners collectively who wanted this lockout, not Roger Goodell. As my colleague Jason Brewer often says, Goodell is simply the voice of 32 other people. Blaming him solely for this is like saying DeMaurice Smith is solely responsible for the players walking away from the deal the owners presented to him back in March. Smith, like Goodell, is merely the front man. If Smith didn't want the deal, and instead felt de-certification and litigation were the best options, then so did people like Jeff Saturday and Peyton Manning.
Jeff Saturday has championed the NFLPA*'s strategy since the beginning, and Peyton Manning's name is on the anti-trust lawsuit the players were victorious one in federal court.
Back to the owners, it's important for all of us to remember that one of the people who is for all this lockout is Jim Irsay. It really pains me to see him going along with this silly and unnecessary strategy of preventing the players from doing their job. When it's all said and done, it's Irsay (and his 31 other buddies) that are taking football from us. Not Roger Goodell.
Robert Mathis touched on this recently with this rather funny Tweet:
As fans, what we all want is for the lockout to be lifted, an agreement to be reached, and football to be played. If the owners are willing to sacrifice off-season activities and preseason games because they want to fill their already overloaded coffers with more money at the expense of the players, then football will die and a significant percentage of the viewing audience will give owners like Jim Irsay the middle finger and say 'Seeya!'
I don't want to see that. Mike Florio doesn't want to see that. I'm fairly certain Robert Mathis doesn't want to see that.
Jim Irsay, Roger Goodell, and the rest of the NFL owners? I'm starting to think they don't care. It seems it's all about the Benjamins for them, and they might just be stupid enough to tear this whole thing down just so they can add more money to their already swelled bank accounts.