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Thursday, February 10, 2022

OPINION:

Boxing promoter Don King once said, “Hypocrisy is the mother of all evil and racial prejudice is still her favorite child.”

It’s a sad world when Don King speaks more truth than the NFL’s Roger Goodell. But King’s quote nails Goodell and his tenure as commissioner of the league.


It has been a reign that reeks of hypocrisy — particularly when Goodell is forced to address the sins of the league when it comes to the treatment of minorities and women — but the stench has been perfumed by the $15 billion in annual revenue and high ratings in the barren wasteland of network television.

Then there are days like Wednesday, when Goodell was in Los Angeles for his annual Super Bowl press conference, that the NFL boss is at his hypocritical worst.

Here is what he about another pathetic cycle of missed opportunities to add minorities to the ranks of NFL head coaches.

“We want to see Black head coaches in the NFL,” Goodell told reporters. “And coaches of people of color, and eventually gender. That we think is all-important.

“We’re going to talk to other people — have independent people come in and look and help us evaluate it — because it’s sometimes hard to evaluate your own policies and procedures,” Goodell said. “And make sure that we’re doing everything that we possibly can to create that opportunity for everybody to make sure that we are an inclusive league and make sure we get the outcomes that we want.”

He might as well have said I think Kyrie Irving is right — the world is flat — given how likely meaningless this latest address was.

Here was Goodell in 2021, when asked about the league’s woeful coaching hiring practices: “They’re not the outcomes we wanted, and we’re committed more than ever to make sure we do that. We want it to be a natural process. We want it to be a process that is what we believe in diversity is what makes us better, ultimately.”

Here was Goodell in 2020, when asked about the league’s woeful coaching hiring practices: “We have a lot of work that’s gone into not only the Rooney Rule but our policies overall. It’s clear we need to change and do something different. There’s no reason to expect we’re going to have a different outcome next year without those kinds of changes.”

Here was Goodell in 2019, when asked about the league’s woeful coaching hiring practices: “We wanted to figure out how we created a deeper pool of coaches so that they have that opportunity when the coaching opportunity arise … We’re going to focus on those opportunities to create a deeper pool, more experience, give them an opportunity. We believe that is critical to us going forward to make sure we continue to have the progress that we have.”

All meaningless. He might as well have been Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder up there talking about winning.

Women? The same empty promises, the same shameful results.

The New York Times had a report Tuesday from 30 women, all former NFL employees, who described “a stifling, deeply ingrained corporate culture that demoralized some, drove others to quit in frustration and left many feeling brushed aside.

“The women said this culture has persisted despite a promise from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell — made after the 2014 release of a video that showed running back Ray Rice punching his fiancee unconscious — that the league would take a stricter stance on domestic violence and sexual assault and hire more female executives.”

The commissioner has a record of failing to deliver on his pledges and promises — like the one he made in 2020 to conduct an “independent” investigation into the sexual misconduct charges reported in The Washington Post by women who worked for the Commanders franchise. That probe turned out to be a fraud and a coverup, and more allegations were made last week in a roundtable held by the House Committee on Oversight that directly implicate Snyder, resulting in Goodell pledging yet another “independent” investigation.

“We’ll obviously do an investigation,” he said. “We need to understand what really, truly happened.”

Here’s what Goodell told reporters in his 2015 Super Bowl press conference about botching the Rice domestic violence investigation: “We’ve all done a lot of soul-searching, starting with yours truly, and we have taken action.”

Soul-searching? For Goodell, that is a search that must surely be ongoing.

⦁ You can hear Thom Loverro on The Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.

• Thom Loverro can be reached at tloverro@washingtontimes.com.


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