As explained last week, Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to testify before the House Oversight Committee potentially will open a Pandora’s Box of potential questions. Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) threw that box open on Wednesday, pivoting from a history of workplace misconduct in Washington to the six-figure fine imposed recently by Commanders coach Ron Rivera on defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio for comments he made regarding the events of January 6, 2021.
Jordan asked Goodell whether he agrees with the fine. Goodell initially provided a non-answer, as he often does in a press-conference setting (frankly). Jordan then pressed him for a yes or a no, which rarely happens in a press-conference setting. Goodell still resisted.
“I don’t think it’s my position to say whether it was a correct decision or not,” Goodell said.
Jordan thereafter read a quote from Goodell in 2019.
“We the National Football League encourages all to speak out and peacefully protest,” Jordan said. “Did you really mean that when you said it that Mr. Goodell?”
“Yes,” Goodell said. “I think people are always responsible for what they say and what they do. But yes.”
“And when you said you encourage all to speak you, you mean all, not just some?” Jordan said.
“That’s correct, Congressman, but you’re responsible for what you say,” Goodell said. “There are consequences for what you do and say in life.”
That’s an interesting comment from Goodell. And a revealing one, as it relates to the shunning of Colin Kaepernick.
Translation: He’s free to say whatever he wants, but there are consequences for what you do and say.
Whether it’s Del Rio or Kaepernick or anyone else, Goodell saying in one breath that people are encouraged to speak out and peacefully protest and in the next breath that there are consequences for what you say and do undermines the encouragement. Depending on the consequences, it potentially makes supposed encouragement into, as a practical matter, discouragement.