When one of the league’s highest profile players says the NFL commissioner can’t be trusted, it’s definitely a compelling issue.
During a recent interview with SI.com’s Peter King, Drew Brees expressed displeasure with Roger Goodell’s handling of the Saints bounty scandal and stated “nobody trusts him.”
Days later, Brees didn’t exactly back off his stance. The record-breaking quarterback clarified his remarks in an interview with NFL Network’s Marshall Faulk:
“I was asked a direct question: How do players in the league feel about the Commissioner? I’ve talked to many, many players, obviously, I’m on the executive committee of the Player Association. So I talk to a lot of the guys who are involved in the union, and certainly my teammates and others. And I think that there is a general feeling that the players don’t trust the Commissioner.
So I was asked a direct question and I answered it directly and honestly. By no means was I trying to be disrespectful, I was just being honest.”
Roger Goodell isn’t exactly winning brownie points with players around the league. While winning a Mr. Congeniality award isn’t on his things-to-do list as commissioner, it’s alarming that players don’t mind publicly expressing their lack of respect for him.
As we know from our other leaders in sports, striking a balance between being likable, competent, and praise-worthy is not easy.
MLB commish Bud Selig is like your crazy uncle. He is nice but you don’t want him making any significant family decisions. Otherwise, it could lead to the first-ever tie in the All-Star Game or your favorite team playing in flood-like conditions while trying to clinch a World Series at home.
NBA leader David Stern is your dad; an authoritative, tough-skinned figure, who will tell it like it is. He’ll make decisions that hurt your feelings but at day’s end, he has your best interests at heart.
NHL top dog Gary Bettman is your friendly neighbor who you keep at arm’s length; he’s a nice guy and is knowledgeable about technology but you don’t want him overstaying his welcome. In your world, preferably you only talk to him at length once or twice every six months.
Goodell hasn’t quite morphed into any of these three despite presiding over the most popular sport in America since 2006.
Certainly, the aforementioned commissioners waged significant battles and labor strife as well.
Yet, Goodell has struck a negative, distrustful chord with the players…just ask Mr. Brees.