Roger Goodell: Sports’ Worst Commissioner


Photo by Tommy Gilligan

Roger Goodell, Courtesy of Creative Commons

Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League, is under heat once again. With two teams plagued by Covid-19, the NFL is beginning to fall apart, and all fingers point to Goodell. Compared to the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, or the NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, Goodell has handled this football season as gracefully as a giraffe in ice skates. Although it is hard to compare these sports to each other, it is safe to say that a bubble strategy of some sort seemed to work for the other teams, yet Goodell did not even consider that solution for the NFL. Goodell gave the players and coaches an enormous amount of freedom, and the consequences are starting to hit. 

The NFL has not enforced some of its most basic COVID precautions and rules, allowing teams to roam freely after games. The freedom of allowing players to leave the team facilities and stadiums brings additional susceptibility to the virus. Although one giant bubble would not be possible due to the sheer size of the playing fields, 32 separate bubbles still could lead to a COVID-free league. Goodell is letting his league fall into anarchy by having no control over any teams or players. 

After the Chiefs-Patriots game on October 5th, Stephon Gilmore, New England’s star cornerback, was able to shake Patrick Mahomes and many other Chief players’ hands. Gilmore, later, was discovered to have the virus. Because of his handshake with Mahomes and his bunch, Stephon Gilmore potentially put a whole other team at risk due to a show of sportsmanship. Respect and sportsmanship should always go hand in hand with sports, but there needs to be a limit set and enforced. These coronavirus rules cannot be seen as pushover rules. 

Goodell has done a poor job enforcing the consequences, and more teams are going to be infected if he keeps letting the teams dominate his decisions. Fines need to be placed and suspensions need to be given if players, coaches, or staff are breaking the rules. With over six months to prepare for the COVID-influenced season, Goodell was still not able to keep players from following simple precautions and was unable to create a bubble plan for the league. The lack of leadership during this season once again exposes the disappointing job Commissioner Goodell has done.