My assignment was to cover the state of Roger Goodell’s NFL press conference and that made sense because when the league’s CEO speaks, we all need to listen.
And what I saw from Goodell and some of the reporters covering the press was a completely awakening event that struck a chord with some of the hottest awakening issues today:
And age discrimination.
And Goodell’s message on these issues clearly picked winners and losers, specifying the way the NFL wants things to happen.
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So women are more valuable than men.
Black is more valuable than white, brown, or Asian.
Fielding teams and pleasing fans abroad is more important than in the United States.
And finally, younger is more valuable than older.
This was not read between the lines. This was roger goodell choosing sides and arguing for those sides.
Is mom’s role more important than dad’s?
Start with feminism. Look, women are just as important to society as men. And the first question in the room came from Donna Kelce, mother of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles center Jason Kelce.
He asked about the difficulty of raising children and whether Goodell, one of five siblings, learned lessons from his mother about raising children.
«My mother was the biggest influence in my life, by far,» Goodell said. «She reminds me a lot of you, she had a great sense of humor. She enjoyed having five kids, most of the time. And I think she was pretty hard on us, too.»
«She would be the first to criticize us, but she was also the first to ultimately support us. And she would participate in all of our sporting events, which with five kids in seven years was a lot of sporting events. She encouraged us to participate and compete and improvement. But don’t be afraid to say you’ve fallen short.»
And missing in that exchange? Any mention of a father.
Goodell did not mention his father, Charles Goodell, who served in the United States Congress and then Senate for a total of 12 years and was married to Goodell’s mother, Jean, for 24 years until they divorced in 1978. .
The fact that parenthood hasn’t really emerged at all is sad because NFL players are increasingly coming from single-mom households. Parents are not around for many of these athletes.
And they, in turn, repeat the cycle of absent fathers for father children out of wedlock and being mostly not around for those kids.
But perhaps the importance of fathers was not mentioned because the importance of a man upholding the responsibility of fatherhood within a traditional family structure has increasingly become a conservative worldview that is unnecessary at this event.
ROGER GOODELL SAYS NFL OFFICIATING IS THE BEST THING IT’S EVER BEEN
Black hiring practice is a major problem
This communicator then touched on the topic of diversity and minority hiring. Hard.
Goodell was asked about hiring black coaches, black coordinators, black general managers and even black senior managers or black employees in the newsroom of NFL Media, the league’s media arm.
Goodell answered about 20 questions from reporters, and about a quarter of those, five, related to hiring black people or the relative status of black people in the game.
«There is a better job and more work ahead,» he said. «I think there’s progress and we’re glad to see progress, but it’s never enough.»
Goodell is proud of the league’s Accelerator Program, which fostered relationships between minority managerial candidates and white club owners by offering the two meet-and-greet sessions together. New Tennessee Titans general manager Ran Carthon met with Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk at the meeting last year and it is now considered the standard outcome of the program.
It’s not said that white coaching hopefuls and GM candidates don’t get the same opportunity to meet with owners.
«It’s all about attracting the best talent,» Goodell said, however.
Why did it take so long, Roger?
Goodell was asked why it took the NFL 57 years to get to the point where both starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl are black.
«There are probably a variety of reasons, probably none of them are good,» the commissioner said.
And then Goodell provided a devious explanation for the advancement of black quarterbacks by inadvertently using (I guess) stereotypes as jumping off points for what’s right about the coming game between Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts.
«I think today we have 11 black starting quarterbacks,» Goodell said. “They are some of the best leaders I have ever seen. They are extraordinary. People talk about their talent and ability to run, but they are incredible leaders.
«They understand the offense, they run complex offenses, probably more complex than we’ve ever run in the past. And they really add that element to the game. And I think our game has changed because of their talent.»
It might have been okay if I didn’t hear Goodell suggest that black quarterbacks are considered primarily running quarterbacks, but nonetheless are smart enough to run complex offenses and have the character to be good leaders.
The idea that soccer is America’s game is apparently fading as the NFL has begun to embrace global expansion. Yes, money is the reason.
Goodell wants the NFL to be a ‘global sport’
«We want to make NFL football a global sport,» Goodell said. «And I think we’ll continue on this path. We broke all the records in our international games this year, whether it’s viewership or attendance. The excitement is extraordinary. The biggest challenge is how do we bottle that? How do we make NFL football is It’s a global sport and we’re on the right track. We’re going to put a lot of emphasis on that.»
Goodell said «we will see more games than less» in Germany because «the ball is moving for us.»
It is not, however, moving the ball for US teams that forgo playing at home to play abroad. And American fans don’t like losing home games to London, Germany or Mexico.
Nor is the globalist point of view «moving the ball» for American cities like San Antonio, Orlando, St. Louis and maybe even San Diego who have heard Goodell talk about possible expansion with a European division. But he hasn’t said anything about expanding into, you know, the United States.
So yes, globalism over nationalism.
Goodell wants fans to be younger, not older
Finally, if you’re old enough to have attended Super Bowl XXV in 1990, you’re a dinosaur by NFL standards. And the league doesn’t value you as much as twenty-somethings.
That’s one of the reasons the league has moved Thursday games to Amazon Prime and its Sunday Ticket to YouTube.
«When we went to a different platform, we were intentionally going to a different platform,» Goodell said. «We understood that this was, from our point of view, a growing platform that was reaching out to fans who weren’t watching football on traditional networks.
«And when we made that move, it was completely to focus on being on that growing platform and reaching that younger demographic that’s not really watching broadcast TV. And it worked. It was exactly what was anticipated.»
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Goodell said that Amazon streams lowered the average age of its audience by nearly 10 years.
«That’s it,» Goodell said, «exactly what we’re looking for.»