NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, today did nothing to increase confidence in his ability to lead the NFL out of its morass. Of course, it is fine to provide funding to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. But like Mr. Goodell’s other announcements, it is aimed at moving this story off the front page. What Mr. Goodell doesn’t seem to understand is that he should be aiming to make fundamental changes in the organization.
Glaringly absent from Mr. Goodell’s remarks is a commitment to conduct an independent investigation into all of the incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking on his watch. Such an investigation would, at minimum, ask how many victims reached out to NFL leadership for help over the years? What was the response? What services did the victims request? Did they receive them? If not, why not? Were the victims satisfied? What steps does the NFL take, as part of its response protocol, to keep the victims safe? What are its metrics of success — how does it measure whether the victim is safe? What about the victim’s economic security? What measures does the NFL take to ensure the victim’s economic security?
Roger Goodell’s steadfast refusal to broach these questions speaks a lot louder than his formulaic mea culpas and repeated promises that he’s going to do better. NOW continues to demand that he resign and that his successor appoint a thorough, independent investigator with full authority to unpack all relevant aspects of the NFL’s response to incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, and to make serious recommendations for change.
The time for half measures and PR feints is long past. For the good of the NFL, Roger Goodell must go.