My assignment was to cover Roger Goodell’s state of the NFL press conference and that made sense because when the league’s chief executive talks, we all must listen.
And what I saw from Goodell and some of the reporters who covered the presser was a thoroughly woke event striking the chords of some of the hottest woke topics of today:
And the message from Goodell on these topics clearly picked winners and losers, specifying the way the NFL wants things to go.
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So women are more valuable than men.
Black is more valuable than white, or brown, or Asian.
Placing teams and pleasing fans abroad is more important than in the United States.
And, finally, younger is more valuable than older.
This wasn’t read between lines stuff. This was Roger Goodell picking sides and making his argument for those sides.
Role Of Mom More Important Than Dad?
Start with feminism. Look, women are as important to society as men. And the first question from the floor was from Donna Kelce, mother of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles center Jason Kelce.
She asked about the difficulty of raising boys and whether Goodell, one of five brothers, learned lessons from his mother about raising boys.
“My mom was the biggest influence on my life, by far,” Goodell said. “She reminds me a lot of you, she had a great sense of humor. She enjoyed having five boys, most of the time. And I think she was also pretty hard on us.
“She would be the first to criticize us but she was also the first one to support us ultimately. And she would make all of our athletic events, which with five boys in seven years was an awful lot of athletic events. She encouraged us to participate, compete and get better. But not afraid to say you’ve fallen short.”
And missing from that exchange? Any mention of a father.
Goodell didn’t mention his father Charles Goodell, who served in congress and then the United States senate for a combined 12 years and was married to Goodell’s mother Jean for 24 years until their divorce in 1978.
The fact that fatherhood didn’t come up at all is sad because NFL players increasingly come from single-mother homes. Fathers are not present for too many of these athletes.
And they, in turn, repeat the cycle of absentee fathers by fathering children out of wedlock and being mostly not present for those kids.
But maybe the importance of fathers wasn’t mentioned because the importance of a man upholding the responsibility of fatherhood within a traditional family structure has increasingly become a conservative world view not needed in this event.
ROGER GOODELL SAYS NFL OFFICIATING IS THE BEST IT’S EVER BEEN
Hiring Practice Of Blacks A Major Issue
This presser then hit the topic of diversity and minority hiring. Hard.
Goodell was asked about hiring black head coaches, black coordinators, black general managers and even black senior managers or black employees on the news desk at NFL Media, the league’s media arm.
Goodell took approximately 20 questions from reporters and about a quarter of those — five — related to the hiring of black people or to the relative state of black people in the game.
“There’s better work and more work ahead of us,” he said. “I think there is progress and we’re pleased to see progress but it’s never enough.”
Goodell is proud of the league’s Accelerator Program, which fostered relationships between minority front office candidates and white club owners by giving the two meet-and-greet sessions together. New Tennessee Titans GM Ran Carthon met Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk at last year’s meeting and that is now considered the program’s gold standard result.
Left unsaid is that aspiring white coach and general manager candidates get no similar opportunity to meet with owners.
“It’s about attracting the best talent,” Goodell said nonetheless.
Why Did This Take So Long, Roger?
Goodell was asked why it took the NFL 57 years to arrive at the moment where both starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl are black.
“There’s probably a variety of reasons, probably none of them good,” the commissioner said.
And then Goodell provided a tortured explanation about the advancement of black quarterbacks by unwittingly (I suppose) using stereotypes as starting points for what is right about the looming game between Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts.
“I think we have 11 black starting quarterbacks today,” Goodell said. “They’re some of the best leaders I’ve ever seen. They’re 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 such an element to the game. And I think our game has changed because of their talents.”
I might have been fine not hearing Goodell suggest black quarterbacks are considered mostly running quarterbacks but are nonetheless smart enough to run complex offenses and have the character to be good leaders.
The idea that football is America’s game is apparently fading because the NFL has begun to embrace a global expansion. Yes, money is the reason.
Goodell Wants NFL To Be ‘Global Sport’
“We want to make NFL football a global sport,” Goodell said. “And I think we’ll continue on this path. We broke every record around our international games this year, whether it was viewership or attendance. The excitement is extraordinary. The biggest challenge is how do we bottle that? How do we make NFL football a global sport and we’re well on our way. We’re going to put a lot of focus on that.”
Goodell said we’ll “see more games than less” in Germany because “it’s moving the ball for us.”
It’s not, however, moving the ball for the United States teams that are give up home games to play abroad. And American fans all don’t love losing home games to London or Germany or Mexico.
The globalist viewpoint also is not “moving the ball” for American cities such as San Antonio, Orlando, St. Louis, and maybe even San Diego that have heard Goodell talk about possible expansion with a European division. But he has said nothing about expanding in, 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 quite value you as much as it does 20-somethings.
That’s one reason the league has moved Thursday games to Amazon Prime and its Sunday Ticket to YouTube.
“When we went to a different platform, we were going to a different platform intentionally,” Goodell said. “We understood this was, in our view, a growing platform that was reaching fans that were not watching football on traditional networks.
“And when we made that move, it was entirely to focus on being on that growing platform and reaching that younger demographic that really isn’t watching on broadcast television. And it worked. It was exactly what was anticipated.”
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Goodell said the Amazon’s broadcasts reduced the average age of its audience almost 10 years.
“That’s,” Goodell said, “exactly what we are looking for.”