Another dump on Goodell Sunday: Praise for ESPN’s Jackson, NBC; thumbs down for Lewis

I’m fairly certain Roger Goodell is skipping the Sunday pregame shows these days. Or if he’s watching, the NFL commissioner is turning the sound down when he is the focus.

Yesterday featured yet another round of the analysts sharply criticizing Goodell for screwing up the Ray Rice situation. This time, the focus was on his poorly-received press conference.

Some of the harshest words came from ESPN’s Tom Jackson on Sunday NFL Countdown. As we’ve seen in the past, especially with the Rush Limbaugh fiasco on Countdown, you always can count on the former Denver linebacker to be a strong voice.

Jackson: “Until these men in these offices on Park Avenue really care about the women involved in these incidents we are not going to have real change. The good part of this – public pressure, political pressure, corporate sponsorship – I don’t care why it happens. They are going to be brought kicking and screaming to the table – to the table of resolving this problem.”

Said Jackson on the press conference: “I thought it lacked substance. I thought that it was a lot of what I had expected. I knew that the questions that were going to come were going to be very difficult. Unanswerable when you have handled the situation as ineptly as it had been handled up to that point. So, we heard a lot of – and you know, it’s always nice to hear somebody say I made a mistake and I’m sorry, but I didn’t think that there was any substance as to what we are going to really do going forward to change what happened over the course of the last few weeks and what happened over the course of the last few weeks is not over yet, and he knows that.”

Cris Carter also received praise from Richard Deitsch at


Meanwhile, on the other side, there’s Ray Lewis. He is an awkward spot, having played for Baltimore where he was a longtime teammate of Rice. Plus, there’s the credibility issues, given everything we know, or think we know about the Baltimore linebacker.

Yesterday, Lewis actually said: “There’s some things you can cover up. And there’s some things you can’t.“

Really, like what, Ray?

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe writes today:

What has become obvious — never more so than during his shameful performance on yesterday’s morning edition of “Sunday NFL Countdown” — is that no matter what you think of Lewis’s self-aggrandizement and cloudy past, he lacks every rudimentary quality expected of an analyst.

The list of what he has working for him ends at two: He’s a big-name ex-player, and he has an intense charisma. The former is hardly scarce — the NFL pregame show landscape is speckled with semi-charming former stars. And the latter gets old as soon as you realize how phony it is.

Lewis emphasizes and over-enunciates random words. He is addicted to the pregnant pause. He prosthelytizes to obfuscate. He requires these affectations in a desperate attempt to give his words the weight they lack. It works only on the already converted. He’s the same bad actor he ever was.


Meanwhile, while you were watching the end of the Denver-Seattle game on CBS, the crew at NBC’s Football Night in America also went hard after Goodell.

Rodney Harrison and Dan Patrick had this exchange:

Harrison: “I had an opportunity to talk to a lot of players and they are extremely frustrated with the Commissioner. They said, first, he’s so quick to punish the players when something happens with the players. And also they expected him to fine or suspend himself. That didn’t happen. He made over $40 million last year. A lot of players are upset with that. They expect him to write a check for $5 to $10 million to hold himself accountable.”

Patrick: “Well, I wonder what Roger Goodell would have done to somebody in that position who had done what Roger Goodell had done or didn’t do. Would he have fined or suspended them? When you watched the press conference, I wanted passion. I didn’t want something scripted. It felt very presidential in the presentation. It just didn’t have any substance there. It should have been with your notes, with your heart, with your feelings there, and it certainly was lacking in that department.”

Harrison: “When a player gets fined or suspended – I’ve been there – they take that money out of your check. They don’t give you the benefit of the doubt. But he gave himself the benefit of the doubt and he’s telling us, ‘Ok, it’s no problem. I’ll get better.’ But we don’t get the benefit of the doubt.”




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