Collinsworth defends comments backing Goodell: ‘Never had any reason to question integrity’

Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels took considerable heat for comments supporting Roger Goodell during Saturday’s Baltimore-Indianapolis game:

Collinsworth: “The decision to suspend initially Ray Rice for two games was a mistake. Roger Goodell has admitted that, but I never once, in all my dealings with the Commissioner, ever doubted his integrity. And I think that came out in the report as well.”

Michaels: “It did.”


Monday, Collinsworth addressed the fallout on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk:

Collinsworth: Just what I said — that I never questioned the integrity of Roger Goodell. I’ve had hundreds of incidents that I’ve had to deal with him over the years. I talked to him specifically about this one at the Hall of Fame game, and he essentially told me right to my face, ‘No, I never saw the elevator video.’ I believed him then. The Mueller Report came out and said that they found that he didn’t see that video, and I said, ‘I never questioned his integrity,’ which I never have.

I don’t know exactly why that became the issue that it did, but it was something we felt like we had to address. It was something that was pertinent to the teams playing that day, the Ravens certainly. Roger was in the stadium, and we had addressed it pretty fully during the pregame show.

Let’s face it – here’s a guy that was accused of something. Basically, he was accused of lying. ‘Roger Goodell, did you lie about seeing this video inside the elevator?’ … It was front-page news with the accusation, and yet when the vindication came out with the Mueller Report, all of a sudden it goes to Page 47. We thought that it deserved to be what it was – the big news story of the day.

We did it, and I probably editorialized, I guess, too much by saying that in my hundreds of dealings with this guy, I’ve never had any reason to question his integrity. I didn’t in this one. I probably had a half-hour conversation with him at the Hall of Fame game about exactly what he saw, what happened in the meetings with Ray (Rice) and Janay (Rice), and we went over everything. I asked him every hard question that I could come up with. He said he never saw the video, the report said he never saw the video, and I said I never questioned his integrity. There it is.”


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