During a news conference on Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell promised that the league “will get our house in order.”
Goodell announced that former FBI Director Robert Mueller will lead an investigation of the way the league handled the Ray Rice case, and he said that at the end of the process the league will implement new conduct policies.
“I promise you that any shortcomings he finds will lead to swift action,” Goodell said. “The same mistakes will never be repeated.”
Goodell has faced intense criticism over the league’s handling of off-field violent behavior from some of its players. The issue came to a very public head when a video surfaced showing Rice, a star for the Baltimore Ravens, punching his then-fiancee.
As long as Goodell has the support of owners, he should have some breathing room to be more proactive. In a radio interview this morning, I mentioned that Goodell can’t get a complete grip on this until the surprises stop. He thought the Rice situation was handled, then the second video surfaced. Just when damage control was settling in there, the Peterson incident became public. Before almost anything could be done about that, a second allegation was made known. Then the Dwyer story happened. Goodell and the league have been reeling and on their heels in a purely reactive mode because of all of this.
They need the surprises to stop before anything substantive can be done. The PR department needs to be paid more too.
In other not-so-good news for the league, the Dept. of Defense is looking into its connections with the NFL.