Roger Goodell met the public on Monday afternoon, with a mix of news from Goodell, rage from fans and general weirdness. One of the top ranked comments was from "New_Orleans_Saints" simply linking to a gif that showed Danny DeVito flipping off the camera.
That kind of stuff doesn't happen during a press conference.
Goodell is polarizing, to say the least, so many people flocked to leave questions or comments or generally troll the commissioner. Goodell was on Reddit for about an hour, the number of users on the AMA swelled past 12,000 and more than 3,300 comments were left when he was online. Goodell was criticized by some for not giving specific answers to some questions, but did provide some news when he shared his feelings on topics like the Pro Bowl after Sunday's game and the league possibly moving to London at some point.
Goodell (whose handle on the AMA was NFL_Commish) didn't start too strong, with this question, answer and people ripping him for how he avoided giving a straight answer:
mrbananagrabber1: Commissioner Goodell,
It was announced today that you have a 39% approval rating amongst NFL players. Why do you believe your rating is so low, and are you planning on focusing more on issues important to the players given this news?
C_Toc: Probably because they recognize he doesn't actually care about the game
NFL_Commish: I continually try to focus on issues that benefit the NFL in the long term, including, and most especially, our players. I truly respect our players and get tremendous feedback from them. They help us make better decisions. I look forward to working more closely with them in the future.
IAmTheWaller67: Nice dodge, Rodge.
Barbed_Flamingo_Cock: Politician answer. He asked why you think your rating among players is so low, not how you feel about their feedback.
Escapererer: That in no way answered the question you were asked...
CCCPironCurtain: So another answer read off the cue cards. Can you step outside the box and tell us how you really feel?
Sauer829: Doesn't seem like you care about the feedback, if you did you most likely wouldn't have that 39% approval rating.
Hopefully Goodell can handle the comments, because there were plenty like that throughout the AMA.
Here are some of the worthwhile news items to come out of the Q&A session:
• It sounded like the Pro Bowl won't be canceled anytime soon, after Goodell saw Sunday's game: "I watched the game and noticed the improved quality of the game. I appreciate the players commitment in this regard. We need to continually work to make our game better for the fans. I look forward to getting detailed player comment and input over the next few weeks."
• On the NFL being in London at some point: "So far, we've seen the same passionate support for the NFL in London, based on ticket sales to date. If our game continues to grow in London, it would not surprise me if we had an NFL team in London someday."
• When asked if he was going to give the Saints their second-round pick in 2013 back, which was taken away as a result of the bounty scandal: "No, the penalty will continue to include the 2nd round draft choice in 2013."
• One non-answer came when he was asked if he thought he mishandled the bounty scandal in any way: "We removed bounties from the game. Bounties won't be part of football. That's good for everyone involved."
• There were many comments on the fact that Frank Gore got fined $10,500 for wearing his socks too low, while Tom Brady was fined just $10,000 for kicking Ed Reed: "I notice there are a lot of questions on socks. This is a matter initially judged by a former player at the game called the Uniform Inspector. It is part of our effort to look and act professional at all times. There is a standard fine for violations that our Football Operations department issues on a routine basis. This is a system that was put in place in the 60s and has served us well."
• Goodell showed a decent sense of humor at times, answering a question about an elaborate draft day handshake with Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram: "When I met with the players the day before the draft, Melvin asked if I would give him a special handshake. He showed it to me and then we practiced one time. It was fun, glad I didn't screw it up for Melvin."
While Goodell danced around many of the tougher questions that drew the most anger from online users, he had to know that he was going to get many peeved comments directed at him and did the AMA anyway. Then again, it was either read that venom on his computer screen or go out to the streets of New Orleans and hear it from Saints fans.