During Wednesday’s hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Reform, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about many things. He wasn’t asked about many of things about which he could have been asked, however.
One important area that wasn’t included in the areas of interrogation included the claim of financial impropriety by the team, including the notion that the Commanders shuffled around money in order to reduce the payment obligation to the league.
It’s unclear what that means. Owner Daniel Snyder has sharply disputed the claims made by the former employee who provided the Committee with testimony suggesting financial shenanigans. Has the Committee decided after further investigation that there’s nothing to it?
Alternatively, did none of the various members who were inclined to use their allotted time to ask questions pertinent to the hearing manage choose to ask Goodell about the issue?
It’s possible that one or more had the subject on their list of topics to cover, but that they simply didn’t get to it because, frankly, Goodell is masterful at answering the questions in a way that made the five minutes per Committee member evaporate quickly. He basically ran out the clock, one member at a time, bogging the conversation down in rambling non-answers and repeatedly forcing the questioner to “reclaim my time” before there was no time left.
This is a compliment to Goodell, not an insult. It’s a skill. He stepped into a contentious, combative arena and he managed to ultimately say as little as possible that would be harmful to the interests of the NFL or the owners of its teams. Other than during the interrogation by Rep. Jamie Raskin the intelligence-insulting notion that anonymity can be provided only with compete secrecy, Goodell was never really on the ropes. He survived largely unscathed. Surely, when the Zoom call ended and Goodell removed the tie that he now wears only rarely, his lieutenants and advisers likely offered high fives, fist pumps, and handshakes.
From the perspective of the folks who want to circle the wagons around Big Shield, it was a job well done from the highest paid employee, by far, in the entire operation — players included.