Cook: Goodell offers propaganda instead of honest answers
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The NFL owners are doing it for you. The lockout of their players? The fight over more than $9 billion in annual revenues? The threat of no professional football in the fall? It's all for you.
So says NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
"We can't continue to have the rising costs of operating the league and shifting it to our fans."
Like the owners will order an immediate 10 percent decrease in ticket prices once they get a new, favorable (for them) collective bargaining agreement with the players and promise not to raise those ticket prices for five years.
Sure, they will.
Does Goodell really think the fans are idiots?
Listen, I have nothing against greed. I don't think anyone does. It's the American way, right? We'd all take more if we could get it. I mean, are we stupid?
But couldn't Goodell at least be honest about it?
Couldn't he have said the owners are tired of the cost of the players' salaries and benefits eating away at their enormous profits?
Now that would have made Goodell's interactive teleconference with Steelers season ticket holders Thursday interesting.
Goodell took 16 questions in 30 minutes during what was billed as an "NFL Fan Forum," the 17th such Q-and-A he has done since the lockout began. Sure, it was self-serving for the commissioner and the owners, strictly propaganda, if you will. But everybody knew that going in. And I shouldn't say it wasn't interesting. Mixed in among the predictable questions about the possibility of an 18-game regular season, Super Bowl ticket allocation and the inconsistent way the league dealt with on-field disciplinary issues last season and seemed to target Steelers linebacker James Harrison were a couple of gems.
No, nobody asked Goodell how he could suspend Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for four games when he wasn't charged with a crime.
I wish somebody had.
But the two questions still were good.
Goodell danced around one.
He completely ignored the other.
Somebody from Oakmont asked why fans had to have all of their season-ticket money to the Steelers by May 2 when the lockout is ongoing and there is no guarantee of football in 2011. "We want to be prepared for a full season, and we want our fans to be prepared for a full season," Goodell said.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
What the heck?
I'm not sure why the fans can't get prepared for the season after the lockout is over and a new deal between the owners and players is in place. I do know what the owners really want -- the interest off the fans' hard-earned dollars.
I'm sure they need it to prepare for a full season.
Let me repeat: Please.
Goodell did add that there would be a league-wide reimbursement policy for fans in the event any games aren't played because of the lockout.
That's mighty generous of 'em, if you ask me.
Another man asked a follow-up question about the owners' goal to go from a four-game exhibition season and 16-game regular season to a two-game exhibition schedule and 18 regular-season games. To paraphrase: If the owners believe most fans don't want to see four exhibition games at regular-season prices because they're not getting value for their money and if the players don't want an increase from 16 to 18 regular-season games because of their fear of more injuries, why not just keep the schedule the way it is and lower the prices for the exhibition games?
Goodell must have misunderstood the question, although it seemed fairly straightforward to me.
The commish never answered it,
"Clearly, we don't need four preseason games to do [player] evaluations," he said.
Again, are you with me?
What the heck?
Now tell me the truth.
Please, I need to hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth after spending 30 minutes of my life listening to Goodell.
Aren't you glad the owners have your back?
First Published May 20, 2011 12:00 am