Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports and Andrew Peyton of The Wall Street Journal discuss celebrity status for NFL owners. Why are NFL owners given status versus team owners in other professional sports leagues? How will league owners’ mistakes shape Commissioner Goodell’s legacy? Listen to the full conversation on You Pod to win the game’s podcast. Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen.
Andrew Peyton: The only curious thing about the NFL is that the owners are celebrities, which is a lot different than other leagues. And here, it’s not just about the team boss leaving, as happened last year with Mark [? Boden. ?] But you have an outgoing team boss pointing the finger at Malik. And this is the owner who is the son of one of the most famous owners in NFL history.
And based on what we’re learning, and what’s coming out of this, I think it’s probably a big deal, because the owners are big names in the NFL. I guess you could ask a regular baseball fan, and they might not know who the owner of the Cincinnati Reds is. But I bet they can tell you who the owner of the Cincinnati Bengals is. It’s just, the owners are big, big football personalities. And based on what’s going on here, I think the fact that it might play a central role could make this important.
Charles Robinson: Yeah, and I think that also, I mean, I’d say the NFL, the owners are under more scrutiny of everything than anywhere else. I mean, it’s just crazy, when you think about it, let’s take a look at Dan Snyder, just think about the events of Dan Snyder over two decades ago.
Even today, it was fun. I saw that there was a little publicity. I saw it on social media, and didn’t understand to what extent Jim Irsay made a $2 million bid on a Kurt Cobain guitar. Yeah. But over the years, we’ve kind of seen this one. Jim Irsai was stopped with a bag of money and prescription drugs. Robert Kraft at the spa.
It’s almost as if you could go down the list with these owners. And each connects them to some kind of notable story that might not necessarily draw a direct line to them, that is, their ownership of the team. It’s just that their personal lives have also become fodder for anyone else. We have a very strong group of fans in the UK who have listened to the show, who hate Glazers, hate Glazers for their involvement, obviously, and hate Stan Kroenke.
And so I love, wow, the people in St. Louis and then Arsenal fans hate Stan Kronk too. I love, it’s just brutal. It’s really cool to see how they became, like I said, part of the machine that takes the NFL forward. They attract attention. They are part of the show and the circus.
And I can’t, all my life, watch the NBA. I couldn’t name 2/3 of the NBA owners. I couldn’t name him – it took a while to catch up with the Timberwolves. I’m a fan, why the hell are fans – like, why are they protesting? It took me a while to catch up.
And so, I think, though, this is, if you’re Roger Goodell, don’t you think that should start to have an effect — as at some point, you and me and everyone else especially the Hall of Fame-voters. I’m not a Hall of Fame voter, but there would be a weak one.
It’s going to be like, OK, so what if, when Roger comes out, OK, when can we get Roger in? right? Because it happens. It happened during the last two commissioners.
During his tenure in the NFL, a lot of controversial things happened. There’s a lot more, I feel, as the ownership stories become more prominent under Roger. Maybe that’s just because he’s a product from the NFL that’s become more prominent in the past two decades, and he just so happens to be riding with him.
But don’t you start thinking, like, at some point, what’s going on with these privileges getting involved, and then really after that, investigating his superiors, doesn’t that start to affect how we view Roger Goodell at some point? Are we going to sit here in 10 years and say, OK, let’s take a look at what we never really got to do with.
Have we hit the bottom of Dan Snyder? Have we hit the bottom of Jerry Richardson? Have we hit the bottom of Mark Davis? Have we really hit the bottom of Stan Kroenke? And that’s gone – that was heading into an open courtroom.
Does that weigh on Roger, because now in this situation where we’re constantly looking at him and going, are you going to investigate this? Or should Congress step in again?
Andrew Peyton: Yeah. I mean, and is there ever a moment when this question is about to escalate further than right now? I mean, you have, not just what happened with the Washington football team over the last two years and their report or lack of written report etc. But just think about what’s going on right now because we’re having this conversation.
You have two owners, Dan Snyder and Stephen Ross, who are under investigation led by the league. So, two of the owners, now, at this second, are under investigation by the league. Mark Davis has now been drawn into one. And so you have allegations of an extraordinarily hostile work environment, which, by the way, once every few weeks, we seem to get a new bombshell from Congress about it, which might offend fans on a different level when, we’re talking about a team that’s potentially scrambling in an unusual way that would To violate every kind of competitive principle that football is trying to stand up to.
And then we have another culture situation in the workplace it seems. And so when you talk about, what will be the legacy of these investigations? I think the next several months are probably going to be very expressive, right? We have – we either learn a lot, or we learn nothing.
And depending on how things go, depending on what those punishments are, do they turn out to hit them and get them out of fights? Do they just try to sweep it in a rug, under a rug and say, you know, it’s the weekend, Thursday night. enjoy it.
Charles Robinson: right.
Andrew Peyton: Not to mention, the NFL has to decide — and by the NFL, that’s still, in the end, Roger Goodell. What are you going to do about Deshaun Watson?
Charles Robinson: right.
Andrew Peyton: Thus you have few owners. You have one of the top quarterbacks in the league who, by the way, landed the richest guaranteed deal in league history while this was happening. Well, is this a legacy-defining moment? Certainly, one among many. But for the next several months, they will be full of big decisions.