The president of the National Organization for Women says that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gets a big “F” when it comes to how he has addressed domestic violence in the NFL.
Goodell told the Daily News’ Gary Myers Wednesday that the league has made “tremendous progress” when it comes to violence against women in the two years since the commissioner bungled the Ray Rice case and several other high-profile domestic violence and sexual assault cases. NOW president Terry O’Neill, however, told the Daily News Thursday that Goodell deserves a failing grade.
“Roger Goodell has learned nothing in two years,” O’Neill said. “To me, the most distressing aspect of his failed leadership is that in the so-called NFL family, for Roger Goodell the men are the only ones that matter.”
In his interview with Myers that later aired on WFAN, Goodell defended his decision to suspend ex-Giants kicker Josh Brown for one game at the start of this season after Brown violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy — not the six-game “baseline” suspension for players accused of domestic abuse/assault.
O’Neill and NOW called for Goodell to resign in September 2014, when the commissioner was under fire for his mishandling of the Rice case. She reiterated her call for his job again Thursday. She said Goodell is a failed leader for the league who should resign from his post.
“I think (Goodell) has shown even more dramatically now with his failure to lead and then his insistence that things are getting better when it’s obvious that they’re not,” said O’Neill.
King County (Wash.) police documents show that after Josh Brown was arrested in May, 2015 for domestic assault, his then-wife Molly told authorities that Brown had been violent with her on at least 20 previous occasions. Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara admitted earlier this week that the team had made “misguided” decisions on Brown, who was signed to a two-year, $4 million deal in April even though Mara and the Big Blue front office knew about allegations of domestic violence against Brown. The kicker was released by the Giants this week.
Goodell, however, offered no such contrition in the Myers interview, and that did not sit well with O’Neill.
Back page of the New York Daily News for October 22, 2016
(New York Daily News)
“The only time (Goodell) mentions women who have been subjected to domestic violence in the NFL is to chastise them, to treat them like children,” said O’Neill. “A healthy relationship is one that is grounded in equality. But Roger Goodell doesn’t see women as equal. He sees them as children to be controlled.”
Molly Brown did not speak with NFL investigators when they were conducting their investigation of Josh, and she told authorities she was fearful the Giants would rally around Josh in support if she did speak. When Goodell was asked Wednesday whether he thought it would be more difficult for other women in abusive relationships within the NFL to come forward, he called upon society as a whole to help try and address the domestic violence issue.
“There are a lot of facts around this that are very common to other incidents that we see outside of the NFL in society in general. This is a challenge that we all have as a society – to try to make it so that women who are living in this fear and (these) terrible circumstances can come out and get help,” said Goodell. “And get to a more positive relationship with this individual or a more positive relationship outside of it.”
O’Neill, however, found those words hollow.
“When (Goodell) says getting them into a better relationship, I believe what he means is bringing them back into the NFL so-called family where the women are subordinated to the men,” said O’Neill. “In a world where the women are subordinated to the men in their families, the lucky women are the ones who don’t get beaten. I don’t know what (Goodell) considers success. I suspect what he means by success is the women are keeping silent.
“I think more than ever it’s clear that he is not the leader that the NFL needs.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News