Roger Goodell came out of hiding Friday afternoon and made his first public appearance since the Ray Rice video was released September 8, igniting a tailspin for the NFL that has included countless calls for Goodell’s resignation.
In a 43-minute session that included several pointed questions from reporters, Goodell, who had canceled several public appearances amid growing public outrage and complaints from key sponsors, acknowledged missteps while vowing to significantly strengthen the league’s stance against domestic violence. Watch the start of the presser in the video above.
Here are some of the highlights:
1. Goodell Said He Will Not Resign as Commissioner
Goodell said he has not considered resigning despite countless calls for him to step down.
“I have not. I’m focused on doing my job. … I understand that people are critical of my performance but I have a lot of work to do. … I’m proud of the opportunity we have to make a difference here and do the right thing.”
2. Goodell Said ‘Everything’s on the Table’ With the Personal Conduct Policy
Goodell said he will convene a committee to examine the league’s personal conduct policy, which essentially makes Goodell the judge, jury and executioner in all disciplinary matters.
Turner’s Rachel Nichols asked whether Goodell would consider giving up some of that extraordinary power.
“Everything’s on the table,” he responded. “We’re going to make sure we look at every aspect of the process of what we gather to make a decision, how we make the decision, and the appeals process.”
3. Goodell Touted Partnerships Aimed at Combatting Domestic Violence
He touted partnerships he announced in a memo to teams Thursday night with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource center, along with the appointment of Anna Isaacson as vice president for social responsibility and three female advisers to advise the league on issues relating to domestic violence and sexual assault.
“These incidents demonstrate that we can use the NFL to help create change, not only in our league, but in society, with respect to domestic violence and sexual assault,” he added.
4. Goodell Repeatedly Said He ‘Got it Wrong’ & Wanted to ‘Get it Right’
Goodell opened the press conference by apologizing for his handling of the Rice case.
“I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter and I’m sorry for that,” he said. “I got it wrong on a number of levels from the process that I led to the decision that I reached.
“The same mistakes can never be repeated,” he vowed. “We will get our house in order first.”
NBC News’ Peter Alexander asked Goodell whether he’d be satisfied with the league’s process if one of the victims was someone he loved.
“I made a mistake. I’m not satisfied with the process we went through. I’m not satisfied with the conclusion. We have a set of very complex issues we have to deal with. That’s no excuse. What we need to do is go get some experts and say ‘how do we do this better?”
5. Goodell Defended the ‘Independent Investigation’ Run by Robert Mueller
Rachel Nichols, the star of the press conference from a reporting standpoint, asked Goodell about the appearance of former FBI director Robert Mueller III running what the league is calling an “independent” investigation despite Mueller being the partner in a law firm that helped the NFL negotiate its Sunday Ticket contract with DirecTV.
The investigation has also come under criticism because Mueller, who ran the FBI from 2001-2013 under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, will report to two influential owners: The Giants’ John Mara and the Steelers’ Art Rooney.
Nichols prefaced the question by saying she wasn’t going to call into question Mueller’s integrity. Goodell responded that Nichols was questioning his integrity by brining up the appearance of a conflict.
Goodell then said as the longest serving director of the FBI, Mueller was essentially above questioning.