Roger Goodell finally released a statement today announcing the end of the referee lockout and apologizing to NFL fans for
obliterating any shred of integrity he had left the replacement referees. The statement was bland and unconvincing and careful. The floor’s yours, Roger:
“Obviously when you go through something like this, it’s painful for everybody. Most importantly, it’s painful for fans,” he said on a conference call Thursday, about 12 hours after the league reached a deal to bring back the regular officials. “We’re sorry to have to put fans through that. Sometimes you have to go through something like that in the short term for the right agreement for the long term.”
Really though, all we heard was this.
Because at no point does Goodell take blame or concede an inch. An apology hinges on an admittance of guilt, or at least some palpable sense of remorse. There’s none of that in his words. They’re unfeeling, evasive, dismissive. That “we” is particularly misleading, because it hardly clarifies who the “we” is. Everyone would naturally point towards Goodell and the owners, but at no point does he shoulder the blame on behalf of the owners. The refs are at fault too, somehow. Even though that’s the nature of a labor impasse, with both sides disagreeing, there was the side of morality, the little guys, and then there were the owners. But as expected, Goodell framed this lockout as a necessary evil for a greater good – that is, the miniscule good of 32 over the safety of hundreds and the sanity of millions.