The Worst Commissioner in the Western hemisphere is a five-part series detailing the escapades of each of the four major North American sports’ commissioners. The series will culminate in the fifth and final installment where you’ll get to weigh the options and vote for which commissioner takes home the title of “Obscure Athletes Worst Commissioner in the Western Hemisphere.” The inaugural post of this series focuses on football’s head man, Roger Goodell.
Who he is:
Roger Goodell found himself at the helm of the NFL in September of 2006 upon the retirement of a modern football deity, Paul Tagliabue. Goodell climbed the league’s ladder, starting in 1982 as an intern in the league’s office. After filling a variety of roles in Public Relations, and as assistant to then-president of the AFC Lamar Hunt, 2001 saw Commissioner Tagliabue appoint Goodell to the position of league’s Chief Operating Officer. Goodell held that position until the owners eventually voted him commissioner after several ballots.
Why he sucks:
During his six-year tenure as commish, Goodell has overseen a league which has locked out its players, nearly causing the loss of regular-season games. Goodell hasn’t done much to remedy his public image as a union-buster. In fact, that reputation grew worse this year when the league, at his behest, locked out the referees over a matter of thousands of dollars, hired scabs to replace those officials, then was forced to cut a deal during week four, after the national embarrassment surrounding a series of wretched officiating performances.
Goodell’s NFL is a mainstay in our court system these days, most notably for his office’s handling of the Saints’ Bounty program scandal, which has seen Saints linebacker Johnathan Vilma appearing extremely well-dressed in court to testify against the league.
This joins a perpetual bevvy of lawsuits pending against the league, which always seems to include something about player safety and health insurance coverage for retired players. Goodell inherited the most successful sporting league in the history of known civilization, and six years later has managed to land himself in the nomination pile for WORST COMMISSIONER IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE.
Up next: NBA Commissioner David “The David” Stern