NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN's Mike and Mike on Tuesday that he is open to changing his role in the player disciplinary process.
“I'm very open to changing my role in that,” Goodell said. “It's become extremely time consuming. I think I have to be focused on a variety of other issues.”
The day after the decision was announced, The Washington Post reported that the NFL owners are planning to discuss changing the commissioner's role in disciplining players, which could result in a decrease of his power. On Tuesday, Goodell told ESPN that he has spoken with NFL owners over the past few years about instituting a disciplinary panel or officer who could make initial rulings on player punishment.
The next owners meeting is scheduled for October, and one source told the Post that they would consider whether the commissioner should continue to act as arbitrator in players’ disciplinary appeal hearings. Goodell presided over Brady’s appeal hearing, despite being asked to recuse himself, and he upheld his original suspension.
Goodell also said he is hesitant to delegate discipline to a third party who may not have as much understanding of the league or the game.
ESPN reported on Tuesday that some owners believe Goodell's harsh ruling on Brady may have been a “makeup call” for his leniency during the Spygate scandal, when the Patriots were accused of illegally videotaping their opponent’s defensive signals.
“I'm not aware of any connection between the Spygate procedures and the procedures we went through here,” Goodell said in Tuesday's interview with Mike and Mike.
- Erin Flynn