NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the media at the annual owners meeting on Wednesday, discussing the new ejection rule, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the Patriots stripped first-round pick and more.
After proposing that players be ejected following two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties during his annual State of the League press conference in February, Goodell discussed the change that has now been approved on a trail basis for the 2016 season.
Despite players such as Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman opposing the rule change, Goodell said that whether or not they are affected by rule is “all in their control.”
Roger Goodell on player complaints about the ejection rule: "This is all in their control. We're going to be held to those high standards."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 23, 2016
In regards to CTE and the connection between degenerative brain diseases and football, Goodell said it is important to support scientists. He added that statements made by the NFL’s senior vice president for health and safety policy Jeff Miller are consistent with the league's stance on the issue.
On Monday, Miller acknowledged that there is a link between the sports and the disease.
Goodell also acknowledged the letter written to him by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, in which Kraft asked for the team’s first-round pick in the 2016 draft to be reinstated.
“I told him that I had considered his views,” Goodell said. “I didn't think there was any new information in there that would cause us to reconsider the discipline.”
Roger Goodell said he responded to Robert Kraft's letter about restoring his draft picks. Said there is no new info, pick won't be restored— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 23, 2016
Despite Robert Kraft's request, Roger Goodell said the Patriots will not be getting back this year's first-round pick.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 23, 2016
Goodell also said that the Atlanta Falcons will not be penalized for asking draft prospect Eli Apple about his sexuality. The team released a statement apologizing for the inappropriate question.
Roger Goodell isn't going to discipline the Atlanta Falcons for asking a prospect whether he is gay at the NFL Scouting Combine.— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) March 23, 2016